On Jan. 4, the D.C. Council voted 11 to 2 to confirm the Rev. Willie Wilson as a trustee of the University of the District of Columbia. I, along with one other council member, opposed the nomination [Metro, Jan. 5].

I certainly do not mind being on the losing side of a vote. It has happened before, and it will happen again. What I do mind is the silence of so many amid the screams of a few.

During the two weeks of heated public discussion when racism was being cited as the motive of those opposed to the nomination, where were our colleagues? They could easily have disagreed with our positions and still raised their voices against these unsubstantiated attacks.

Where was the mayor, who brought this controversial nomination to us and to the city? He was attending a rally and writing the chair of the Education Committee, fanning the flames by saying such things as, "Let us work together in pushing aside unsupported accusations regarding Rev. Wilson" and "I ask you to work with me in eliminating race as a basis for Rev. Wilson not receiving support."

And where were the major media? Writing noncommittal editorials or just sitting by, with very few exceptions.

I have been on this earth for nearly 56 years, and I defy anyone to find any time or any place where I uttered a racist word or acted in a racist fashion. It has never happened, nor will it ever. In fact, my life has been about uniting--not dividing--people.

Maybe if I had just arrived in the District a couple of years ago or had no memory, this nomination would have been okay with me. But I have lived here for 34 years and do have a memory. My only intolerance is of intolerance itself. I cast my vote on Jan. 4 against what I saw--and my memory recalls--as intolerance and divisiveness. May that end now.



The writer is an at-large member of the D.C. Council.