[Re: News Feature, “ ‘It’s Been a Long, Long Road,’ ” Aug. 7-13] I greatly appreciated that the Alibi took the time to write an article outlining the importance of this bill. I wanted to add that this mental health parity bill, and its progress, is also followed closely by those of us in the suicide prevention community.
Eight years ago, I lost a friend to suicide. I was shocked and astounded when I discovered that in New Mexico we consistently rank in the top five states for the highest suicide rates, which is 1.5 to two times the national average. Or, that in the United States suicide is also the 11th leading cause of death, about one death every 16 minutes. The National Institute of Mental Health says mental health illness and/or depression risk factors are present in approximately 90 percent of suicides.
It never ceases to amaze me that mental health and suicide affect so many people, but get so little support and attention, especially in Congress. Here in N.M., we are lucky to have organizations such as the New Mexico Suicide Prevention Coalition, The Office of School and Adolescent Health, New Mexico Suicide Intervention Project, Agora Crisis Center and suicide survivor groups throughout the state, all fighting to save lives and stop the stigma. The MHP bill is so important, and New Mexico desperately needs it.
Thank you, Alibi, for bringing this important piece of legislation to your readers’ attention. And don’t forget: Suicide Prevention Week is Sept. 7 through 13!
It's Not the Game, It's the Gold
I admire the skill and endurance of all Olympic athletes, but I regret that some of our people were made to parrot, for NBC, the slogan, "It's not the triumph, it's the struggle." Nonsense. The chauvinism of the medal counts belies this sentiment. A more honest (if cynical) slogan would be "It's not the game, it's the gold." Or, in some cases, "It's not the honor, it's the money!" Just try chanting, "We're Number Four!"
Back to New Orleans, Again
As a New Orleans native living in Albuquerque since 2004, I was pleased to see your recent cover, “Back to New Orleans” [Re: Aug. 7–13], although my disappointment began with the unrecognizable skyline laid out under Louis Armstrong. Where are the Superdome and the GNO Bridge?
However, I commend the enthusiasm of Jessica Cassyle Carr’s feature, “Tales from Crescent City,” and I appreciate her choice of The Golden Lantern as a setting, a place that even half-empty on a Sunday night is as relevant—is as New Orleans—as Napoleon Avenue on the night of Lundi Gras.
I was most disappointed with “Won’t Back Down: New Orleans restaurants that stood their ground.” This article meant to persuade Alibi readers to visit New Orleans to dine; it also meant to tell stories about some of the restaurants that survived Katrina. And rather than informing this reader, the scant piece only raised more questions.
First, why does this article about New Orleans restaurants only name Burger King and Popeyes? The legend of the photograph does name The Court of Two Sisters, and the inset lists five other restaurants, but other returning institutions and new ventures are struggling. Which “historic dining rooms were lost”? Which historic dining rooms—Feelings Cafe, for example—have re-opened but are now struggling? The “arrival of taco trucks” is “an interesting development,” but why not name or locate one truck worth a visit? And why not include one profile of a restaurant worker, some proof of their “memories and sentiments”?
New Orleanians “stake their livelihoods on” more than “Fat Tuesday partiers.” Mardi Gras happens once a year. New Orleanians stake their living on hungry visitors streaming through all year—for Jazz Fest, July 4th, French Quarter Fest, Southern Decadence, a Southern Baptist conference, Halloween, Thanksgiving or any old Sunday night in the Quarter.
If the Alibi wishes to support New Orleans by promoting its restaurants, appeal to the temptations of your readers. Tell us about some restaurants. Tell us about some people working in these restaurants. Tell us about the food that these people are cooking and serving.
I would like to help the Alibi to support New Orleans. Send me to New Orleans so that I may write and deliver the article that you meant to publish about her wonderful but damaged restaurants.
Multicultural and Social Reconstructionist Education
Props to Jerry Ortiz y Pino for acknowledging the role of mentorship in positive youth development [Ortiz y Pino, “Working Classroom,” Aug. 7-13]. I'd like to make it clear, however, that Ms. Elsasser's role in the lives of the youth in our community is not one of mentorship, in fact, it's a role that might benefit from some critical analysis.
In her book, Drama and Diversity: A Pluralistic Perspective for Educational Drama UT Austin professor Sharon Grady reminds us that "within the desire to 'help' those most oppressed by our current sociopolitical climate, there is still the troubling question of how to avoid reinforcing oppressive relationships.” Postcolonial critic Gyatri Spivak (1990) has questioned a ‘certain sort of benevolence towards others” by those who presume that their understanding of the world will “liberate” those they deem less fortunate (19). How do we make sure our own “ethic of help” is not merely another “colonizing” stance that disregards the wishes, desires and needs of young people and the communities they represent in favor of our own agendas and desires to either “protect,” “empower” or “normalize” them?
Elsasser, a white Miami native (and recipient of much criticism for her organization's move into the Barelas neighborhood), might benefit from such self-reflection regarding her own position of privilege as she implements her programming with young people of the Albuquerque community.
CORRECTION: In last week's Alibi Picks, the photo was incorrectly identified. The photo was from the Aux Dog Theatre's production of Vaudevilles, which runs every Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. through Aug. 30. Also, the director's name was misspelled. Blake Catherwood directs this staged reading. We regret the errors.
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