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On August 25, my life changed for the better. The catalyst for this change was the L.A. Weekly’s cover story by Erin Aubry [“Blue Like Me,” August 25–31]. I am forever indebted to Erin for her words and her insight into the soul of African-Americans. I liken reading Erin’s article to going to the traditional black Baptist church and hearing the man of God emphatically speaking to the broad issues and ills of a people, yet at the same time speaking also for the individual soul as well. Erin’s article did more for me in 30 minutes than any experience I have had to date, notwithstanding my acceptance of Christian doctrine. I have been sending copies to all my friends, and to others in my community. I want to take this opportunity to thank the L.A. Weekly and its editorial staff for continuing to be a true voice of the people — all people. I cannot think of too many other publications that would have the courage to print her article, let alone give it the cover.

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Power to the people. The conscious ones, at least.

—Mark O. Thomas


Re: “Blue Like Me.” This is truly amazing. You would never see a cover story like this in any publication here in Seattle. I miss Erin Aubry and the Weekly’s in-yo-face features on racism.

—Yayoi Lena Winfrey
Seattle, Washington


Not only was Ms. Aubry’s article extremely well-written, it touched on so many levels of personal and collective experience that it transcended both person and race. I have given the article to friends, patients and fellow physicians. You are very fortunate to have such a writer on your staff.

—Arnold Chanin, M.D.
El Segundo


Erin Aubry’s cover story on race and depression was undoubtedly one of the best-written, most provocative pieces to appear in the L.A. Weekly for many years. Clearly, however, the fact that the upper echelons of the American socioeconomic dung heap are mostly white is not the fault of all contemporary white Americans, and those blacks who do achieve success do not necessarily diminish in “blackness” — although they do inherit the neuroses of the well-to-do. This is where depression rears its ugly head, separating the emotional sickness from the social sickness. Here’s why we — black, white or “other” — become depressed: We’re selfish ingrates. In our mad scramble up Mount Success, we selfishly forget to reach down and pull others up with us (see Dosto yevsky’s Notes From Underground). Want to get over depression? Help feed homeless men at a shelter. Donate pre-worn or new clothes to a battered-women’s shelter. Plant a garden for a disabled family member or friend.

As for the social sickness, black is not the only “culture of the have-nots.” Recently off General Relief and food stamps while struggling to get a community-college education, this starving writer survives on cheap frozen burritos, tuna and anything else the 99¢ store has on sale two-for-a-dollar. So it goes. Whatever I can spare, I give to help others.

“Discovering freedom is not like discovering atomic bombs,” wrote Edith Hamilton in Roots of Freedom. “It cannot be discovered once for all. If people do not prize it, and work for it, it will depart. Eternal vigilance is its price.”

—Robert Stevens
San Pedro


I’m not black, but I too have struggled with depression for most of my life. I wanted Ms. Aubry to know that I found her story moving, illuminating, courageous, challenging and artfully written. Thank you, Erin Aubry, for struggling, questioning, searching and being able to put your vulnerability on the printed page. Your story helps to bring the statistics on African-American depression to urgent life.

In Care of the Soul, Thomas Moore says of depression that “Care of the soul doesn’t mean wallowing in the symptoms, but it does mean trying to learn from depression what qualities the soul needs . . . Depression has its own angel, a guiding spirit whose job it is to carry the soul away to its remote places where it finds unique insight and enjoys a special vision.”

I wish you well on your journey.

—Carol Ann Ward
Santa Monica



Re: Christine Pelisek and Charles Rappleye’s “Fair Questions” [August 25–31]. It’s about time more people questioned the financial aspects of the Sunset Junction Fair organizer. As a former business owner on Sunset Boulevard, I always questioned the ability of Michael McKinley to take two very expensive trips a year and seemingly never having to work for a living. In 1997, when he began collecting admission fees netting approximately $300,000 in additional revenues, a group of Sunset Boulevard â business owners asked for an IRS audit of his nonprofit status. This issue was never resolved.

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