The Interfaith Leadership Alliance of the Santa Fe area is united in the urgency of our plea to Congress to help the people of this country as soon as possible.

People are hurting. So many have lost jobs or had hours cut back. So many are finding it difficult to feed their families. So many health care workers are overworked and stressed because of this pandemic. And so many of us have lost friends or family members to this unchecked disease.

But it will get even worse, if Congress does not take action immediately on COVID-19 relief to get help and support to those who need it. The moratorium on evictions will run out, and people will be forced out onto the street, in the midst of winter. Student loans will be called in, unemployment insurance will disappear, and yet more people will face food and housing insecurity. The economic effects will cascade, leaving untold millions in misery.

We — such a wealthy country — cannot let this happen.

People on the edge (and local governments and hospitals stretched thin) can’t wait until Congress reconvenes under a new president. Congress must act now, before more pain is unnecessarily inflicted on our nation.

The Rev. H. Blaine Wimberly

co-president, Interfaith Leadership

Alliance of Santa Fe

Improving health care

Thank your for your editorial (“Crisis moment is here for hospitals,” Our View, Dec. 9) about the need to improve our health care systems in New Mexico. Fortunately, a plan has been developed over many years of study to provide insurance for New Mexico residents and establish a stable funding base for our hospitals. It’s called the Health Security for New Mexicans plan. If our Legislature approves going forward with it in January, we could be in much better shape for the coming years. The pandemic has made it clear that everyone needs to have health insurance, that we need more doctors and nurses, and that our hospitals need more financial support. Doctors will be more likely to practice in New Mexico if they do not have to deal with the many different insurance plans that specify different procedures, labs and medications. The plan would also save the state money. Please urge our legislators to pass the Health Security Act.

Dr. Mary Ray Cate

Santa Fe

Two Americas

In October, the Interfaith Community Shelter received a $231,500 commitment of CARES Act funds from Santa Fe County and the city of Santa Fe, money dedicated to assisting individuals who have been struggling due to the pandemic. To date, some of the money has paid for motel stays for our older and/or medically fragile guests. The balance has gone to preventing homelessness in our community by helping individuals and families who are struggling to pay rent and utility bills. I never imagined the incredible need we would witness when we started using these funds. The first apartment complex we called had 60 units; 30 of them were in arrears. As our case managers called more property owners, it became apparent how devastating the pandemic has been to hardworking people in our community.

I am accustomed to witnessing poverty, daily, among our shelter guests. However, it has been incredibly difficult to watch person after person enter the doors of a homeless shelter, a place they never imagined being, to ask for assistance. Out of survival, they are summoning the courage to seek help, trying to salvage their lives from the ruins of COVID-19. With the stock market topping 30,000, it is more apparent than ever that we still live in two Americas. I can only hope somewhere in our future, when all of this is behind us, the richest country in the world will find a way for a more equitable distribution of its wealth. If our democracy is going to evolve intact, I think it will be a necessity, not an option.

Joe Jordan-Berenis

Interfaith Community Shelter

Let it stop

Just turned on the morning news and caught the tale end of a news story claiming Kamala Harris wasn’t born in the U.S. The negativity doesn’t stop; they are trying to delay the Electoral College vote while the president creates chaos with every word that is spit out of his mouth. I try not to watch the news, but like any addiction, my television goes on at 5 a.m., then I read the New York Times. I thought once the elections ended, I could roll the television away and have peaceful mornings, perhaps read a book. What a concept.

Lorey Sebastian

Truchas

Something special

I was saddened to learn of the death of Dick McCord, co-founder and editor of the Santa Fe Reporter, earlier this year.

In 1978, a few months after moving to Santa Fe, I made an appointment to see McCord to discuss writing a column for his paper. At that time, in the first home of the Reporter, one had to step over numerous cables on the basement floor in a crowded room to reach his office. Since I was going to propose to him that I write a humor column, it would have been appropriate if I had displayed my usual clumsy self by tripping and falling. Instead, I made it safely to his office, suggested the column, and accepted his request for six 500-word samples. He, in turn, after reading them, accepted them and “Generally Sherman” began to appear in the paper. It ran for six years. In today’s world, it’s hard to believe these were written on a typewriter and hand-delivered by deadline, to be typeset and pasted up. Both staffers and freelancers knew there was something special about the Reporter. We gathered as a group at the annual Christmas party held in the spring. Too busy at the holidays!

I last saw Dick five years ago in Santa Fe. I told him a story that I’d never shared: One night, I had just gone to bed, very tired — kids asleep, papers graded for my students, etc. — when I suddenly realized, after writing the column every Wednesday evening for years, that I had forgotten to do so. I was in shock. But, of course, I got up, got the usual stiff glass of ice-cold water, and wrote 500 words, which I dropped off early the next morning, as always. It never occurred to me that there were options. You had a deadline. You made it.

It would never have occurred to Dick, either.

John Sherman

Indianapolis

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