Letters to the Editor, Sept. 9: Some people give by going; some people go by giving

Some people give by going; some people go by giving

To the Editor,

Most of us have been watching heart-wrenching images of Texans and residents of Louisiana struggling to survive the catastrophic event: Hurricane Harvey. Thousands are without homes, jobs, cars, possessions, hope, and cling to their lives.

As a former catastrophic event worker for the American Red Cross Disaster Services, I was acutely aware that when our hands reached out to give food, blankets and shelter, it was only because of the generosity of our fellow Americans.

I love the line: “Some people give by going; some go by giving.” The relief workers who hand out food do so because their invisible partner, the American public, has placed that food in their hands when they open their wallets and send in their dollars.

We are one team and are a reflection of the goodwill and reverence that human beings have for one another.

Please continue to participate in “lifting” your fellow Americans no matter which side of the team you are on. 1-800-RED-CROSS will accept our donations.

Toni Breese



Undocumented students, workers deserve better

To the Editor,

President Trump’s decision to throw the DACA ball into Congress’ court on Tuesday would not have affected me much either way had it happened before June of 2010. After all, how much empathy can be mustered by a retired aerospace engineer living in the Santa Cruz mountains, especially one with a Libertarian bent and no personal interaction with young people facing life-changing immigration issues. But that changed just before Pacific Coast Charter School’s Commencement exercises in 2010.

The article in the Santa Cruz Sentinel was written by a young intern named Sarah Rolen, and described a remarkable 17-year-old named Maria Rodriguez who was about to graduate as the valedictorian at PCCS. Her circumstances were what made her story so compelling. She had lost her father several years earlier, and in order to help out with the family’s finances, she worked in the strawberry fields alongside her mother in the mornings before she attended class. She was also finishing high school a year earlier than her classmates because of the large workload she took on, and graduated with a 4.04 GPA. She excelled because she cared more, and worked harder than anyone else. She did everything right, and was heading down the proverbial path of the American Dream with confidence. She only did one thing wrong … she was born in the wrong place. Because her mother brought her to the U.S. when she was young, she was undocumented and protected only by the DACA program.

My wife Cheryl and I were both moved by Maria’s story to the point where we decided to start a small scholarship program for future Marias and other deserving graduates. It was named the Maria Rodriguez Scholarship and is awarded every year at PCCS to high achieving students, regardless of nationality, immigration status, gender, etc. The only requirements are financial need, superlative scholastic achievement, and a strong work ethic.  To date, the scholarship has been awarded to 12 students between 2010 and 2017.

Needless to say, our experiences with Maria and the scholarship that bears her name have altered my views regarding young undocumented students and workers, and empathy is much easier to come by now. So in that light, we now have the absurd and ironic situation in which the person who inspired us so much faces the real possibility of deportation to Mexico. Maria and others like her deserve better. Regardless of your politics, how could you think otherwise?

Bill Luehmann

Boulder Creek

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