Letters to the Editor – February 2018

17

Understanding West Fresno

I want to thank Kevin Hall (“A Fresno Epiphany,” December 2017 Community Alliance) for highlighting an issue that Black and Brown West Fresno residents have known for a long time: The powers that be in Fresno (e.g., City Hall, big developers) do not care about the residents in southwest Fresno.

What Mr. Hall did was shine a light on the former mayor [former Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin] and the current administration at Fresno City Hall. I attended all the TCC (Transformative Climate Communities) meetings, and the one thing that was clear to me was this: It was a political dog-and-pony show. Many of us in attendance knew the real decisions were being made away from the participants. This is nothing new. White privilege has tried to show us that “the people” don’t know what’s best and that they should not be making big decisions about their communities. Hogwash!

The nerve of Ashley Swearingen to believe that she could do this. What gives her the right? After neglecting southwest Fresno for eight years? White privilege and racism. How can we make it any plainer?

Elections are coming, and Black and Brown and Asian voters will be out in droves. I hope the people in power remember that. The people united will never be defeated! Our time has come.

Aline Reed

Fresno


 

Avoiding Child Death and Planning Families

Having walked through Fresno neighborhoods south of McKinley Avenue, I found it hard to imagine these poor families paying for a doctor visit. Since October, Congress has ignored renewing one of its most successful creations, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). CHIP provides health coverage to low-income children whose families typically earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to buy coverage for themselves or their kids. With bipartisan origins, it is a major success story, having cut the number of uninsured children in America by two-thirds since its enactment in 1997.

Every time my Aunt Sue visited Fresno from Seattle when I was a child I sat at the dining room table absorbing her humor and gift of gab. [She] exuded the positive energy my mother rarely expressed. Only years after their deaths do I have the emotional distance to figure out the possible causes of their differences. Unmarried until her late 50s, Sue stayed childless and did not lose a newborn infant as my mother had two years previous to my birth, an experience that enduringly added to her somber nature and occasional sharp tongue.

Always below the surface, the haunting memory of a child’s death interferes with a mother’s ability to enjoy life and threatens her relations with family members. Before adulthood, girls know that motherhood has built-in dangers, which may explain in part the popularity of contraceptives, at least when they are available. Contrary to many males, women prefer a peaceful world even when faced with a global male collective consciousness that demands continuous reproduction and male politicians that continuously beat the “enemy invasion” war drums.

However, in many cases child death can be avoided. An average of 25,000 children under five die globally each day, mostly from causes preventable with low-cost, proven interventions. [With] new low-cost, low-energy refrigeration units for vaccines, medicines can be kept viable for days and weeks. Saving mother’s and children’s lives establishes a nongovernmental organization’s credibility, which then allows it the ability to introduce contraceptive technology.

Mike Starry

Fresno