click to enlarge Approximately 50 homeless people have created Tent City behind the city of Springfield’s Warming/Cooling Center at 1015 E. Madison St. Volunteers come every day to provide meals and supplies. - PHOTO BY BRANDON TURLEY
Photo by Brandon Turley
Approximately 50 homeless people have created Tent City behind the city of Springfield’s Warming/Cooling Center at 1015 E. Madison St. Volunteers come every day to provide meals and supplies.

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The first step in addressing Springfield's homeless population would be to have an advocate listen, assess and make a plan for each person in Tent City and bring this information to the case managers at social service agencies who should be willing to work with these individuals ("How best to help the homeless?" Sept. 17). It's great that volunteers are taking care of their basic needs with food and clothing; however, these people need a real plan.

It may be that if the social service agencies cannot help, local churches and other organizations could step in. There are only a handful of people in Tent City. It's been my experience that the same people are experiencing homelessness over and over. An advocate to track these people and really get to the nitty gritty will be needed to really help them, or help them help themselves. They are people, and people are resourceful and resilient. Let's end Tent City before it gets out of hand.

Linda Gessaman



To anyone who doesn't believe there is white privilege – yes, there is. Your life, I fear, is almost completely unexamined. 

"If you had a choice of colors," as the old song goes, you would not want to be anything but white, Christian, male and straight, right?  Because to be anything else, you would have to explain yourself to the world every day.  You would not get the benefit of the doubt any more.

This is why you respond indignantly to Black Lives Matter, gay pride or people speaking Spanish.  They force you to confront your fear of not being privileged, but only one of many.

Bigotry is a sin, but there is absolution.  It's a long journey that begins with discovering where your anger comes from.

Jeffrey Hobbs



Joe Biden may not have been our first choice for president, but we must make sure he isn't our last. All Americans have a serious responsibility to anti-fascism in the impending election. 

Historians have used the decades after every tragedy of national authoritarianism to plead for vigilance; fascism takes hold easily, but requires generations and countless painful losses to reverse. In the case of the 21st century United States, it may already be too late.

That Donald Trump was elected in clear view of his moral and ethical shortcomings is a worrisome indictment of ours. Aside from being ahistorical, anti-constitutional, diplomatically illiterate, anti-science and shockingly unknowledgeable, Trump was clearly a cruel man. His successful election was fuel poured onto the flames of indecency and hate he'd already boastfully broadcast as a candidate. Those warning signs that should have ended in his 2016 defeat instead burgeoned into a predictable wildfire of presidential hostilities and crimes toward our military, international human rights precedents – including those surrounding genocide – and constitutional guarantees to freedom of speech, protest, reproductive rights, asylum-seeking and term limits. 

More and more Americans recognize that this election stopped being about politics years ago. They are willing to be apolitical and nonpartisan in the upcoming election as a response to this critical time.

The country's continued freedom and safety are at the mercy of those who have yet to take a stand. 

Sarah Eccles

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