Back Talk: Inspired by Erykah, Disgusted by Gerena


I am truly inspired by Erykah’s courage (“In Her Own Words: Incarcerated in a Greenfield men’s correctional facility, Erykah Carter documents her transition”). Even as painstaking as it must of been. The feelings of being scared, or accepted by not just your family and friends, but society in general can be terrifying , people can be cruel. Most people claim to be “non-judgmental, ” but the truth is people are always silently judging on the sidelines causing insecurities in those who have found the courage to free themselves from a prison inside themselves and with all the struggles Erykah is about to endure … Those people who have nothing nice to say should not say anything and live and let live. No one is perfect we are all flawed and unfortunately some of us have a battle within that society tells us isn’t “normal ” and we shouldn’t act on these feelings that could potentially make us feel whole. Keep your head up Ms. Carter and never stop being who you truly are! You’ve moved my heart and I am — not that my opinion matters — 100 percent supportive of your decision to finally be who you know you have always been.

— Ericka Hyson

Turners Falls

Great Theater

Saw Two Rooms at Chester many years ago, and Time Stands Still at Oldcastle last summer. Both excellent plays. I am glad Valley audiences have a chance to see them again (“Stagestruck: Waiting for Life to Resume”) in such fine productions.

— Gail M. Burns


Warnings About Springfield School Were There All Along

I was one of the members of the original North End Citizens’ Council in Springfield, and amongst the members was Henry DeSellier. And if we had all heeded DeSellier back then, the German Gerena Community School wouldn’t be where it is today (Between the Lines: Are Students in Springfield Risking Their Health for an Education?, May, 2016).

The city brought plans for the (new) North elementary community school, which included a community center and library and a subterranean concourse running under I-91 and under North-South Railroads’ main line. This concourse was designed as a passageway for people to travel between Main Street and the North End and the Brightwood neighborhood. And all this is just 1,800 feet from the Connecticut River.

Members of the neighborhood council are not professional engineers or design planners; they relied on city officialhs. When we were told an underground pump would run 24/7, probably with back-up generators, it seemed like things would be fine.

But DeSellier kept pointing out how much of the building would be below the water table and that keeping it dry would be an incredible challenge. Everyone laughed at DeSellier’s concerns and scoffed at the caution. Because they wanted the school/library/community center built.

When a water main burst at Birnie Avenue and Arch Street and flooded the school, it was obvious the damage could have been avoided if the building was built above the obstacles and not deep in the ground.

The disasters at Gerena are a wake up call for everyone to push back the curtain and look through the smoke and mirrors of what city and building officials — read, business owners — want to build in your neighborhood.

— Peter DeLuce


From Our Readers

Author: From Our Readers

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