Part of the Problem

Cathleen Kaveny’s column “Sick Minds” (March 11) about her sister’s work with the homeless and her thoughts on the Tucson tragedy reminded me of another part of the problem that I have not seen addressed. It has to do with us, the professionals.

When did we start living far away from the people we help? When did we stop eating meals together, going to church together, and caring for our children and communities together? When did we stop sharing a common life and instead start offering diagnosis and treatment?

We professionals are part of the problem. 

Jane Addams, who in the 1800s lived in Chicago with the people she wanted to help, knew that shared humanity had to be the foundation for any social change. She wrote: “That Christianity has to be revealed and embodied in the line of social progress is a corollary to the simple proposition that man’s action is found in his social relationships.”

Healing relationships must be, first and foremost, social relationships. Without that, our professional skills and knowledge are one more bullet in the gun.

(Rev.) Alison Brody Alpert, MSW
New York, N.Y.


Name Names

After reading near-daily reports of abusive Catholic bishops and priests, I was glad to learn from your March 11 editorial, “State of the Unions,” that “Wisconsin’s Catholic bishops and other religious leaders have voiced their opposition to [Governor Scott] Walker’s proposal and their support for the unions and the rights of workers to collective bargaining.” Who are they, and what have they said? Family and friends are asking: Are there any more labor priests or bishops? Tell us. For so many reasons, we need to know.

Suellen Hoy & Walter Nugent
Highland Park, Ill.


Strategic Retreat

Teachers in Ontario got the right to strike in only the past twenty-five years. Before that, our union strategy was for every teacher to resign at once when a work stoppage was called for—and then negotiations took place with every school closed. Of course, one of the essential stipulations for the resulting collective agreement was that every teacher who had resigned would be reinstated without penalty. Could it work in Wisconsin?

Noel Cooper
Brechin, Ont.

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Published in the 2011-04-08 issue: View Contents
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