Diversity in the Valley

This is just a note of appreciation for your front-page story (Aug. 5) about diversity. When we arrived in Lewisburg in 1965, Bucknell and Lewisburg were all white. Bucknell made attempts to diversify, but when we hired our first black professors, local real estate agents would only show them housing in Milton.

Rumor had it back then that John Zeller, vice president of finance at Bucknell and legal counsel at the time, called all the real estate agents in the area and told them that Bucknell was considering the possibility of starting its own real estate company, requiring all hirees moving into the area to use it. The only way they could prevent it was to show Bucknell’s employees of all colors housing in Lewisburg.

Boy, have we come a long way from those days! Led by Pennsylvanians like John Zeller, God rest his courageous soul. We were led by people who worked hard at diversification. They realized that America is not a nation, a country with one language, culture and history going back millennia. We are a melting pot of all the cultures on Earth, and this region should reflect our country’s character, too.

You missed two notable Lewisburg Hispanic leaders: Elba Arenas and her brother, Luis Medina. Elba rose from a teller at Santander Bank to the manager of three offices of Members’ Choice Financial Credit Union. Elba’s brother, Luis, now sits on the Lewisburg city council. Both are far from the misfits that President Trump casts all native Spanish speakers as. Both are major contributors to the lives of people in the Lewisburg area and delightful lifelong Spanish-speaking Americans from Puerto Rico.

(Sunbury Daily Item, August 11, 2018)
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