Letters to the Editor: On Virtual Funerals
These letters were published in the November 22 print edition of Las Cruces Sun-News.
Upon learning of my 79-year-old mother-in-law’s recent COVID diagnosis, my husband and I sat down and had the “conversation” that I had been avoiding since the start of the pandemic and which has so far killed more than 245,000 people in America. Will we be traveling from our relatively safe cocoon in Las Cruces to attend the inevitable funeral in the COVID-19 hot zone of Kansas City, Missouri? We are both middle aged and immunocompromised. We wouldn’t do well if we were infected. How would our families react if we chose not to attend? Would we be riddled with guilt if we didn’t attend? Of course, the old social norms are gone with this pandemic and we are now living in the new COVID-19 norm. Cold heads eventually prevailed and we chose not to risk our own health.
The reason for this letter is to address the question to the funeral home industry, legislatures, media professionals and other influential people: Why aren’t virtual funerals being touted as the new social norm? Zoom is known to many of us as the tool used for online school, online meetings, online training, online doctor visits, and online call center work. It is high time the funeral industry stood up for funerals online. While such a change would affect the financial business model of funeral homes (and their business owners) even more, it’s time to do an about-face on funeral planning to dramatically reduce or eliminate the threat of death. infection during these events. Hopefully, the funeral industry will use available federal, state, and municipal grants and loans to expand their virtual capabilities, much like the aforementioned industries have already done.
Jeffrey Greek, Las Cruces
There is a divide in our society; this should come as no surprise to anyone. The age-old struggle between the haves and have-nots now takes on a slightly different form. We live in a society where half the nation believes in one set of truths and the other half believes in an entirely different truth. Half of us think the country is going too far to the left, towards socialism, or worse, and the other half think we are becoming a right-wing oligarchy, armed with arms, hating the ruled oligarchy. by big business and their henchmen, the politicians.
Neither is right. We are, as we always have been, a society looking for a better way to govern ourselves. We need to see this as a process and not as an achievement. The fissure that separates us has become an abyss on the scale of a canyon. It is time that we learn to put aside meanness and become “a nation, under God, with freedom and justice for ALL”.
We must face this terrible pandemic, with our ravaged economy, with our systemic hatreds and injustices, with our contempt for our environment and our planet, and seek, each of us, within ourselves what we, each, can do. to make our country and our world, better.
Let’s start now.
Michael Sackett, Las Cruces
The governor should return his salary
As a fourth generation New Mexican, I am writing to urge our governor to return her salary for the next two weeks to state coffers or donate it to a charity of her choice. His decision to shut down the state again is deplorable, and a move that has put the good people of New Mexico into financial and emotional turmoil. In the meantime, she sits in the governor’s mansion, without any financial pain, yet again, as her citizens lose their livelihoods.
If you agree with me, contact the governor’s office today and have your say, 505-476-2200. Please stand up for your New Mexicans rights!
Nike Kern, Las Cruces
Tech tents for parents
According to the World Health Organization, on March 11, 2020, the novel coronavirus epidemic and the global pandemic were declared. It had an impact on everyone in the world and mainly here in the United States of America. This caused and raised many problems across the country and many environments were affected. One of the main issues Americans are facing right now as a result of the pandemic is said to be the education system and its students. The problem is that many students do not have access to the internet and parents / guardians do not have the technological skills to help their children acquire the virtual skills necessary to be able to get a proper education.
I have personally seen many parents and students struggle to learn and acquire the skills necessary for a successful school year. Many parents share on social media how their children’s grades suffer due to lack of technological knowledge. It could range from simple skills of turning on the laptop and finding the correct internet browser to not knowing how to navigate the Canvas homepage.
Therefore, I would like to express my opinion on what could be done to help our community with these issues. Provide some type of social distancing tech pop-up tent and have the appropriate staff run classes and provide notes on how to do the basics of Canvas browsing. If another shutdown occurs where no personal meeting could take place, perhaps organize a virtual contextual tech meeting throughout the month so that you can help parents / students answer any questions or advice they need.
Belinda Alvarez, NMSU BSW student
It’s time to reopen the schools
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused much devastation and many challenges for New Mexicans. We have experienced loss of loved ones, loss of jobs, school closures, social isolation, lack of access to food and water, homelessness, increased drug addiction and an increase in mental health problems.
In 2018, New Mexico ranked number one in the country for suicide rates. While this year’s numbers have yet to be calculated, suicide prevention is more important than ever in these unpredictable times. According to a survey conducted by the CDC in June 2020, 1 in 4 respondents between the ages of 18 and 24 had seriously considered suicide. Latinx and Black populations were reported to be the most vulnerable. Since New Mexico has a predominantly higher Latinx population than other states, this puts our risks and rates at extreme risk.
Adolescents in particular are even more at risk of suicide. They are at a crucial time in their life where development is very important. Adolescents need to be able to interact with others outside of their homes and social isolation and isolation prevents them from doing so.
I plead for the end of school closures. By keeping schools closed, we create an even higher risk of suicide for these people. They must be able to interact with each other in the school setting and to build relationships with their peers, teachers, coaches and other teachers in the school. Just because we live in this new “COVID-19 world” doesn’t mean we need to deprive our children and youth of a system they have depended on for decades.
Carissa Zajac, Las Cruces
Time limit for requiring sick leave
New Mexico does not currently require employers to pay their employees during sick leave. This is unacceptable and shows a lack of appreciation for the New Mexico workforce and its well-being. Now more than ever, people need to be encouraged to stay home when they are sick. This is very difficult to do when the loss of income is factored in.
COVID-19 has made people much more aware of the importance of staying home to prevent the spread of the disease, but New Mexico is not protecting the personal lives of workers. New Mexicans deserve to be able to stay home when they are sick and not worry about being able to feed their families because of their free time.
New Mexicans should together ban and demand a policy to make paid sick leave mandatory for all employers. We must demand a New Mexico policy to improve the lives of New Mexicans and stop the spread of germs.
Grace O’Connell, Las Cruces
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