Letters to the Editor

Don't make public spaces inhospitable to some

I have visited Iowa City on a number of occasions and enjoyed its hospitality. However, I recently learned about the placing of “armrests” on public benches in Iowa City. This is a sad development that reflects a pattern of hostility toward people experiencing homelessness that I have seen in other cities.

In Atlanta and in Memphis, two cities in which I have worked with people on the streets, the same thing was done to park benches. The intentionality there, as in Iowa City, is to make public spaces inhospitable to those deemed “unwanted” in the city.

In this Advent season, I would remind people that Mary and Joseph were treated as unwanted at the time of the birth of Jesus, and that the adult Jesus identified himself with “the least of these.” Is Jesus welcome on Iowa City’s park benches? Apparently not if he wants to lay down for a rest.

Peter Gathje

Memphis, TN

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

CONTINUE READING

Want to join the conversation?

Consider subscribing to TheGazette.com and participate in discussing the important issues to our community with other Gazette subscribers.

Already a Gazette or TheGazette.com subscriber? Just login here with your account email and password.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.