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Affected by Trayvon

A friend came to me at church on Sunday. He led me to a space where we could speak privately. He had something heavy on his heart. He whispered, his voice cracking in a way that the voices of big strong men often do when they are trying hard to be big strong men.

"Can we talk?" is all Jack said. "It's about Trayvon; Trayvon Martin."

We stood there for what seemed like a long time, holding hands; fingers intertwined. Brown knuckles, bare white.

I come often to First Congregational United Church of Christ, an open and affirming congregation where the credo says "God is still speaking." Someone must speak out ... Real talk. Honest and authentic. Raw.

Trayvon's death was about all the things to which we refuse to give voice.

It was about a people stolen from Africa, forced into the dank holes of ships by strangers, bound for a strange land. About the enslaved people who built what came to be America, ironically the land of the free, home of the brave. A genius people who somehow survived 400 years of enslavement and founded institutions, schools and colleges, businesses, civic organizations.

It was about how Jim Crow, Jane Crow, Old Crow took it all away again — slavery by another name came in the way of peonage. Privilege was perpetuated.

An American dream ... for some. We won't talk about it, about the un-level playing field that still exists.

We know so little about old Jim Crow or the new Jim Crow guaranteeing prison for too many young men of color like Trayvon Martin. But he detoured — to the corner store. A pack of Skittles in his hand, an iced tea, his whole life ahead.

It's hard to talk about how someone might feel justified, pumping a bullet into that baby face. Could wearing a hoodie and having a round baby face somehow be cause for a death sentence?

So, Jack and I stand together; speaking volumes. Brown knuckles, bare white. Tears, apologies; an embrace.

It's a beginning.

— Rosemary Harris Lytle

Colorado Springs

Doubly amazed

I have to say I'm amazed at how well my statements ("Defending Santorum," Letters, March 1) drew out the progressive vitriol. The personal attacks I've seen since my letter was published have resembled those of so many liberals, full of spite but lacking any substance or understanding.

I'm glad that the Independent publishes all of our letters and gives us each a chance to speak. I will say to answer some of my demagogues, that if you don't want rampant pregnancy, one of the best ways is not to have sex. It's unbelievable that this is no longer considered an option. I understand that most want all of the fun without any of the personal responsibility, but even if you ignore them, the rules still apply to you.

I'm also amazed at the misconceptions of homeschooling. This may be due to the fact most people just don't care what or how their children are taught, as long as someone else has the responsibility. I was never home-schooled, but can tell you that if I have children they will be, because I care about what they are taught and I want them exposed to ideas, not lulled into a progressive mind like so many skulls of mush in this day in age.

— Rob Annese

Colorado Springs

Face the truth

Fr. Bill Carmody is incorrect (Letters, March 22) stating President Obama is enemy No. 1 of poor women!

If Fr. Carmody would bother to read what really happened in Texas, I would hope he would become enlightened to see women's real enemy No. 1 in Texas is Gov. Rick Perry. Pandering to his right-wing cronies, he refused to give Planned Parenthood more state funding, knowing the federal government mandated if any state does not allow women to choose their own qualified clinic, Medicaid payments would be discontinued.

This issue has nothing to do with helping poor women. Gov. Perry has shown he doesn't care one bit about needy women! The issue has to do with abortions, which Planned Parenthood is not about. It provides health services to women.

When will Perry, the Catholic church and others get it that Planned Parenthood is not an abortion clinic! No state or federal dollars go to abortions!

I am a mother of three daughters, two stepdaughters, eight grandchildren, and I tutor at Children's Literacy Center. I love children! I do not believe any child should be brought into this world who will not be loved, cherished, supported and most of all, wanted.

Does this priest have any idea how many underfed, neglected children are right here in Colorado Springs? Why isn't the church or any Christians adopting and supporting these babies? If they are, they are not doing enough.

The poor women in Texas, Colorado, or any state go to Planned Parenthood because that is where they get medical attention, pure and simple.

Until men start having babies instead of making them, I suggest priests, male governors and all male politicians stay out of women's health issues unless the males are compassionate, understanding men like President Obama and my husband!

— Elaine Brush

Colorado Springs

Familiar language

Fr. Carmody's venom is vast, but directed at the wrong target. Texas is the one waging war against women. It isn't President Obama withholding much-needed health care and screenings from poor Texas women, it is the GOP lawmakers and Gov. Rick Perry who, in their zeal to show the likes of Fr. Carmody and his church how anti-women they are, are hurting the poor.

Perry knew the regulations long before he and the Texas legislature decided to continue the War on Women. Federal money cannot be used when one of the groups is precluded simply because of political posturing.

