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Letters: Mistreated groups should unite in protests

Lawyers, legal workers, law students and other member of the legal community protest the policies of President Donald Trump during a demonstration in Federal Building Plaza on Feb. 17, 2017 in Chicago, Similar demonstrations were held by the legal communities in several cities nationwide. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)


To gain support for their grievances, young black protesters, especially Black Lives Matter participants, take to the streets here and elsewhere. Newspaper photos show scattered non-black faces marching in sympathy, bolstering the impact.

Feb. 17 newspaper front pages showed curb-to-curb crowds protesting Trump’s war on immigrants. But curiously, not a black face is visible among the apparent thousands flooding Loop streets.

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This was a grievous tactical error. Reciprocity among mistreated groups is fundamental to achieving social change. No matter how valid their grievances, how can African-Americans expect sympathy for their causes if they don’t support demonstrations against maltreatment of other groups?

More can be gained via cross-cultural collaboration — in this case simply showing up — than via isolated efforts. The 1960s Civil Rights Crusade gained momentum in part because of white sympathizers, some of whom were killed for it. Unity maximizes the impact of each show of resistance to oppression.

The photo evidence here suggests that leaders on both sides are failing to find ways to work together, to their mutual disadvantage. Outreach and collaboration could strengthen the efforts of all disadvantaged groups.

Ted Z. Manuel, Hyde Park

Successful program

As a policy aide in Cook County, I’ve spent my career speaking up for people who need advocates, including families in poverty and Illinois children. Here, I’d like to bring attention to an issue that is vital to thousands of senior citizens across Illinois: Medicare Advantage.

This highly successful program is part of Medicare and gives beneficiaries a full-service health plan. For seniors in my district who rely on Medicare Advantage, it can be a literal life-saver. The plans focus on preventative care, so seniors get immunizations and screenings for cancer, heart disease and more. They also get expert help managing chronic conditions, so symptoms don’t worsen; and, when they have a crisis, they get care to put them on the mend. All of this comes at an affordable cost—often no monthly premium and a few dollars’ co-pay for each service—making this program critically important for low-income seniors. They can protect their health without jeopardizing their finances.

Anyone who cares for a senior in their family should support Medicare Advantage. Our communities are made stronger by the life experience, volunteerism and other contributions senior citizens provide. The Congressional leaders serving the Chicagoland community should continue their support of Medicare Advantage as this program keeps our valued seniors healthy, financially secure, and able to live life on their terms. Congressman Bobby Rush has been a strong supporter of this issue and I hope his colleagues in Congress continue to support this program and keep rates affordable for our seniors in the year ahead.

Justin Slaughter, state representative,
27th District

Simple solution

As Phil Kadner notes in his Feb. 15 column about the Republicans’ threat to repeal Obamacare, for health insurance companies, “It’s all about profit.” Their stocks have recently posted the highest gains of any sector of the S&P 500, and their CEOs receive millions in compensation.

Meanwhile, in 2016, some 27 million Americans remained uninsured; 63 million adults went without needed health care because of cost; 70 million adults had difficulty paying medical bills; and 46 million adults were paying off medical debt.

Health insurance companies add zero value to health care, while the administrative complexity they create generates at least $500 billion per year of waste, enough to provide high quality care for all of us..

There’s a simple solution: Get the insurance companies out of health care by passing and implementing national improved Medicare for all. Its time has come.

Anne Scheetz, Logan Square

Shifting the blame

Regarding your lead story on Feb. 17: Are you really falling for the “shift the blame” strategy of Gov. Bruce Rauner?

The fact is that Illinois has always had a budget until Gov. Rauner decided to hold it hostage to achieve his extreme, right-wing political agenda.

Would you say the same things when Lou Lang is Speaker?

David Berkey, Elgin

Bad idea

Why did the aldermen on the Transportation Committee think it was a good idea to honor, with a street sign, a man who has spent nearly 35 years in prison? Isn’t this the man convicted for his leadership role in the FALN terrorist group, which was responsible for dozens of bombings across our country (including Chicago) in the 1970s? Joseph Connor — who was 9 when his father was killed in a bombing by the terrorists — posed a further question: “What’s next for Chicago, Bin Laden Boulevard?”

Christine Craven, Evergreen Park

Good column

Kudos to Neil Steinberg on his column in Chicago Sun-Times: “Telling the Truth is now a political act.” We have never heard of “alternative facts” until now from the Trump administration. Steinberg makes some good points regarding what is perceived as “truth.” If truth be told, in this era of vindictiveness, there could be consequences. Will there be those who will risk it?

Ann Gutierrez, Tinley Park