Regarding the April 24 Metro article “Neighbors want answers after shooting near zoo ”:
This incident was most unfortunate, and our prayers are extended for a speedy recovery to the two individuals wounded. However, the suggestion from some Woodley Park residents to end Easter Monday events at the National Zoo gave me pause. The Easter Monday tradition began in the 19th century as a pseudo-holiday for black domestic workers who had to work on Easter Sunday and were banned from attending the traditional White House Easter Egg Roll because of segregation. The District’s trolleys offered discount fares on Easter Monday, and children rode for free, so the zoo became a popular location, drawing hundreds of impeccably dressed African American families from throughout the city for a wonderful day of good food, socializing and the much-anticipated highlight: the Easter egg hunt. While violence should not be tolerated, ending the tradition doesn’t seem to be the right answer.
As a native Washingtonian, I have many fond childhood memories of Easter Monday with my family at the zoo. I look forward to sharing and creating new memories with my grandchildren. Thus, I am committed to working with residents and community leaders to maintain our traditions and to ensure that our community is safe. We will use this occasion to improve what is good in our communities and change what is not.
George H. Lambert Jr., Washington
The writer is president and chief executive of the Greater Washington Urban League.