Letters: June 2017

Airmail
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Gentrification

Re: “A Space for Us

I really appreciated Ann Jaeger’s piece on the need for cheap and accessible creative spaces downtown, and I agree with the article’s arguments. The imagery felt incongruous, though. In an article warning against the dangers of gentrification, the pictures depicted people sipping wine and looking at conceptual art in a white-walled gallery. The writer describes Evans Contemporary as “a sleek and chic gallery with NYC flare.” For many, this will probably sound like the very definition of gentrification.

It’s true that gentrification is generally bad news in the end for working artists, and that the arts can be a site of resistance against the kind of short-sighted city planning Jaeger rightly criticizes in her piece. But, on the other hand, artists often play a role in the early stages of gentrification.

I don’t know whether Evans Contemporary is an agent of gentrification or not. Judging from Jaeger’s article, it sounds like it’s not. But artists in Peterborough need to be aware of their potential role in this process, and ask, how do we, as an arts community, resist this kind of development, rather than unwittingly encourage it?

Will Pearson

 

Trying to Say it Right

Re: “The Island

In an article full of great research and the perspectives of knowledgeable community members, I couldn’t help but be surprised at the use of the terms “consigned to a wheelchair” and “afflicted with” to describe the persons being interviewed. The language of affliction implies low quality of life caused by a disability, rather than by the structures that limit access for folks who have them (like our city’s crumbling sidewalks). Similarly, a wheelchair is a mobility device, and folks use them to get around. Words like “consigned” and confined” make wheelchair use seem inferior to able-bodied mobility. We aren’t consigned to our cars when we drive around.

I want to thank you for writing the article, because I had no idea that the KPP site posed such significant accessibility issues for its residents.

I’m trying to figure out how to use better language all the time. And I mess up. All the time. Hopefully, with articles like these and a community of collaborators, we’ll make the city a better place to live for everybody.

Shan Culkeen

 

A Failing Mental Health System

The John Lai murder saga is just another sad example of our mental health system. The failing of the police to get him admitted to D Wing at PRHC is another pathetic example of not dealing with people who are sick, how many times had the police dealt with him previously.

I deal with people who have serious issues on a daily basis, I have fought to have people admitted for mental health struggles and believe me it is a fight, I have attended appointments with friends with their psychologists and i come away depressed.

I agree that this man committed a horrible act and hope he gets the help he needs but to me the real crime is the failing of a mental health system that is broken. More training for police officers in dealing with mental health must be made mandatory and the use of crisis workers should be expanded but should not be awarded to the CMHA but people that actually aren’t afraid of dealing with the mentally ill.

Dan Hennessey

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