Letters for January 16, 2020
Another community builder
Re “Community builders honored” (Left Foot Forward, Jan. 9):
Ms. Leslie, thank you for taking the time to acknowledge these important people in our community. But, there is a very special person, that to my knowledge, hasn't been thanked for her contributions to the homeless population of our city: Amber Lynn Dobson. She's the founder of the non-profit organization We Care Volunteers. For over eight years, she has organized and instituted a program for feeding our homeless and underpaid people of our community. She has banded together with organizations such as The Reno Pirates, The Verdi Posse, Yelp! and others, not to mention the multitudes of individuals that volunteer their time and money to help. She's one that not only feeds the bellies of those who have lost hope, she also feeds the soul with love and compassion. Let's give her a “high five” for her outstanding community service.
Junior Assembly of Reno is a local private, non-profit organization that encourages “scholarship, citizenship, and etiquette.” They host an annual, invitation-only formal dance at the National Bowling Stadium with a strict set of policies. These policies, taken directly from a dance invitation given to a student, explicitly state that “you must bring a guest of the opposite sex” and that “gentlemen wear tuxedos and ladies wear floor-length, formal dresses.”
In addition to this, female invitees are not allowed to attend the event unaccompanied; a man is required to check-in their female guest. This organization prides itself on supporting and maintaining traditional “1940s values” and, apparently, blatant discrimination. The dance [was] held on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020 and [required] that all students become members of the Junior Assembly organization via a one-time membership fee.
Dance invitations and other documents are handed out by teachers at participating schools, and informational meetings regarding the dance are held after school using high school facilities. This means that Washoe County is helping to facilitate this dance every year. In response to this exclusionary event, a group of concerned students at Hug High School has been in correspondence with the Equity and Diversity team of WCSD to look into how the organization has been operating for years without interference from the district. Tiffany Young of the Equity and Diversity department has been investigating the organization, and while it is still ongoing, has discovered that JA is in violation of multiple Washoe County procedures and guidelines. Students and community members have raised concerns in the past, but the organization has failed to take action to increase equitability and eliminate discrimination. As reported in a local news outlet, president Roseanne Smith stated that they would review the documents on their policies and bring the issue up with their board. Nothing has happened since these initial concerns were brought up in 2015. We hope that the Reno/Sparks community will come together in response to these blatantly sexist and homophobic policies and share their disapproval by urging the Junior Assembly to change these policies and open their organization and activities to all students in our community.
While visiting the Reno Town Mall yesterday, I ran into a keypad-locked bathroom door. Cute notice said for customers only.
I guess a few homeless folks, trying to keep from freezing, must have been using the “public” library to try to keep warm (and hopefully do some reading). And, of course, they, too, need to excrete occasional body wastes, yes?
I hope that all decent people who shop there loudly let businesses know this is not acceptable or humane.
Anyway, I shit in the parking lot behind a big truck and feel much better.
Re “New in town” (Cover story, Dec. 26):
Maybe the new arrivals are not looking in places where communities are built, only activities for entertainment?