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I am baffled by the blatant socioeconomic and racist justification for featuring the Harvey family as the Richmonders of the Year (Cover Story, Jan. 3). Are we to believe that the end of white flight and the rise of gentrification in Richmond's disenfranchised neighborhoods are answers to Richmond problems? It is insulting and disingenuous to suggest that Richmonders without higher education and middle-class incomes are uninvolved and without any sense of self-efficacy.

The loss of Harvey family is a tragedy and the brutality of their murderers will not be forgotten. However, there is absolutely no excuse for unabashedly indulging and defending a white-centric media agenda. You should be ashamed.

Rachel L. Rees
Richmond



I started your article about the Harveys hoping to read about their accomplishments as a living, active family in the Richmond community. By the end I realized that the Harveys were not really Richmonders of the Year. Rather, the murder of the Harvey family was actually Style's chosen recipient of this accolade.

While I agree that white victims often receive greater media coverage than their counterparts of any other race, this was not the reason for all of the attention paid to the Harveys over others. Just as Mayor Wilder's murder might garner more attention than some less visible white individual's demise, the Harveys' high-profile contributions to a wider community made them more newsworthy than the average person long before their sad passing. These same contributions should have been the main thrust of an article declaring them to be Richmonders of the Year.

Bryan Harvey was someone I considered to be an upbeat realist. He believed in love and friendship and savoring those moments of beauty and joy that reveal themselves in the darkness. In that sense, since his death, his belief in people has been affirmed again and again by those who loved him.

What a shame that in your eagerness to be sensationalist, you missed the chance to really honor this family.

Mimi Regelson
Richmond



Courageous is the word I would use to describe your choice of the Harveys as the 2006 Richmonders of the Year. Their deaths touched a nerve in this community that had been hidden behind a facade of fear and apathy.

As a father of five children living in Carytown for 25 years, I am deeply disturbed by each innocent person murdered in our city. This plague of violence has been tearing Richmond apart only in recent history, and it is preventing us from becoming what urban planners call The Good City.

The irony is that we know how to prevent most of these killings but do not have the collective will to do so. The killers find Richmond a hospitable place to do their work. Those of us with the political and economic power must solve this problem. Is there anything more important?

Franklin Hamilton
Richmond



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