Letters to the Editor: Week of December 9, 2015

Column seems to deny nation’s history of racism

Last week I read Marty Rochester’s comments in the Light regarding the Ferguson Commission and racial progress in the United States. Although the article did point out the election of our President, and various other elected and appointed officials in our country, I felt the author’s comments denied the deep and historic racism in our country.

It is my belief that the average white person does not understand how our lack of true knowledge of the history and impact of racism has affected our views, policies and understanding.  There are several wonderful books, such as “Waking Up White” by Debby Irving, “Dear White America” by Tim Wise, and the YWCA’s incredible program, Witnessing Whiteness, that would be excellent resources for those desiring to discover what it means to be white and privileged.

Tom Schweizer, Chesterfield


 NCJW stands with Planned Parenthood

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The National Council of Women, St. Louis Section mourns with the families and loved ones of the two civilians and one police officer that were murdered at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood recently.

One thing to remember is that today, in Colorado and across the country, Planned Parenthood’s doors are open. They’re still providing the compassionate health care that millions rely on each year, and they won’t stop. This is an organization people have trusted and relied on for generations.

We’ve seen an alarming increase in hateful rhetoric and smear campaigns against abortion providers and patients over the last few months, and that environment breeds acts of violence. This is unacceptable — it is time to stop villainizing women’s health care. At the end of the day we’re talking about basic health care — lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control, STI testing and treatment, and abortion. Whether it’s these underhanded laws — like we’ve seen in Ohio and Texas — meant to target women’s basic services, or extreme activists literally trying to intimidate women out of getting health care, this kind of attitude is despicable, and it is dangerous.

As one of their coalition partners, we know all too well what the staff, patients, and volunteers at the Planned Parenthood of St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri have to deal with on a regular basis. They are constantly harassed and threatened by those claiming to be pro-life, and are subjected to deceptive practices by organizations, such as the so-called Crisis Pregnancy Centers, who wish to strip women of their right to choose.

As Jewish women, we stand by the right of every woman to make her own moral or faith-informed decision about abortion, in consultation with those she trusts, and we are proud to stand with Planned Parenthood.

Jennifer Bernstein, National Council for Jewish Women-St. Louis, State Policy Advocacy Chair