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home : columns : dear harriette April 18, 2021

2/12/2021 8:30:00 AM
Reader excited by prospect of Tubman $20 bill

DEAR HARRIETTE: Now that Biden is in office, he is busting out so many new things already. One that I found interesting was his movement to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill. This was originally put into motion by President Obama, and now that Biden is President, I think it is noble that he is continuing this goal despite the effort being slowed down by President Trump. I think it's a great plan that will be a daily reminder for Americans, but what can we really expect this to change for our futures? Have you given any thought to what this really means to people here on the ground?

DEAR HERO TUBMAN: Whenever a person is being considered to be put on the face of money, it's a big deal because it happens so rarely. It is a symbolic gesture designed to highlight the contributions of the person to American culture. What might that mean, particularly about Harriet Tubman? Known as the Conductor, Tubman was a pivotal figure in American history. Born an enslaved woman, not only did she escape, but she returned countless times to lead others to freedom. Her courage, resilience and tenacity are inspiring for anyone. Seeing her face on American currency may inspire someone to look her up and learn about a part of American history that is rarely discussed openly. The more people learn about the fullness of our culture, the better off we all will be.

That said, many people do not pay attention to the faces on our currency or to the monuments in our parks. Imagine if we all did a little research to learn whose images we are honoring and what they say about who we are as a people!

DEAR HARRIETTE: I love my home, my job and where I live. What I don't love is my landlord. I live in a college town, so often there are students looking for housing. Most tenants in this area are here for only a year or so and then leave. Because of this, my landlord told me that he gives tours of his units often. I signed a one-year lease, but I plan on being here for a couple of years with this new job.

My landlord emails me late at night to tell me that early in the morning he is coming to give a tour. He is supposed to give a 24-hour notice, but it's usually like a six-hour heads-up, which is very inconvenient for me. I approached him about this, telling him that showing my apartment -- during COVID-19 and when I have little interest in moving next year -- is inconsiderate. But he thinks he is within his rights. I don't want to leave, but he is not respecting my boundaries. Knocking Landlord

DEAR KNOCKING LANDLORD: Because of COVID-19, you may be able to push back successfully. It is unhealthy to bring random people into your home at all, let alone on an ongoing basis. Use the health argument to say that you do not want anyone entering your home who is not someone you have invited. If he continues to refuse, ask if you can extend your lease in exchange for being left alone. Or you may want to take him to court. Learn your rights and find out how you can file to protect your health. At the very least, you may want to have an attorney contact your landlord. Given that the CDC is recommending that people not even visit with their families indoors, you stand a good chance of keeping random apartment hunters out -- for now.

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