What is Trump Doing in Holyoke?

As a teacher at Holyoke High School, I applaud your positive news piece about the students at Holyoke High School working to bring about more awareness to stop violence in our school community (“Between the Lines: What Do You Expect From Holyoke?” Feb. 2-8, 2017). However, I am perplexed as to why you would insert two paragraphs about Donald Trump into the article, which insinuates that this student movement was connected to the polarizing political situation of our country right now. This could not be further from the truth. This week of peace had nothing to do with Donald Trump, and many of the staff and students wonder why you would include those two paragraphs into your report. Again, thank you for your attention to our students in Holyoke, but please stick to the story at hand in the future.

— Marie T. Mew,


The American Dream

My grandfather Albert Joseph Bialek came to the United States from Poland in 1910. Per the Ellis Island website he boarded the ship Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse in Bremen, Germany. He had just completed his service in the Austrian Army. Poland at that time was divided into three spheres of influence by Austria, Prussia, and Russia. Upon being discharged he returned to his father’s farm. Officers from the Austrian Army made an attempt to reenlist him but tradition dictated that he could remain at home so long as he was sorely needed on the farm. Immediately after the officers departed Albert’s father gave him his brother’s travel documents and instructed him to immigrate to the United States. His father knew that war was coming and he didn’t want to lose his son to it. It took me longer to locate my grandfather on the passenger list because I had forgotten he was traveling under the name Jan and not Albert. Given the fact that Albert entered the United States under the name Jan Bialek and later burned his immigration papers it is evident he was by definition an “illegal immigrant.” He went on to become a very hard-working brick mason and law-abiding citizen raising 12 children with the help of his Polish wife Mary and the rest is history.

The United States is a country of immigrants. In fact, all the major cities of America, at one time, served as incubators for immigrants to not only become accustomed to the ways of this country, but also to intermingle with each other. It’s a shame that the inner cities were handed over to the absentee landlords following World War ll. Just imagine how much stronger and united our country might have been had this unofficial tradition continued. Gentrification is not the answer. Preventing immigration is not the solution. Intense vetting is acceptable during these challenging times, but to unfairly deny one person access to the United States makes us all orphans again. As a popular song goes: “Let me in, immigration man.”

— Joe Bialek

Cleveland, Ohio

Deport Melania

If Trump is so gung-ho on separating families he should start with his own. Melania came here on a visa that did not permit her to work. She did so anyway and therefore should be deported back to Slovenia for violating the terms of her visa. She can apply again after 10 years when her son Barron is 20 years old. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander! This will keep us safe the way preventing students and faculty at UMass from getting home does. Trump can’t be bothered with research to fill the void where knowledge should be! He just shoots from the hip and waits to see who falls down. That’s his “trial and error” style of learning. How much more damage will he cause on his learning curve?

— Malita Brown,


Correction: “Out in Love: Transwomen find romance in an insane world,” Feb. 9-15, 2017, misspelled the first name of one of the women profiled. Her name is Brianna Harris.