Letters for Nov. 22, 2015
Case a threat to working families
We’ve had enough. For over 30 years, the working class has been under attack by corporations that have now funded a case that is about to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association.
This case could have devastating ramifications for all working families. If these attempts are successful at weakening unions, we risk losing our union-negotiated benefits and protection. Everyone who works for a living should have a say about their future and have the right to negotiate for better wages and benefits. This case is nothing short of wealthy corporations attempting to silence the voice of working families. Across the country and close to home our families have fought and died for our rights. The best way we can get ahead and keep the benefits and protection we continue to fight for, is to stand together with our unions and say “enough already.”
Only when working families unite, will we rebuild the middle class.
Second sculpture never installed
It is my pleasure to share what I know about the Koloa Plantation Sesquicentennial Monument in response to Jeff B. Pignona’s letter in The Garden Island (Nov. 14).
Alas, the second sculpture, which was planned for the space next to the Hawaiian in a malo (male’s loincloth) holding an oo hao (iron tool for digging) and sitting next to his dog, was never installed. Jan Gordon Fisher, Brigham Young University-Hawaii professor and sculptor, had not finished the sculpture of the Caucasian riding a horse when the monument was finally dedicated in July 1986. The dedication was scheduled on July 27, 1985, as part of the formal afternoon program celebrating the 150th anniversary of the founding of Koloa Plantation and Hawaii’s sugar industry. But Jan Fisher needed more time to finish the monument. The space in question has been empty these 30 years.
We are the world
Thank you Bill Peterson and and Leslie Newall for you heartfelt expressions in Friday’s TGI regarding Middle Eastern refugees immigrating to our country. Tears fall down my cheeks as I remember the beautiful people I encountered in Syria while traveling there in 2009. Called the Cradle of Civilization, that area of the world suffered turmoil and unrest over the centuries. In 1939, the country of Syria was created as part of the Middle East blueprint. Sadly, it’s now engulfed in unrelenting brutality and devastation.
I still have images of walking alone down a busy street in Damascus and being greeted by strangers with “Welcome to Syria” in English, then, “Which country?” When I responded “America,” they replied, “Nice country,” or just gave a “thumbs up” sign. I traveled to a Christian village where I visited an ancient Syrian Orthodox Christian church and saw Muslim women carrying sick babies for healing at a saint’s shrine. Peace and respect prevailed between different religions in Syria and it was safe to walk Damascus streets at night without fear.
Now villages, cities and historic monuments have been bombed to the ground, people maimed and killed, and thousands Syrians have fled from their horrific and dangerous homeland in search of a new home. Can we Americans imagine ourselves in a similar situation? Are we able to feel what it’s like to flee our homes with our families, never to return, and then being turned away from our only hope by that country we seek? We are a nation of immigrant families who came from afar to find a safe and promising future. Can we feel enough compassion in this privileged country to open our hearts to these refugees?
My daily mantra is to give thanks and appreciation for the privilege of being alive. As for this majestic Earth, its creatures and people, I send blessings for safety, healing and well-being. Then I pray for peace, open my arms and say, “Welcome to America.”