Letters to to the editor: March 13, 2018

Re: Feb. 25 article, “Workers gather at state Capitol to defend labor unions’ rights.”

The Memphis Sanitation Strike was called by black workers after two deaths and years of dehumanization. Martin Luther King Jr. traveled to the site, where he was surveilled and assassinated, to support workers’ struggle to join the Local 1733 American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union.

King recognized the threat posed by so called “right to work” laws, asserting that “wherever these laws have been passed, wages are lower, job opportunities are fewer and there are no civil rights.”

Participants in the Working People’s Day of Action are commendable for contributing to the fight for justice that poor, Southern African-Americans imagined. However, it is disloyal to the movement to focus on the middle-class and narrow protectionist trade values rather than highlighting our “inescapable network of mutuality,” as King said, and the civil rights movement’s radical call for redistributing political and economic power.


Re: Feb. 25 article, “Giving City: Need cited for providing foster parent info in Spanish.”

While I am happy to hear that the Austin area is now translating its foster care training sessions and services into Spanish, I am surprised that it has not been done already.

Children waiting to be adopted in Austin are disproportionately Latino. Are we doing a disservice to these children by failing to provide them with foster care families that speak their primary language or understand their cultural background?

The excuse that translation of these services has not yet occurred simply because no one has requested it seems ridiculous to me. The foster care system in Austin needs families, so the demographic makeup of the city should be reflected in its programs. It is my hope that with this newly highlighted need for Spanish materials a change is sparked within the Austin foster care system.


Re: Feb. 25 article, “Amid privacy concerns, ‘virtual’ wall brings powerful spy tech to border.”

I’m very new to Texas — and being close to a border is new to me. However, I am from Georgia, a state that has similar ideological beliefs to Texas.

The legislative push to build a wall is intense in my state. I am studying social work, so I constantly analyze the ideology behind policy. Many cite national security issues as the backbone for this policy. Trump alluded to the real ideology when he said Mexican immigrants were “criminals, drug dealers and rapists.”

Social workers are encouraged to analyze the ideology behind what people say. What Trump and so many others are saying is that they are afraid of people who look, speak and act differently than they do. This policy reflects an underlying ideology of racism. We must call policies like this what they really are. They aren’t based in “national security” concerns. This is a discrimination issue, not a national security issue.


For too long, the National Rifle Association has been able to dictate the debate about guns and gun violence. Politicians are so scared of its influence that after every new tragedy, conversations about solutions to this epidemic start as pitiful half-measures and die from there.

Here’s an idea: Start the conversation at “take away everybody’s guns.” Move the parameters of the conversation, and maybe we can get to meaningful reform.

I understand we live in a country with millions of guns — and the prospect of disarming everyone is almost unimaginable. Except that the NRA and all the Second Amendment fanatics already imagine this as the goal of all efforts on controlling the carnage. Starting with “take away everybody’s guns” could lead to a middle ground, where assault rifles are banned and background checks are universal. Starting with “ban bump stocks” leads to nothing — except the next tragedy.


Other countries besides the U.S. have mentally ill people who receive poor mental health care services. Other countries also have schools. What makes us different? Our citizens have easy access to weapons which only serve one purpose: killing. Other countries do not. We have children killed in schools on a recurring basis. Other countries do not.

The National Rifle Association positions itself as the owners and sole interpreters of the Second Amendment. Sorry guys — it is my Constitution as well. This is not what the founding fathers had in mind.

The NRA lobbies for the gun manufacturers and wraps the flag of patriotism around their organization. Fearmongering and catchy slogans are the norm. Wayne LaPierre recently said that schools need to be the most “hardened targets.” When did schools become “targets?” When you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.


There are many opinions out there about how to stop these endless killings in our schools. Some want stricter control on guns, while others fight to uphold the Second Amendment.

Why not adopt an idea by the Israelis, who solved this problem two decades ago? Every school has a security gate around it, and every school has an armed security guard. You cannot enter the grounds without clearance, and they have scanners. This is much like our airport security.

Congress and the White House are protected by trained guards. The Hollywood attendees at the Oscars were protected by armed guards. Our children are just as valuable to us as Israeli children, our government leaders and Hollywood stars. We don’t need armed teachers. We do need something that is proven to work. Israel solved this problem many years ago. Let’s stop the politics and fix this problem now.


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