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Readers Sound Off

Readers Sound Off

On LeRoy Whitfield's Passing I just read The Star-Ledger's obituary of Mr. Whitfield. I'd never heard of him but felt the need to read all his available columns on you site. I have spent the last half of my work day reading about his life. It's too bad I didn't know about him in his time on earth. I'm married and HIV-negative, but somehow after reading about him, I'm sure the world lost a true gem. Thanks for the raw and necessary insight. I will continue to stress the importance of safer sex to my single friends, married friends, and to myself--because being married simply does not mean that I too am unaffected by his story. Dacia Gaillard Trenton, N.J. Thanks for publishing the amazing writings of LeRoy Whitfield. I am saddened by the tremendous loss of such a wonderful voice. What a brave and beautiful man. DJ Via e-mail In yesterday's The New York Times I discovered the obituary of LeRoy Whitfield. He and I were old friends who lost touch, and I wanted to share a letter I sent him recently but I doubt he received: 'I just happened to be passing a supply of the October 2005 HIV Plus today, picked one up, and the page it fell open to was your article 'My Brother's Keeper.' Yours was a fine article! Whatever the circumstances, I'm wishing you the very best!' Ray Steehler Via e-mail On Whitfield's Final Column I just read 'A Prayer for the Dying' [Native Tongue, November]. What a sad commentary on friendship. It seems to me that when'folks make decisions that are contrary to the 'norm,' it upsets a lot of others. Life is short, so lead your life in a fashion that will make you happy with yourself, and avoid those who would call you 'friend' and then fail to be one. Barbara Caldara Via e-mail LeRoy, I write in support of your choices. I'm often frustrated with society because of the way it pushes its fears on everyone.'Your choice not to take meds is a perfectly valid and reasonable one. So many patients I deal with sit depressed and withdrawn because they feel they 'have no choice' but to do 'what the doctor says.' Everyone has the right to stand up and say 'Enough!' Everyone has the right to say 'This is what I want.' And everyone has a right to have those choices supported. Mary Jensen, RN Twin Falls, Idaho LeRoy, I would like to let you know that you have a friend in me. I know it is hard living with this virus, but I know you're doing what you think is best for you. I am proud of you for standing up to all the caseworkers, activists, and your so-called friends. I work with HIV patients every day, so I know what a typical day for them--and you--is like. Since no one else ever asked, let me be the first to do the honors: 'LeRoy, what do you need?' If it's a friend, I'm here. If it's someone to talk to, I'm here. Whatever you need, I'm here. Keep writing your columns, and stay strong! Thank you so much for being an inspiration. Marcel Robinson Mobile, Ala. [editor's note: Journalist Kai Wright writes about his friend LeRoy Whitfield in this issue. Wright and Whitfield won a Salute to Excellence Award from the National Association of Black Journalists for their magazine article 'AIDS Goes Gray' on October 15, less than a week after Whitfield's death.]
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