Here is my visceral response to Lizz Huerta’s “Get off my altar” article from the Nov. 2 issue of CityBeat. I am a true gringo married to a full-blooded Mexicana. I was never comfortable with a culture that taught me to fear death, to be afraid of the dark and, most recently, that my neighbors are suspect. I had an epiphany when introduced to the Dia de los Muertos tradition of sharing a meal with the deceased at the graveyard.

    Eating a tranquil lunch, with the woman I love, among the anonymous graves of ancestral Americans, I was at peace. Nov. 2, 2016, was the two-year anniversary of my mother’s passing.

    An all-American child of a mixed marriage that ended in divorce, I grew up one of six children in a single-mother household. My mother happened to be a baseball fanatic—a lifelong, diehard Mets fan. Every October we watched the World Series, regardless of what teams were competing.

    Nov. 2 of this year also happened to be Game 7 of an epic World Series. As I sat eating pizza watching the Cubs and Indians in a back-and-forth affair, I had this comforting feeling that my mother was there with me sharing in the intensity of a highly competitive World Series. During the game, when my wife got home from work, I told her of this mystical experience I was having. She kissed me on the forehead and went into the bedroom, leaving us alone to watch history together one more time.

    There was no altar, no orange marigolds and no candles. There was no face painting, either. There was food, the picture of my mother hanging on the wall and on the TV there was the World Series. I won’t apologize for my co-opting of Dia de los Muertos tradition, my mother would have wanted it that way.

    Gerald Vanderpot, North Park


    Umm, I guess it doesn’t matter what a good a white person does in their life, they just aren’t allowed to enjoy a cultural festival [“Get of my altar,” Nov. 2]?

    It seems trendy to single out whites lately. This kind of drivel is about as insensitive as letting David Duke be next week’s guest contributor. I enjoyed Day of the Dead quite a bit in Old Town and didn’t see any “No Whites” signs posted. People of all races seemed to be having a great time! I’m saddened that Lizz Huerta thinks others don’t have the right to participate.

    John Burgess, Old Town


    Alex Zaragoza, you are sassy and smart. How about a little feminine class before you find yourself becoming a Trumpette?

    Your article [“Sluts and nasty women, and proud,” Nov. 2] started me wondering why there are so many female “victims” in America. What happened to the powerful feminine mystique? Why are we giving our power away? Why are we allowing it to be taken from us and failing to reclaim it? We have to start taking responsibility. We have choices.

    Yes, Trump is toxic. Among other things, he’s a racist, a sociopath and a misogynist. We know this. Why are we giving him so much attention and power?

    We draw toward us what we are. When we act like queens and goddesses then kings and gods show up.

    When we glorify sluts and nasty women, join SlutWalks, spew four-letter words and demean our sexuality, what does that do for our dignity?

    Can we really expect quality men to respect, admire and want us.

    Michelle Obama, America’s most beautiful goddess, says it best: “When they go low, we go high.” That’s class. That’s ultimate girl power and freedom.

    Anna Bowen-Davies, University Heights


    Kudos to Aaryn Belfer for highlighting the painful contrast between the great respect accorded to Chelsea King’s memorials and the phalanx of police in riot gear sent to destroy the small memorial to Alfred Olango [“Police had no reason to dismantle Olango memorial,” Oct. 12].

    I would also like to point to the video of the immediate aftermath of Olango’s shooting. His sister is standing wailing, devastated by what no sister should ever have to witness, many police cars pull up and officers pile out, and nobody, for what seems like an eternity, ever goes over to Olango’s sister, says a kind word or asks if there is something they can do. She stands alone in her horrific grief and shock, until finally an officer comes to briskly tell her she must leave because they are putting up caution tape.

    Would this have happened in that way if there were—unlikely though that is—a similar event with white people in La Jolla? The treatment of Olango’s sister as if she were a piece of furniture seemed evidence of how her brother could be so summarily shot.

    I am not pointing at the individual officers as much as to a system that gives them no guidance, and to systemic racism in our community that as white people we all bear responsibility for.

    Cynthia Rich, San Diego


    In [“Police had no reason to dismantle Olango memorial,” Oct. 12], Aaryn Belfer compares protests against the police shooting in El Cajon with memorials for Chelsea King. This is an insult to the memory of King and the movement inspired by her murder.

    Olango had prior brushes with the law. His sister called the police for help. He took a shooting stance against the cops. They did what they are trained to do in that situation. To act like this is the same as other police shootings is naive. I’m also guessing Belfer is against all those other shootings simply based on the color of the officer, and the person shot (which in a sense, makes her the one doing the racial profiling). It’s like that situation where people were protesting, only to find out later the cop who did the shooting was himself black.

    Belfer describes the police protesters as mourners holding vigil while every other news organization in San Diego calls them protesters. But calling them protesters doesn’t support Belfer’s narrative. As we’ve seen from other such gatherings, these situations escalate into looting, fires and shootings. How is this conducive to anything productive? Perhaps law enforcement in El Cajon didn’t want it to escalate, so they shut things down quickly. If the friends/family want to mourn, they can go to the graveyard, Balboa Park or anywhere other than where businesses are trying to stay open and make money (on the radio, they mentioned how all of them had to close one day).

    Belfer sees this as an issue of black and white and wants to bend the story to fit her skewed viewpoint. She wants to start a movement. She writes of the words of King’s family: “Those words. They are the words of a movement and make me feel some kind of way.” What does that even mean? It makes about as much sense as her column.

    Catherine Wilson, Escondido


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