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July 10, 2014 3:00 am Published by Comments Off on Compassion

Compassion - Letter to the VC Star editor by Straight Up intern

Our intern Jaimee Hanna wrote a powerful letter to the editor of the VC Star, in response to the sentencing of the young women who, while driving impaired, struck and killed Ventura educator Chris Prewitt. It was printed in the Opinion section of the July 9, 2014 edition of the Star.

This is in response to the VC Star’s article published on June 27, “Oxnard woman given four-year sentence in death of Ventura educator.”

I am 20 years old and I was born and raised in Ventura County. After completing my college education in another state, I just returned home to pursue my career in health and prevention. It was with great sadness I read about the death of Chris Prewitt and the sentencing of Shante Chappell.

In their actions and words, Mr. Prewitt’s family demonstrated compassion and forgiveness towards Ms. Chappell. They asked, instead of a harsh sentence, that Ms. Chappell undergo a probation period where she not only seeks the help that she clearly needs but to also work to impact the lives of others in the community.

As a college student, I witnessed reckless behavior plenty of times — and have always worried about the consequences after a peer consumes too much alcohol. Without proper guidance and exposure to alcohol prevention, it’s hard for people to make the right decisions.

Ms. Chappell stated that she would honor the Prewitt family’s request for her to counsel others, especially youth and young adults, about the dangers of drunken driving. This is the best outcome for a terrible situation — that young people can learn to be responsible for their actions, to take charge of their future and to avoid tragic scenarios. Impaired driving affects us all.

I feel that the Prewitt family’s act of compassion should serve as a model in our community and inspire the people of Ventura County. We need to move forward with purpose and resolve as not to repeat the past.

Jaimee Hanna, Newbury Park