Letters to the Editor

BY DI READERS | MAY 15, 2014 5:00 AM

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Thank-you for mental-illness coverage

I am writing to thank reporter/photographer team Megan Sanchez and Mariah Green for their sensitive portrayal of my life as an individual living with the mental illness of schizophrenia. Megan actually started her investigation in October 2013 during Mental Illness Awareness Week. She was persistent about further interviews, both in person and in writing. Mariah also spent three or four hours at my apartment, where she caught the great pictures of me and my fur person Millie and further video at the NAMI Walk. They both made me feel like an interesting and likable person, almost a rock star.

I got lots of affirming comments when the story came out a few weeks ago. People who had never met me made an effort to introduce themselves and tell of their journeys of mental-illness recovery. People who did know me didn’t think any less of me for having an illness and most said they admired me more for what I had faced.

There were mixed reactions about the cover photo, which portrayed me without a smile. Some people thought it was stigmatizing to show the face of mental illness as such a sad expression, especially because people who know me well always see a twinkle in my eye. To put the photo in context, however, you need to know that it was taken at the NAMI walk while Haley Lynch was describing the suicide of her fiancé and the father of her child. I listened with empathy and appropriate sadness for her loss. Perhaps it was a resolute, determined look. It was the look of someone who does not believe mental illness should have the last word. As sure as there is serious, persistent mental illness, there is serious, persistent recovery from it.

Thank you again for sharing that message.

One last request—would you help spread the word that through NAMI of Johnson County I hope to co-mentor a 10-week Peer to Peer class taught by and for persons with mental-health challenges either this summer or next fall, as soon as we can get enough participants.  Email me at margalea@msn.com for more details.

Margalea Warner

Vote for Zimmerman

The Johnson County justice system sees people of color arrested for marijuana offenses eight times more frequently than whites, despite numerous surveys having shown that both groups smoke marijuana at the same rates. It has been said before, but it needs to be said again: 8-1 in Johnson County needs to end.

Our police need to stop arresting people of color at hugely disproportionate rates and they need to stop prioritizing nonviolent, victimless, minor drug arrests.

When nonviolent, victimless cases or cases involving racial profiling are brought to the county attorney’s desk, the police should be held accountable for their unjust actions. John Zimmerman is committed to doing just that, and it is for this reason above all else that he has my support in this election.

Eli Shepherd

Vote for Rettig

We support Janelle Rettig in the June 3 primary because she shows concern for the people of our county, both new and long-term residents. Janelle has supported mental-health and disability services, other social services, including the Crisis Center 1105 project, which houses Free Lunch and other agency offices. She cares about the environment and works to preserve and enhance trails and open spaces. Janelle researches and educates herself on issues and listens to the ideas of others. We hope you will join us in voting for Janelle on or before June 3.

James and Mary McCue

Janelle Rettig is worthy of your vote for Johnson County supervisor on June 3 (or before).

In our lifetimes of dealing with politicians and officials at the local, county, state, and federal governmental level in this country and abroad, she stands out as one of the best.

Janelle has our vote and support because she knows what she’s doing, works hard, does her research, listens, answers questions and concerns, and finds satisfaction in serving everyone in Johnson County.

She also happens to be a wonderful person. We could go on and on about Janelle and her joy in living, but it embarrasses her. So well stop now. Just don’t forget to vote for Janelle Rettig for Supervisor on June 3.

Mary Vasey and Nicholas Johnson

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