Letters to the editor, February 26, 2015

These are the letters and comments from the print edition

Systemic issues

Loved your article on solitary confinement ("Getting used to isolation," Feature by Jacob Boon, February 5). As a longtime worker with homeless youth, the prison system is the holding dump for all sorts of mental health youth.

I'd love to see The Coast also look at addiction services in this province, and how they are an illusion to solving addiction problems. When youth have to be "clean" before they can even enter detox, or that they are dumped straight back to the streets after 30 days, you can imagine how effective these programs are.

Keep up the good work. —Sherwood Hines, Halifax

Family ties

I am inspired by reading this painful and telling story ("Family secrets," Feature by Annie Margaret Clair, February 19). I'm a white girl with loads of privilege who happened to get a glimpse of the real world when I entered the world of social work. I emerged from the cocoon, a pretty butterfly in an ugly, ugly world. I actually remember the exact moment that I became aware that I was not like everyone else. I remember discovering that I was to blame for the suffering in the world. I first discovered "the little people" in Africa, that far-away country. We sent them money and had their pictures pasted on our fridge, so that every time I grabbed a glass of whatever I wanted, I would think of them. Good old Christian charity.

My first days working in the group home, I was shocked by what I saw. Kids, just years younger than me, abused by a system that perpetrated the very abuse they had been subject to in their homes. These kids, full of life and love and energy and desire, dumped on a doorstep by caring adults who didn't know any better.

I still talk to some of those kids. Brave warriors of life. And I carried their stories into the reservations. I am still sorry that when I tried to make sure that those kids stayed with their parents that it wasn't meant to be. I still sit with their mom on the corner of Dundas Street and Richmond Avenue in Toronto and just say "Fuck a duck" as we both sink into our vices. I am sad and I am sorry and I hope that what I have learned will manifest in the hearts of my children so this history will never be repeated. —posted by Wendy Elephantwhisperer at thecoast.ca

As a long-time reader of The Coast, thank you for publishing this and putting it on the front cover! —posted by Diane Obed

Hugs to your family. —posted by Sharon Contois

Dear Motorist

Yesterday I was walking on the road. I was walking on the road because the sidewalk had been completely covered with snow—in order to clear the road for cars—at the expense of pedestrians. You rolled down your window and yelled "Fuck you, asshole."

I would like to point out the following: You are speeding around in a climate-controlled metal box. I am walking outside in the winter.

Your car is capable of causing injury and death to human beings and causing serious property damage. I am walking outside in the winter.

You are spewing horrible toxins into the air, unfit for human consumption and contributing to global warming. I am walking outside in the winter.

You demand outrageous amounts of space for motorways and parking on the peninsula, all subsidized by my tax dollars. I am walking outside in the winter.

You are causing traffic jams and making an awful noise. I am walking outside in the winter.

Yet I am the asshole? Please explain. —Mark, Halifax


Working While Black's website was printed incorrectly last week ("It's so racist down home," The City by Erica Butler). The proper URL is workingwhileblackns.com. The Coast regrets the error.

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