What the school board needs
District 2 needs a replacement member on the Board of Education who will commit to ensuring ALL students have access to high-quality education with a particular focus on a strategy for young men of color who are disproportionately over epresented in suspensions and academic challenges.
We need a dedicated public servant, not a political pawn of a political action committee.
Mr. Diaminah should have also refunded the $800 per month for the meetings he did not attend. People should not be compensated for work not performed.
DeWarren K. Langley
A sad reaction
I am not a resident of Durham, so this has no bearing on me and acknowledge it’s probably none of my business. That said, and speaking as one of Latino descent, I have to say that my heart dropped when reading the crowd’s reaction to Mr. Diaminah’s suggestion. It’s as if his hope to the board, to consider a Latino, would be an affront to the community at whole.
I don’t claim to know the district and the dynamics but, from the outside looking in, this was a sad reaction especially at a time when people of all colors, Spanish-speaking or otherwise, need to be as one.
Can’t find a parking spot?
It’s tough to park in downtown Durham right now – we know.
Decks are full of monthly pass holders or spaces reserved for valet services at local hotels. On-street spaces have time limits, after which ticketing and fines are incurred. Surface lots with available spots are about as rare as a Honus Wagner baseball card.
Add in streets blocked by construction and maintenance and there’s a strong argument for taking alternative transportation into the whirlwind of activity that downtown Durham has become. (Hint, hint … heard of the Bull City Connector?) Ah, success. Who envisioned this 20 years ago?
The parking challenge is one being actively considered by the city of Durham, which is looking at a variety of options to create additional capacity and make it easier to get into the heart of Durham’s vibrant core. But these solutions will take time.
Many of you have asked how we are faring in the heart of the city center without a parking lot dedicated to visitors. You may be surprised to learn we’ve had very few parking complaints by visitors coming into the Visitor Info Center. We’re fortunate that there are quite a few spaces surrounding the building on Main, Market and Parrish streets. And, because of the time limits on these spaces, they turn over frequently, meaning if you drive around the block (other than at key times like lunch time) you can usually snag a space.
Not surprising, we’re interested in the parking issue because it’s important to visitors. What we believe to be true from studies in other cities is that the critical piece for them is to have “available” parking. Notice I did not say free parking. They just need to know it’s there and be able to find it.
That’s what most customer-facing businesses want and need in a downtown environment, too. They need spaces for employee parking, too, but if their customers can’t park, they are severely limited.
How about you? We’ll be adding some questions about parking in our annual image survey, but I’d like to know your thoughts, too, in this informal, non-scientific poll. When you “visit” an urban or downtown area what is important to you in terms of parking? Take the two-minute survey here: http://bit.ly/2bmpp0S
President and CEO
Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau
Laws don’t prevent abortions
How is it pro woman or pro-life when abortion is illegal? We had that experience in the USA during the 1960s. Countless young women, many of whom left behind husbands and young children, died of illegal abortions.
Laws against abortion do not prevent abortion any more than speed limits prevent speeding; they result in unsafe illegal abortions.
Those most likely to seek an illegal abortion are those most likely to perceive the benefit as outweighing the risk; disproportionately, that is bright, talented young women.
Women are unwilling to give up our right to self-determination, as we have demonstrated in the past. Preaching abstention has no impact beyond making the person preaching feel better. It is like telling someone who is hungry not to eat. Particularly in the South, we have trouble accepting that it is completely natural for women to have a healthy sex drive.
Regarding social justice, illegal abortions are safe for those wealthy enough to travel to safe abortion provider locations, and unsafe for those who are too poor to afford such a trip.
Parental consent laws, which require minors to get a parent to agree that the minor can have an abortion, have resulted in illegal abortions and deaths of some US teen girls.
At twelve, I saw a photograph of a naked young woman crouched in the position she died in (from an illegal abortion). Often families do not understand this issue until it is much too late. After they lose a mother or sister or daughter to a botched illegal abortion, they understand. That understanding, unfortunately, never brings anyone back.
Abortion and mental health
I am writing in response to Bridget Mora’s letter (DN, Aug. 21) in which she comments on Manju Rajendran’s column (“For full, safe access to abortion without shame,” DN, Aug 14). Ms. Mora’s statement that “abortion harms mothers, babies and our society” is simply unfounded.
Her claims about health effects in post-abortive women are based on what is methodologically poor, inconclusive research. The findings are quoted selectively and are interpreted with no regard for scientific rigor. Even C. Everett Koop, (U.S. Surgeon General from 1982-89, a devout Christian and personally against abortion), stated “scientific studies do not provide conclusive data about the health effects of abortion on women.” Koop further explained that anecdotes don’t make good science and that the “public health impact of abortion was minuscule.”
An important systematic review conducted at Johns Hopkins in 2008 concluded “the best quality studies indicate no significant differences in long-term mental health between women in the United States who choose to terminate a pregnancy and those who do not. In the U.K., a systematic review of abortion effects on women’s mental health found that abortion did not increase mental health risks; that an unwanted pregnancy was associated with a greater risk of mental-health problems, but the risk was equivalent whether women had an abortion or gave birth (Royal College of Psychiatrists, 2011).
Good science tells us that abortion is not associated with negative mental or physical health. Unsafe, illegal abortion most definitely is a serious risk to women’s health.
Ms. Mora also states “abortion disproportionally targets minority and female babies, as well as those who may have a disability.” Abortion does not “target” anyone – it is a procedure, it does not have agency. There is no evidence that sex-selection abortion occurs regularly in this country. Many women choose to carry a pregnancy to term after they learn of the possibility of birth defects, but who are we to judge those who decide not to? They know their situations better than we do. If we want to support their decision to carry such a pregnancy to term, it would be more useful to advocate for paid sick/family leave; universal access to health care; affordable, quality child care, and fully funded, quality public education.
As for the discrepancy of abortion rates between women of color and white women, this discrepancy reflects the broader inequities that people of color face in their daily lives. Structural determinants such as economic disparity, racism, lack of opportunities, differing social and historical contexts correlate with abortion rates. Providing all women with the support they need to make choices for what is best for them or their family’s well being, no matter their situation, would be a better approach to health for all. I suggest we struggle for a world in which every child lives without hunger, insecurity, lack of justice and opportunity but is cherished and loved.
Mary Dooley, RN, MPH
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