Perry pushed the mandatory trans-vaginal sonograms that are nothing more than state-ordered rape, and he is the one who pulled the funding for women's health.

Perhaps the good priest should look closer at the book that is supposed to guide him. I'm sure I remember a line there that says, "Thou shall not bear false witness." By trying to lay blame on the president when it is easily confirmed it is not, Fr. Carmody comes dangerously close to leaving religious protections and entering into the realm of a GOP PAC.

— Arval Becker

Colorado Springs

The 'other' war

Of course, there is a war on women. It has been going on for centuries, mostly backed by the Catholic church.

However, that is not the reason I am writing this letter. There is another war going on, a war against the homeless. They are constantly harassed, demonized and vilified. But honestly, who are they really hurting?

— Dwayne Schultz

Colorado Springs


Sleight of hand

Fr. Carmody's indictment of President Obama is an interesting sleight of hand. The only reason Texas would have defunded Planned Parenthood would be the fact that the organization offers abortion services. Millions of women (many poor) nationwide have received health services and counseling that have nothing to do with abortion. This fact is not important to people who feel abortion must be stopped at any cost, that every life must be brought to term, regardless of circumstances.

I'm not sure many people who feel this way have been raped, or know someone impregnated by her father. Opponents would like you to believe that the choice to abort a fetus (regardless of reason) is an off-the-cuff decision, much like where to go out for dinner that evening, and some factions want to ban birth control altogether. In this light, it's disingenuous to suggest that the president is waging war on women, and Fr. Carmody knows this.

— Dan Wiencek

Colorado Springs

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Not so funny

Rich Tosches' article "Our newest state resident" (Ranger Rich, March 22) put a bad taste in my mouth. Making light of rape was beyond distasteful; it was cruel. As a young woman who has had many friends, both male and female, who have been victims of sexual assault or rape, I get the feeling he's never known anyone who has admitted this tragic thing happening to them.

Articles like yours that make jokes, songs that make it seem fun, those who call people whores for simply using birth control; all band together to make a wall around rape victims that makes them feel cut off from society.

The thing people forget is that rape is not a crime of lust. It's a crime of violence and control and power.

The statistics for men raped in prison, either by other prisoners or guards, are stunning. These men rarely if ever get justice for what is done to them and are most often laughed at or told "well that's what happens" when they seek help. Now don't think I'm some white-flag-waving hippie who expects world peace and white doves to snuggle up with kittens in perfect harmony. I fully believe many of these men deserve the fate they find in prison. Those convicted of rape, child molesters and the like.

I realize Rod Blagojevich is not a good man. No sensible person will argue that he shouldn't have gone to prison. But there's a very good chance the rape you joked about could have happened. Many men commit suicide while in prison rather than live through the fate offered to them in our "justice" system. Some partner with an older or larger man as a "couple" rather than face the reality of prison sex life.

— Skiv Sandlin


Gumption, please

What steps should government officials take to mitigate the ills besetting our city enterprises? Trouble seems systemic throughout the Urban Renewal Authority, the USOC deal, Colorado Springs Utilities, and Memorial Health System. Identifying the underlying cause may be the easy part; correcting multiple problems calls for the wisdom of Solomon and the patience of Job.

Proper oversight of all city entities by City Council, auditors or competent independent analysts would go a long way toward restoring taxpayer trust in government. Nothing turns off taxpayers or gets their dander up like the perception that tax dollars are being wasted or resources misused.

People were not thrilled to see Memorial Health System spend a million dollars lobbying for an independent nonprofit. That discontent you still feel in the community is over the USOC deal.

Negotiations are under way to lease Memorial. Some are calling for a special election in August costing $350,000 or more. Granted, the University of Colorado Health System is willing to pay that. But if it were on the general election ballot in November, there would be no additional cost and draw significantly more voters who could digest all details of the issue before marking a ballot.

Gumption is a fine old concept. Council members and other government authorities will need it to recover oversight which is rightfully their domain but has been sorely missing.

— John A. Daly

Colorado Springs

The oil solution

With gas prices teetering around $4 a gallon, the need for solutions to our oil dependence has never been clearer, but those solutions seem to be hidden by the current political rhetoric.

We have the technology to enact solutions that will curb our oil use and protect consumers from future price volatility. Individual drivers can take steps to cut their gas use today, but we also need a plan that cuts our long-term national oil use.

The public should demand commitments from decision-makers, automakers, fuel producers and consumers to take necessary steps to cut our oil dependence. The Union of Concerned Scientists' Oil Savings Plan provides realistic solutions to help get us there.

— Athena Roe

Colorado Springs

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