Letters: Readers discuss volunteering in KC, politics in sports and gun violence

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·3 min read
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Let’s give back

Imagine if the United States suddenly had an extra $167 billion to invest in community development. Well, luckily, we do. According to an estimate by Independent Sector, that’s the value volunteers contribute to our economy every year.

As many of us consider a post-sweatpants existence, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to double down on volunteering when it’s safe to reenter society. Our collective time is worth billions of dollars, and giving it to an important cause doesn’t cost a thing.

Volunteering can and should become a permanent fixture in a time of fickle state budgets and fluctuating city programs. We can’t always control policy decisions, but we can create a culture of showing up for each other. Let’s gather again to engage our talents and give back.

Spend the morning volunteering with the Veterans Community Project. Visit with dogs at the KC Pet Project campus. Join the Big Brothers Big Sisters chapter and introduce a kid to your quarantine hobbies.

As you remake your weekly schedule in the coming months, consider joining the volunteers who are making a massive difference, and you’ll likely find purpose and meaning in the process.

- Ryan Bernsten, Kansas City

Just play ball

Sam Mellinger’s Sunday column about politics in sports is way off base. (1B, “Stop with the ‘keep sports out of politics’ stuff — they’ve never been separate”) Obviously, professional sports teams can do as they wish and bring politics into sports. However, sports are a form of entertainment. Teams need to appeal to fans to stay in business. Those of us who disagree with their politics are free to decide not to participate.

Last year, when the NBA decided to politicize its game, a large number of fans decided not to watch anymore. I am one of them. This year, when Major League Baseball decided to politicize its game, I have also decided to withhold my support.

It also seems to me that our tax dollars should not support organizations openly supporting a particular political party. So Jackson County should begin charging the Royals fees commensurate with the real costs of the Kaufman Stadium.

- Clifford O’Bryan, Mission

In the family

Sens. Josh Hawley and Roger Marshall joined Sens. Tom Cotton, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Tommy Tuberville to oppose the anti-Asian hate crimes legislation proposed in the Senate last week. (April 16, 5A, “Marshall, Hawley vote to block anti-hate crime bill”) I would like to know where the ancestors of these men were from, unless they all descended from Native Americans.

For example, Cruz was born in Canada, and his father was from Cuba. A more extensive ancestry for all six men would be very helpful in understanding why they opposed this law.

- Jan Grebe, Roeland Park

Do something

Another mass shooting, proving yet again that our gun violence epidemic is a national public health crisis, a national emergency and, as President Joe Biden stated, “an embarrassment.” We have forfeited our right to safety, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness everywhere. I deeply resent it.

What happened to our First Amendment rights? Our right to worship safely? Our children’s right to learn in a safe environment?

I want to know what steps Rep. Sam Graves and Sens. Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley are going to take to address this crisis. To do nothing is not an option. I expect results and commonsense legislation to reduce the killing.

- Jill Ballou, Kansas City