I have had long-standing empathetic connections to the issues raised by your recent article on the civil rights protests in Baltimore ("Former student protesters remember civil rights battle over the Northwood Theatre," Feb. 16).

The experience of Baltimore college students in 1963 closely followed my own experiences in Greensboro, N.C., when students at the black colleges there began protesting racial segregation at the local Woolworth's lunch counter.

As a Southern white woman, I had always been confounded by the restrictions in my hometown of Wilmington, N.C., where as a child I observed the signs over water fountains, outside restrooms and on public buses restricting blacks from using facilities designated for whites. I sensed early on that this kind of discrimination did not "compute" for me.

The Greensboro sit-in demonstrations were the first opportunity I had to express publicly my objection to things I had long intuited were unjust, and I became one of the first white students at Woolworth's to support the black students' demand for equal rights.

I am proud of my position 53 years ago, and I always feel newly empowered when I read an article that affirms that the early days of the civil rights struggle were supported by many more people than might be imagined in 1960.

It was heartwarming to read of others who participated in that struggle. As a mental health professional who is still practicing at the age of 75, I advocate daily for equality, justice and peace. We need to be challenged to work toward these ideals and to promote them in whatever way is productive. That is a responsibility all of us share, no matter our profession or life's calling.

Sarah Totushek

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