15 February 2007

Elizabeth Peratrovich Day

Last week, I was merrily citing examples of days that the legislature enacted to honor specific people but whose days were forgotten when they actually rolled around.

I forgot about Elizabeth Peratrovich Day, which is tomorrow, but Jeffry Silverman did not, writing a Compass piece, which the ADN helpfully published a day early:

Elizabeth Peratrovich Day is for everyone. Whatever your skin color, religion or first language, the civil rights law Alaska passed in 1945 is for you. Look in the mirror and say, "Elizabeth and Roy Peratrovich did it for me."
It's a good piece, particularly since I must confess I knew nothing about Elizabeth before reading it.

While I continue to be sure that Elizabeth Peratrovich, Susan Butcher, elders, and many others deserve a special day, I also continue to think that it's not perhaps the most effective way of honouring them. Perhaps better education of our children would help. But that might require our lawmakers to do something difficult and potentially controversial.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree with your point about having days to honor people, and as much as I admire Susan Butcher, I don't know that she merits a day in perpetuity. But I support exceptions when the day not only honors an individual, but also an important event in our collective history. Elizabeth Peratovich Day celebrates a brave, wise and eloquent woman, as well as the Legislature’s decision to provide equal rights regardless of race. Seward's Day celebrates Alaska joining the United States. Days like these provide a focal point for education (news paper editorials, school activities, public events) and help them stand out a little more – at least I hope they do.