Online Extra Letters Feb. 2

Readers respond to EW's Slant about The Shedd's Billie Holiday show


On Tuesday, Feb. 7, at 7 pm, people throughout the world will gather on Zoom to discuss what is likely the only realistic way to avoid climate chaos. This event is free and open to everyone at

 Most climate activists focus on reducing fossil fuel emissions. Yet even if we stop all fossil fuel burning today, the amount of CO2 already in the atmosphere will cause earth surface temperatures to continue to rise during the next few decades, creating uninhabitable conditions over much of the world. The reason: Roughly half the world’s trees, an estimated 3 trillion, have been removed over the last 10,000 years. Half of this deforestation has occurred over the last 100 years. Most of this deforested land, which comprises 75 percent of all agricultural land today, is used for grazing livestock and to grow feed for the 80 billion animals that humans eat each year.

But if we reforest much of this grazing land or let forests return naturally by leaving the land alone, the restored forests could absorb most of the CO2 we currently emit by burning fossil fuels. It would take only a fraction of current agricultural land to grow enough food for everyone to adopt a mainly plant-based diet. And if we simultaneously reduce fossil fuel emissions, we can lower atmospheric CO2 to a level that can sustain life on Earth as we know it.

The choice is ours, and it starts with our next meal. Please join the conversation on Feb. 7.

Steve Goldman


Editor’s note: In our Jan. 29 issue, Eugene Weekly suggested rather than have a white woman perform the repertoire of Billie Holiday, a Black artist, The Shedd instead could use the opportunity to uplift Black voices. We pointed out some of the criticisms that were posted online about The Shedd’s show. Many of those criticisms were deleted when The Shedd deleted its posts about the show. 


Your Jan. 26 Slant comments and criticisms of The Shedd and Siri Vik’s tribute to Billie Holiday were extremely racist. Is Ray Charles recording “Imagine” by John Lennon, the new Bruce Springsteen cover album of R&B hits (Supremes, etc.), Otis Redding recording “Satisfaction” by Jagger/Richards cultural appropriation? Or is it rather music artists showing respect and paying tribute to great music and artists they admire?

Music is the one area that all races and cultures have in common. Your comments reinforce the racist notion that skin color is how we are to judge someone.

Don French



I can understand the criticism and condemnation if Siri Vik really did, to use EW’s word, “portray” Billie Holiday in a program of her songs at The Shedd (EW, 1/26). But is the EW implying that no white musician should ever perform any of the thousands of works by the hundreds of Black musical geniuses in our history? That would seem to me to be the kind of reflexive cultural “wokeness” that provides all-too-easy fodder for the Sean Hannitys and Marjorie Taylor Greenes of the world.

And given the kind of culture we live in today, I expect to be called a white supremacist for saying this.

Tim Baxter



Your lead item in the Jan. 26 Slant scolds the “tone-deaf” Shedd Institute for white vocalist Siri Vik’s tribute to Billie Holiday, the late and marvelous vocalist. And continues “…it’s problematic for her (Vik) to portray an African American singer.”


It’s unclear where Eugene Weekly has been hiding its head, but Billie Holiday sang white music and African American music, with white and African American musicians, to white and African American and Latino and Asian and American Indian and Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, et al., ticket holders.

Is it possible Billie Holiday appreciated all ticket holders regardless of ethnicity, gender, religion, politics and hue?

Thank you Shedd Institute, Siri Vik and Billie Holiday.

Don McLean


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