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From the week of June 8, 2006


A Class Act

Success story:Regarding "Final Testament," in the June 1 issue:

Richard Velarde was a student of mine in 1995-96 when I was the basic-skills instructor at Community College of Denver Technical Education Center West. We were doing in a few short months with these students what DPS has not done in its history: succeeding.

I was very sorry to read last week that Richard had died. I was glad that Adam Cayton-Holland's articles gave Richard some of the attention that young guys like him seldom get, but was also sad that his shooting and his death were the reasons he received attention. The article on Richard and his mom captured in words what I remember in memory of them both. I knew Jody to be a strong woman, and she cared greatly for him. Damn. I remember how she would come to meetings at TEC West to see how her boy was doing.

It was a great waste and tragedy when Richard was shot. He was a good guy, not a bad person. I can't really judge who the "bad guy" was in all this, and maybe there was one, but I also remember my own days of being young, and stupid, and drunk. And I remember a lot about guns, and always remember that race and class are the context for all this, and always have been. So what judgment do I cast?

Ernesto Vigil
Denver

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