Why attack Shanti?

Posted: Tuesday, December 04, 2001

"Juneau leftists" are not the only ones, it seems, with time on their hands for propagandizing. I have to wonder, though, why attack Shanti? Maybe it was the film, "Chocolat Babies?" I can't speak about the film, but the worst you could say is that, possibly, Shanti made a bad choice for raising money; surely that would hurt them a lot worse than anyone else. Given the tone of Mr. Schmitz's letter I should think that would please him. The idea that Shanti is a part of the problem is ludicrous. It is because, in large part, of the efforts of groups like Shanti and the people who work with them that teens comprise less than 1 percent of new AIDS/HIV cases (assuming those numbers are accurate). Instead of vilifying them they should be recognized for the work that they have done. I wonder what Mr. Schmitz has done to assist in lowering those numbers, or in assisting those stricken with AIDS in getting proper care?

The idea that now that AIDS is dropped to 15th on the CDC list does not mean we should stop efforts to educate everyone, including teens, of the dangers. AIDS still exists, there is still no cure for it and it still just takes one time, one mistake, one moment of bad judgment to infect you. It is possible that efforts should be more targeted elsewhere, that does not mean other population segments should be ignored. I am making an assumption that Mr. Schmitz took the time to find out just how much of Shanti's resources were targeted at which segments of the population. Youth are always at high risk, it is part of the nature of being young; and we were all young once. As adults, mothers, fathers and just concerned people, it is our job to see that these same youth are given as much information as possible to avoid making that one wrong choice that could infect them. I agree with Mr. Schmitz, parents should ask serious questions of Shanti, find what they're doing and why. It is possible that you will come away agreeing with Mr. Schmitz, but I doubt it. Shanti is definitely not a part of the problem. I think we can safely look elsewhere for that.

Charles Cardwell


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