Keep Sawyer at helm

As a proud supporter of Mayor-elect Jim Kenney, Club Valiants, a Philadelphia association of minority firefighters, urges him to retain Derrick Sawyer as the city's fire commissioner. Sawyer embodies the qualities that every successful leader must have: competence, knowledge, courage, loyalty, and dedication.

Sawyer is a self-driven and meticulous individual who can multitask and function in high-stress, fast-paced environments. He is a quantitative and analytical thinker with a professional attitude and diligent work ethic. Sawyer exemplifies the individual characteristics that garner universal respect. He is dedicated to fairness and equality for all and is always concerned about the rights of others.

With his extensive managerial background, Sawyer is the right person to lead the Fire Department in its mission to improve the quality of life and ensure citizens' safety.

|Morgan D. Miller, president,

Club Valiants, Philadelphia,


Rousing rendition

I've been attending Philadelphia Orchestra concerts for years, and the Nov. 14 performance of Hannibal Lokumbe's One Land, One River, One People was my most transformative musical experience. When I saw David Patrick Stearns' review ("Orchestra concert, interrupted," Nov. 16), I thought there was a typo in the headline. I thought that "interrupted" was meant to be "disrupted," as in "disruptive innovation," a good thing.

Alas, the reviewer did not appreciate the composer's emoting and leading the hand clappers from the first tier. But I thought that Lokumbe facilitated the connection between what the audience was feeling and the orchestra's performance, much as the score bridged the gap between jazz/blues and classical music, African American experience and European American tradition.

|Frank Chmielewski, North Wales


Fighting for peace through climate change

After picking up my kids from school nine days ago, we heard the news from Paris. "Mom, aren't you going to Paris?" they asked. "Where did a bomb come from? Why are they shooting?"

"I don't know what's going on," I told them, "but I do know that there are bad people and good people. It is our job to be the good people."

I'm going to Paris to call for action on climate change - my heart tells me to be one of the good people. I will join thousands whose hearts call for peace, justice, and understanding. I will carry my children in my heart as we fight for a more secure, peaceful world that can be realized only if we act on climate.

Climate chaos will lead to a world where nations are fighting over the most basic of human needs and millions of refugees are fleeing extreme weather, heat, and drought.

Unless countries like the United States show leadership and forge a path to dramatically reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, we will continue to see violence and pain in places such as Syria, Beirut, and France.

It is our job to make sure that we are creating a safer and healthier world for all children.

|Gretchen Dahlkemper, national field manager, Moms Clean Air Force, Philadelphia

Pa. can relocate refugees safely

I am proud of Gov. Wolf's decision to continue to work with the federal government in welcoming Syrian refugees.

As we mourn the lives lost in Paris and Beirut, we remember that ordinary Syrians have also suffered persecution by their government and a merciless terrorist organization. Imagine trying to raise your children in such an environment. Imagine trying to move them to safety, only to be told that you are now considered suspect.

Pennsylvania has long welcomed diverse refugees. Nationally, Lutherans have welcomed more than a half-million. The

U.S. Refugee Admissions Program is a secure, public-private partnership that has saved the lives of vulnerable people and helped them thrive and give back to the United States. Thanks to a robust screening process implemented by the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and others, we have welcomed refugees with confidence and very positive results.

It breaks my heart that so many other governors have abandoned that honorable tradition now, when the need is so great.

| Rev. Claire S. Burkat, bishop, Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Philadelphia,