We must fight to retain legal, safe, and effective abortion access for all women, and we must insist upon a full debate in the media.

Josie Rodberg
Legislative Associate
National Abortion and
Reproductive Rights Action League

Black Plague

Re Kai Wright's article "Emergency Call" [June 20]: I am relieved that the U.S. authorities are at last starting to put the necessary funding behind the fight against AIDS. Wright's article highlighted many of the difficulties that are experienced in the United Kingdom in tackling the spread of HIV among the African communities.

The church has an important role to play here, as it does in the U.S., and the stigma around HIV and AIDS is only part of the problem. More important is the need for education on socioeconomic factors, including the effects of racism and homophobia. Also there is little mention of sex and sexuality in the black media here.

Black communities throughout the world need to address topics that we would rather leave untouched, including serious AIDS prevention strategies.

Simon Nelson
London, England

Mott-Sa Matta?

Re Chisun Lee's article "Between Mott and Mulberry" [June 20]: It is unfortunate that there are some neighborhood residents who do not want a pedestrian mall on Mulberry Street in Little Italy. The Figli di San Gennaro Committee, which took over administration of the mall this year from the Little Italy Chamber of Commerce, is willing to review the merits of any legitimate complaint from community groups or organizations. During mall hours, merchants are instructed to control the level of noise coming from their establishments and make sure tables and chairs have been removed from the sidewalks by midnight. Everything is being done to ensure that residents are inconvenienced as little as possible.

The Mulberry Street Pedestrian Mall not only benefits the Italian community but the Chinatown merchants as well. Since opening in 1996, it has attracted thousands of people every weekend. In addition to dining at Italian restaurants on Mulberry Street, many spill over onto Mott and other streets in Chinatown.

Ms. Lee also writes incorrectly that Annette Sabatino, owner of the Da Nico restaurant on Mulberry Street, has "ascended to [Anne] Compoccia's former position" (presumably as president of the Little Italy Chamber of Commerce), insinuating that she is running the mall. This is false. However, Ms. Sabatino is trea-surer of Figli di San Gennaro.

Les Schecter
Figli di San Gennaro

Trade Talk

James Ridgeway's item titled "The Radical Center" [Mondo Washington, June 13] is a striking example of the disparity between concern over third-world poverty and the de rigueur hostility to free trade. Ridgeway criticizes the alleged "shipping of U.S. jobs abroad" as an inevitable aspect of free trade. Yet U.S. unemployment continues to decline, while those jobs "shipped abroad" build wealth where it is critically needed. Why criticize 401(k) investment in emerging markets? There is no evidence that pension plans have been "devalued" as a result. Most of Asia's emerging markets have recovered, and, using investment from those excoriated fund managers, have created jobs, built new, locally owned high-tech industries, and outperformed U.S. equity markets.

In addition, it seems ironic to lament the chaos in some parts of Africa without questioning how African economies can achieve the wealth and stability of other emerging markets, except with free access to global trade and capital markets. Economic growth is not the zero-sum game Ridgeway presumes. Jobs gained in emerging markets are not jobs lost in the U.S. If anyone is "putting mothers to work at exploitative wages" in the U.S., surely the solution should not be to deprive emerging markets of economic opportunity.

Joseph Cole

Vedder 'N' Crew

In Nick Catucci's review of Pearl Jam's album Binaural ["Plumb Tired," June 13], he failed to recognize Pearl Jam's love of its fans. Sure, Pearl Jam is not creating the catchy tunes from Ten and Vs. that so many people once loved—but why would they? If I want to hear a song like "Alive," I'll buy that album. I won't buy the same damn song re-created over and over again, so that the original song no longer offers the same intense feeling and emotion. Binaural is Pearl Jam now, and if you don't like that, I doubt that Eddie Vedder or the rest of the crew cares.

Ryan Garber
Beavercreek, Ohio

The Giving Tree

I very much appreciated Magie Dominic's eerily moving account of the killing of the tree behind our Chelsea apartments ["Old City Tree," June 13]. I tend a tiny garden next to the larger garden where that majestic weed tree stood. Now the sky is blank, and my shade-loving greenery, planted to thrive in the tree's shadows, cringes in the sun. I have felt unaccountably sad ever since the tree was cut down, and Dominic gave words to feelings that I wasn't entirely conscious of having.

Joshua David

Kitty Letter

Thank you to Amy Taubin for her wise comment regarding the smirk at animal rights at the beginning of the movie A Civilized People ["Join the Good-Fight Club," June 20]. Taubin writes that "cruelty toward animals is often the first sign of . . . the erosion of empathy and of the value of life." Most of us don't abuse animals, but are simply indifferent. Isn't our attitude toward humans similar? Compassion, which is rarely species specific, should be nurtured rather than ridiculed, wherever it appears.

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