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December 8, 2023

Letters to the Editor, Nov. 16, 2023

Questions surrounding PVUSD ethnic studies decision

As a former member of the Ethnic Studies Community Cooperative Committee, I read and presented the following open letter to Ms. Jennifer Holm during the Pajaro Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees meeting on Nov. 8.

I have some inquiries regarding the Board decision to deny the Community Responsive Education (CRE) contract due to “antisemitism,” which was made in the Board meeting on Sept. 13.

1. Did the Board of Trustees talk to Professor Allyson Tintiangco-Cubales and CRE before the Board made the decision on Sept. 13? 

2. Have the Board of Trustees talked to Professor Allyson Tintiangco-Cubales and CRE after the Board received the letter “Denial of Community Responsive Education Contract due to accusation of ‘antisemitism’” dated on Oct. 9 from Professor Allyson Tintinago-Cubales? 

3. Did the Board of Trustees talk to PVUSD Ethnic Studies teachers before the Board made the decision on Sept. 13?

4. Did the Board of Trustees talk to members of PVUSD Ethnic Studies Community Collaborative Committee before the decision?

Takashi Mizuno


Hope for survivors of suicide

Nov. 18 is International Survivors of Suicide Day, a day to educate the public about suicide and its impact, and a day to provide support to those left behind. 

Suicide is one of the most challenging societal issues of our time, claiming more lives than war, murder and natural disasters combined. In 2021, 48,183 people died by suicide in the U.S. and 4,148 in California. In 2020, the Central Coast lost 89 people to suicide. 

Current research indicates that up to 135 people are affected by some degree by every person lost to suicide. That number includes all people who have known the deceased. Those more severely affected by the death, such as immediate and extended family members and friends, is 15-30.

Grieving suicide of a loved one is different than grieving other kinds of loss. Survivors must deal not only with their grief but also with myriad other overwhelming feelings, such as confusion, guilt, anger, shame and hurt, and frequently feel very much alone. Being on the outside watching a loved one, friend, colleague or anyone struggling with the pain and devastation of losing someone to suicide can make you feel utterly helpless. But your support and kindness matter. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is a good resource to learn about how to support a survivor. 

As someone who has lost a loved one to suicide, I want to share this with survivors. This is the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do. Though you may not think so now, you can survive. It is not your fault. Know that you are not alone. There are others who have had your experience to help you through your healing process. You do not have to struggle with this alone. There is hope.

Please join us for International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day on Nov. 18—the one day a year when people affected by suicide loss gather in their local communities to find comfort and gain understanding as they share stories of healing and hope.

An event will be held at Aptos Methodist Church, 221 Thunderbird Drive, from 10am to noon. Contact Luca Willey at [email protected] or 684.1774. 

On a personal note, my journey towards peace and acceptance would not have been possible without the unconditional love and support of my family, friends and the kind and caring souls along the way. For you all, I am deeply grateful.

Andrea Tolaio

Director, Suicide Prevention Program

Family Service Agency of the Central Coast


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