E-mail exchange between Patricia Dowd and Karla Holloway
The entire e-mail has been posted below
The following is Professor Holloway's response.
November 6, 2006
I am the mother of a Duke Lacrosse player. After reading your article in September, I penned a response. I held off sending it, to see if my thoughts would change as my anger subsided. Unfortunately, my anger has not subsided. I do not want to prejudge you as those who prejudged the innocent Duke Three and the entire lacrosse team. Therefore, I respectfully request you respond to my letter so I may better understand why you would write such a vile article. Below is my response to your article.
I sit and ponder, how could any woman be so cruel and callous, and judge a whole class of individuals without any facts. What was more puzzling and definitely more alarming was that you had a son convicted of rape and attempted murder, and who was going to be tried for the murder of two others. It has always been my belief that educators not only had a moral obligation but a duty to have an open mind and to encourage your students to do the same. I teach History to high school students. Clearly, you do not understand this obligation. My first reaction was to attack, but what would be the sense. I wondered, do you attack our sons, because you feel guilt for your own failures as a mother? Do you attack our sons, because you are so selfish that you cannot stand the thought of our sons leading successful lives, when your son did not and can not? Do you attack our sons to justify your own short comings? Do you attack our sons because it's easier than looking yourself in the mirror? Do you attack our sons because they are innocent and your son was not? The answer may be yes to all of those questions. How sad for you that you have been reduced to a pathetic, heartless individual. While people with souls and hearts, would suffer and wallow in their own pain for a while, when the dust settles, they would fight to turn a tragic situation into something positive. Instead, you are so self centered, you have made yourself the victim in your son's death and in the Duke hoax.
"We all leave footprints in the sand, the question is, will we be a big heal, or a great soul." - Source Unknown
This week I was touched by two families who have suffered the worst imaginable loss in any parent's life, the loss of a child. One was Rachel Scott, age 17, the first person killed at Columbine, the second was Louis Acompora, age 14, killed while playing the game he loved, lacrosse, by a syndrome known as commotio cordis. What struck me is that both these remarkable young individuals were able to leave a lasting legacy that has and will continue to touch million of hearts and souls. Rachel Scott's legacy has been the formation of Rachael's Challenge which challenges us and inspires us all to do random acts of kindness. Louis Acompora's foundation has saved countless individuals by making defibulators available in schools and other public areas.
Though I cannot compare the loss of a child, with the loss of a child's trust in the kindness and goodness of man, I wrestle with what will be the legacy of our sons and our families as we emerge from this travesty of justice. Rachel Scott said, "Look hard enough and you'll always find a light." So I have challenged myself to find "my light".
At this time the path is dim for I have not let go of the anger and rage I feel against Nifong for creating and continuing this hoax for his own personal and political gain; against the Duke administration for abandoning our sons, even today as the evidence clearly shows their innocence, and using the lacrosse team and Coach Pressler as the scapegoats in a feeble attempt to protect Duke's reputation; against some of the Duke faculty for condemning and harassing our sons without a scintilla of evidence to further their own philosophical agendas; and against [accuser's name withheld] for not having the courage to end this charade by telling the truth.
However, I also recognize that to find the light I must choose forgiveness. Forgiveness does not mean I do not want Nifong disbarred or Duke to walk away without an apology to our sons. Forgiveness is just the ceasing to feel resentment and anger. I am not there today, but I am at a point that I must consider the possibility that there is a "light", for if I do not, I will find myself like you, Professor Holloway, a sad, bitter, resentful woman, attempting to squash the dreams of others because after your own personal tragedy you were not able to find your "light" and therefore have no dreams of your own.
When Colin, Reade and Dave are exonerated, what will be our legacy? I believe these three courageous young men will be great souls. They have showed us over the past six months how to handle adversity with class and dignity that is beyond their years. Each one of these young men will leave lasting imprints on all those they touch. They will have entered the eye of a hurricane and come out to tell others abut it. The legacy of the lacrosse team will be that of "truth". We will not stop, no matter what, in our quest to let the world know the truth of what transpired on March 13/14, the lacrosse team has stood steadfast in the events that occurred, even after being vilified publicly.
But what will my legacy be? I need to find a goal, as do many of the mothers and fathers of the lacrosse team, so we will be able to try to make sense out of something that has no sense. It may be a crusade to protect the "accused's" identity in rape cases much like the accuser's. Sadly, even when the young men are exonerated, there will still be many who will characterize the lacrosse team as "rapists". There will still be whispers. Many still want to turn a blind eye to the facts. Without any evidence the Durham Police Department, put our son's pictures on a "Wanted Poster" and published it in main stream national media for days. Colin, Reade and Dave's pictures, continue to be shown in the mainstream media. I hope I am able to emerge from this travesty with a vision to make the choice to make a change to protect other innocent young men.
I live the negative impact of this hoax daily knowing the three families live it greater than I do. I hope that one day I have the strength to choose to make a positive impact for if I don't, I may waste my life, like you, Prof. Holloway, wallowing in self pity. You are a big heal in the sand, I chose to be a great soul.
The Scott and Acompora families will be my inspiration! They will lead me to my light. You have also inspired me, of what I choose not to become.
Patricia Dowd Mother of Duke Lacrosse Player, Kyle Dowd
Nov. 6, 2006
Dear Patricia Dowd,
Indeed, you should have held off sending it. Your letter reflects nothing so much as an impoverished spirit and intellect. What a shame, for you, and your family.
Karla FC Holloway