Letters: Elevating the voices of the victims of hate (5/2/21)
Elevating the voices of the victims of hate
Just a few weeks ago, my mother told me the story of getting her COVID-19 vaccine at our local Walmart. Many people exiting passed an old man who was entering the store, but once my mother passed him, he quickly sprayed a disinfectant around his surroundings. My mother felt targeted since she was the only Asian-American who had passed him at the time.
My friend also told me the story of the hike she took with her boyfriend. Walking near a road, my friend noticed a truck slow down as it got closer to her. A man rolled down the window and screamed “VIRUS” at her. My friend cried, not because she was afraid, but because it made her think of all the other Asian-American victims.
Stories like these are not “gruesome” enough to be shared on the news, but this does not mean they should be ignored. The news can report Asian-American attacks, but a story can influence, teach, and inspire others. The organization Stop Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Hate aims to encourage those who experience or witness acts of hate. This platform is loaded with stories waiting to be heard.
News reports can inform people of these attacks, but it is the most personal story that will motivate change.
Whether you know the person or not, hearing their story evokes feelings within us to act upon the issue. So please, start here: stopaapihate.org/reports/
Sydney Kheng, Broomfield
Thanks to The Denver Post for its recent articles discussing AAPI hate crimes and the need to support AAPI folx. One local organization, CORE (Community Organizing for Radical Empathy, coredei.com), has offered some incredible resources to our Asian communities. CORE has hosted a Stop AAPI Hate rally at the state Capitol, garnered feedback from its 200+ participants at two virtual Addressing Anti-Asian Hate town halls, and continues to provide free Healing Circles for the community.
The women of CORE elevate AAPI voices and stories, reaffirm our struggles and our resiliency, and remind us that solidarity for all people is how we, as a society, thrive. I’m grateful to CORE for its vision and hard work!
Jamie Diaz, Denver
Homeless camps one solution — but still fails
Re: “The crisis at our door,” April 25 commentary
My neighbors slept outdoors the night of April 15, retiring early but waking often to shake the heavy snow and the fallen tree branches off of soaked tent walls.
Perhaps the indoor emergency shelter, a quarter-mile distant, was too far to walk.
Perhaps they feared abandoning their shopping carts, dismantled bicycles, and fast food containers. Many ordered restaurant delivery to their tent camp during the worst weather conditions. Many food delivery drivers stood in the cold shouting names among the tents.
Some nomadic people have lived on my neighborhood streets for years. Suddenly last summer tents flourished like dandelions on every vacant patch of soil. Graffiti exploded and trash piles multiplied like rabbits.
When the All-Star Game comes this summer, will the world see Denver slums equal to those in Rio de Janeiro and Calcutta?
It is time to wash down sidewalks, reopen businesses, and display the 16th Street Mall without boarded storefronts with every eatery open for business aided by low-cost and short-term leases to retailers, restaurants, street vendors and food trucks.
A few months of full occupancy downtown would do wonders for Denver’s image and pride. A few months boom in short-term jobs would be a foot in the door for those who struggle to regain employment. A few months of employment could benefit nomadic city street citizens with an influx of earned money and expansion of pride in the streets on which they live.
Warren T. Johnson, Denver
In response to Doug Friednash’s column and the shantytowns appearing all across our country, I wonder why our leaders, especially Democrats, are so adamant about allowing thousands of more homeless, unemployed people into our country.
We obviously can’t take care of the homeless we have now, so why allow many more across our borders.
Johan Bemelen, Aurora
It’s hard to argue with Friednash on the putrid nature of Denver’s shantytowns. But he’s long on idealism and short on realism. By his own admission, resources are scarce, and history is not encouraging, as little progress has been made in this area since the days of the Hoovervilles.
He says we can do better.
No. We can’t.
It’s not our culture. This isn’t Canada or Europe, where intelligent governments fully fund programs that address the root social problems that create homelessness.
The new camping proposal is not a sister to the profoundly ludicrous free camping idea, Initiative 300.
It simply provides for the better of two evils. Instead of relegating people to horrendous improvised camps — as we wait around fantasizing about how things should be in a perfect world — we begin by replacing the makeshift camps with designated camping areas that would at least be under public control. And couldn’t there be more rules and regulations imposed on these camps as time goes on?
To acquiesce to legal shantytowns “would be admitting failure,” says Friednash. I think we should have admitted failure long ago.
Scott Newell, Denver (LoDo)
Legislators must take life-saving measures
Re: “Lives are at risk when prices of prescription drugs have no oversight,” April 27 commentary
Kyle Leggott, thank you. We need to let our state senators know that Senate Bill 175 needs to be passed for the sake of the Colorado residents.
It is not right to make prescription drugs so high that those already struggling must sacrifice essentials to continue their prescriptions and their chance of living. The bill will set upper limits on the most unaffordable drugs.
We must have regulations.
The pharmaceutical industry has continually demonstrated its selfishness.
Jean Dennis, Golden
Encouraging or even requiring half-tablet utilization, especially for government-paid plans, would cut costs in half for tablet medications. If you are paying cash or a percentage of the cost as a copay, ask your pharmacist to intervene to get you the savings that comes from ordering pills twice the dose needed and then splitting them. It can be done.
Jim Aldridge, Golden
Editor’s note: Aldridge is a registered pharmacist.
Working in restaurants has sustained me through graduate school, but when COVID hit, my restaurant furloughed the majority of the staff. I was lucky that my university provided me with access to health care and a job as a research assistant, but I worried about my coworkers who didn’t have these privileges. They lost their health insurance along with their jobs, and did not meet the very low-income requirements to receive coverage through Medicaid.
One of my coworkers has a chronic condition that leaves them at high risk of stroke or aneurysm. Without a job or insurance, their life-saving medications are unaffordable. The increased risk of contracting COVID with their condition makes finding another restaurant job life-threatening. Their finances are dwindling and they are forced to choose between taking expensive, life-saving medications or affording other necessities. No one should have to face such decisions.
Doing nothing about prescription drug unaffordability is too costly to contemplate. Without meaningful change, Coloradans will continue to struggle to afford their medications and suffer devastating health and financial consequences. We must take action on high drug costs. Now more than ever, our leaders need to implement a Prescription Drug Affordability Board to set upper payment limits on drugs Coloradans need to stay healthy, or even stay alive.
Callie Shelton, Denver
Standardize health beneﬁts
Re: “Is a public option the right answer?” April 18 news story
Colorado has made great strides in recent years to address health disparities and ensure we all have access to affordable health services to live our lives with dignity. The challenge is that there are still barriers, and we don’t all get access to the same standard of care. That’s why I am excited about House Bill 1232, which would create a standardized health benefit plan.
This is especially important for the Latinx community. We have historically faced disparities in access to high-quality health care at the same time that so many of our families are struggling to make ends meet. As a result of systemic barriers, we are more likely to experience unintended pregnancy, pregnancy and maternal health complications and to forego access to services we need for chronic health conditions due to financial barriers. We can and we must do better! This bill is such an important step forward.
A model plan — or public option as it is sometimes referred to — would establish a set of services that need to be covered in any state-regulated plan. It could draw a line to make clear that the full range of reproductive health care would be made more available to more people in our state. This would make a big difference to many women and families. Join me in urging the General Assembly to pass this important bill.
Katherine Riley, Denver