Rapid Response

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Rapid Response

Dear Editor:

There was a most unfortunate ‘Letter to the Editor’ published in last week’s paper that I couldn’t NOT respond to. A very clear and malicious finger was pointed at women who have recently opened businesses on the peninsula, over their supposed involvement in the “Secret Group of Rockaway Women” (RT article) who organized and marched together on January 21.

I am a woman, I am a local business owner, and I moved to Rockaway four years ago. And although I applaud their proactivity, I am NOT a part of the ‘secret group.’ I openly supported and voted for Hillary Clinton. I proudly and visibly walked with my mother in the Woman’s March held in NYC. To the contrary of what this letter suggests, I am a third generation native New Yorker, born at Flushing Hospital in Queens, and raised in lower Manhattan. I have never lived in Brooklyn and know nothing of the Midwest. Not that there is anything wrong – whatsoever, with either.

I, like all of the other women business owners I know in Rockaway, warmly welcome ALL customers into my shop and show nothing but the utmost gratitude for the opportunity to conduct my business here. It is far from easy, but we have chosen to be here and we are all doing everything we can to keep our businesses open and servicing the community in the best way we can. From the original article it seemed to me that the women of the ‘secret group’ included long time locals, who live in the Neponsit, Belle Harbor and Breezy Point communities. The founder of the group has recently stepped forward as Jean Belford. Perhaps, Name Withheld, you should contact Ms. Belford and have a conversation with her before you begin to spread vitriol in the community you love so much. You claim that newer residents will “never ever have or understand” a true love for Rockaway. As a New Yorker, the one and only truth I know about our great city is that is doesn’t belong to anyone. It is here for everyone, and each individual’s adulation cannot be measured or quantified by anyone else’s. I can only hope that you will find the same acceptance for us, as we have of you. Our differences are what bind us, and our compassion is the only equalizer. No one needs to “take a seat and be respectful,” as we are all already seated at the same table.

The choice to support my business is completely up to you, but please do not falsify my image and make unsubstantiated accusations, which could harm my livelihood. In these uncertain times, it is our civility and kindness that will move us forward. Let’s hope Rockaway can be a shining example of both.

Abra Boero, Owner,




Respect For All Beings Needed

Dear Editor:

In response to Boyleing Points, Animal Instincts (1-19-17)

As a Social Worker and Animal Communicator, my sense was that last week’s Boyleing Points column had nothing to do with instincts, animal or human.

While all living beings are born with the instinct to survive, human beings have lost their way. We have separated ourselves from our spiritual center, and because of that, live in fear. We have convinced ourselves that we need an endless supply of distractions to feel whole and complete. We have built entire industries on the suffering of living beings: factory farming, fashion, entertainment, war… None of this will ever satisfy us because deep down we believe that we are not enough.  

Animals experience fear and act to ensure their survival, but do not create exploitive institutions in response to perceived threats.  I testified at the New York City Council Hearing in support of the Ban on Wild and Exotic Animals in Circuses in NYC. While I am opposed to many of the activities that Ringling Brothers has engaged in, the truth be told, I felt compassion for the Ringling Brothers representative as he spoke. Sweating profusely and responding with information that was quickly refuted by Council Members, I imagined that he was feeling desperate. Keeping his job was just the tip of the iceberg. Each time we dishonor any living being, our soul takes a hit and our heart breaks a little bit more.      

The danger in applying the word “instinct” is that we can use it as a free pass to justify immoral behavior: “My instinct made me do it.” There is nothing instinctual about capturing living beings, displaying them in artificial environments, forcing them to perform unnatural acts through intimidation/abuse, and teaching our children that this is acceptable behavior.  It undermines the strength of the human spirit, our ability to live in harmony with nature, and ultimately our survival as a species.    

It is my deepest prayer that one day soon, rather than reminiscing and glorifying institutionalized oppression, people will recoil in disbelief how we treated humans and other living beings with indifference, disrespect, and cruelty. We will awaken to the beauty of the earth and all of its inhabitants.  With this newfound awareness, we will learn how to collaborate with nature and together transform the planet.     

Jill Lauri, MSW, MBA

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For Love of Country

Dear Editor:

Why I Marched On Washington DC.

I have never felt as strong as I do now about standing up for many matters in question. I was a little nervous going to Washington DC. I have never involved myself like this, and did not know what to expect. When I got there I found the most amazing movement. This was not a women’s movement. It was a people’s movement. There were people everywhere of all sizes and colors. It was emotionally powerful and brought tears to my eyes. My spirits were lifted by the beauty of so many people coming together with kindness and friendliness. We shared food, stories, and songs. People marched for all kinds of reasons; some marched for the environment; some marched for education; some marched for immigrants; some marched for LGBTQ; some marched for healthcare; some marched with and for their families.

I marched because I now see whales and dolphins instead of medical waste.  I marched for the Environmental Protection Agency that is being taken apart and may lead to the deregulation of the Clean Water Act.

I marched for the hard working immigrants who helped to rebuild my house and our community after Super Storm Sandy. I marched for the immigrant families living in fear of being broken apart.

I marched because I am against lying and bullying. I marched because I am against any man who thinks it is okay to walk in on a group of young girls while undressing and then brag about it.

I marched in Washington DC so my voice could be heard.

I marched because I love my country.

Ps I was born and raised in Brooklyn, but have lived in Rockaway for 38 years.

Kathleen Stokes


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