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DUI report is not news, it’s scandal

My second DUI is newsworthy? In the words of my wonderful, intelligent sister, when I told her of the Pioneer story, “This is not something that should be shameful. A successful recovery begins with healing.” This is not news; it is “scandal,” something you would expect to see in a tabloid.

Much the same as the repeated story of a mentally ill woman you ran a while back. It would have been much more newsworthy to discuss the wonderful DWI Court Program that is going to be a big help to me in my sobriety.

I called my pastor from jail, the night I was arrested. I told the Churches United Board on the Monday I was released. They, in their wisdom and Christian beliefs of love and forgiveness, supported me, prayed for me and agreed to keep me on as executive director, a position I’ve held since 2005.

I must correct you on the misinformation you reported of Churches United clients. They are not the “homeless suffering from drug and alcohol addictions and families suffering from recent tragedies.” That stereotype of the homeless is misinformed and representative of the ignorance and prejudice that many of my clients and now, myself, are victims of.

Not all homeless people are drug and alcohol addicted. Those who are addicted are suffering from a disease. Medical science has proven this years ago. Churches United is a non-profit organization of Bemidji area churches led by the spirit of Christ to meet the needs of the homeless and low income people in a prayerful way. Our motto is “Treat the Stranger as Jesus.” In one day I as the only paid part-time employee, along with a group of volunteers, may see more than 20 clients in four hours.

Those clients may have spouses or significant others and children. They have not all suffered recent tragedies; they are your neighbors, part of your community, who cannot find work and if they do find work, it is often for minimum wage and part time, so the employer does not have to pay for health insurance. Some are working two and even three jobs. They are finding it hard to pay for gas and groceries to put on the table.

I would like our local paper to report correct and unbiased news stories, not the personal stories of those of us who would prefer to heal in privacy.

Sarah Einerson