Congratulations on the editorial (“Tending to trees makes sense for humans,” Our View, April 28) and your support for Arbor Day. On Oct. 30, 1854, the day of their marriage, my great-great-grandfather J. Sterling Morton and his new wife, Caroline, left Michigan for Nebraska. Although only 22, he was to begin a new life as a family man, political activist, four-time unsuccessful candidate for governor, newspaper owner, farmer, secretary of agriculture under President Grover Cleveland and, most important, founder of Arbor Day. That happened Jan. 4, 1872, when he presented an Arbor Day resolution to the Nebraska State Board of Agriculture, proposing that April 10, 1872, “be set apart and consecrated for tree planting in the state of Nebraska” and named Arbor Day. So powerful was his idea that over 1 million trees were planted in Nebraska that first Arbor Day. Now Arbor Day is celebrated in all 50 states as well as 42 other countries.
Congratulations to the TreeSmart Santa Fe initiative, to Facebook for its recent donation of funds for 200 native trees in Los Lunas, and to the state of New Mexico for updating its comprehensive plan for forests and including partners like the Nature Conservancy, pueblos and the New Mexico Forest Industry Association. In this time of climate change and severe drought, every tree counts. We celebrated Arbor Day by planting a new one in our backyard.
“While justice landed Derek Chauvin behind bars for murdering George Floyd, no amount of justice will bring Gianna’s father back. The same way a reasonable police officer would never suffocate an unarmed man to death, a reasonable justice system would recognize its roots in white supremacy and end qualified immunity. Police are here to protect, not lynch. We will not rest until all in our community have the right to breathe.”
This is a quote from Derrick Johnson, national president and CEO of the NAACP. The Santa Fe NAACP Branch endorses this statement and emphasizes the role of the police to protect and to serve. Our state Legislature passed the Civil Rights Act (House Bill 4), which bars all government employees from using “qualified immunity” as a legal defense in state court, creating a new way to challenge government agencies that violate constitutional and civil rights.
In Santa Fe, the police department has begun to enact reforms associated with the use of less lethal options as well as the ending of racial and ethnic profiling. It is a good start, and the Santa Fe NAACP is optimistic about the full implementation of these changes. However, the Santa Fe Branch of the NAACP looks at the conviction of Chauvin as one small step in eliminating racial injustice in the United States. We must continue to demand justice for the countless others who have lost their lives by those who are sworn to “protect and serve.”
Lou Levin, Ph.D., president
Santa Fe Branch, NAACP
100 years strong
On Wednesday, during my husband’s birthday lunch at La Fonda, the whole dining room joined in singing “Happy Birthday” to a woman named Sophie. She was celebrating her 100th birthday with five of her friends. When we were leaving, I went over to her table to personally wish her many more. She thanked me and said, “I’m a World War II Vveteran also.” Wow!
Don’t come home
So members of the poor, oppressed Republican Party of New Mexico have to hold their state convention in Amarillo, Texas — forced out of their home state by a dictatorial Democratic governor who insists on maintaining commonsense precautions to protect New Mexicans from further preventable infections and deaths from COVID-19. Operation Freedom indeed! Now the Republicans can be free to infect themselves and others; spend money on “top-of-the-line steak”; and be among friends who share “conservative values” like ignoring science, lying about elections and blaming massive (and poorly regulated) power outages on errant windmills. The New Mexico GOP and its Texan hosts deserve each other. Maybe Steve Pearce and his minions should just stay there.
To hear people complain about wearing masks as infringing on their liberty makes me ache for others (like the people of Myanmar, as only one example) who really know what it’s like to lose their freedom.