Opinion Submitted by Mica Maynard: Selflessness verses Selfishness


Selfless is the opposite of selfish. If you're selfless, you think less about your self, and more about others — you're generous and kind. Being selfless is similar to being altruistic — another word for giving to others without looking for personal gain.

Then there is Selfish. A selfish person is one concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself : seeking or concentrating on one's own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others. 2. : arising from concern with one's own welfare or advantage in disregard of others. a selfish act.

As a younger Black African American woman who has interned with 2nd Life Media and KALHRadio.org having come from a large city, I have been intrigued by the dynamics of selfless and selfishness in the Alamogordo community. I’ve witnessed some very caring compassionate and selfless individuals and admire those that persevere in and fight a new day every day for the downtrodden and disadvantaged in Otero County. Your efforts are appreciated, recognized and celebrated by me.

Alternative, I’ve witnessed shades of racism in tone, subliminal, institutionalized and outright, with bias towards women of color, sexism, racism and anti LBGTQ  rhetoric by white women in power in Alamogordo , to a higher degree than any community, I’ve ever visited or worked in in my 38 years on earth.

I’ve seen the keyboard warriors, both female and male, attack the LBGTQ community, those of lower income and organizations and individuals that exemplify positivity, equity and inclusion.

There is deep seated resentment in the Alamogordo community against anything not white controlled, Judeo Christian and conforming to the wishes of a small group of individuals that want to control Alamogordo; from its education system, to the the arts showcased, to which nonprofits are more worthy than others to the podium of city hall. 

The ring leaders of a lot of division are the highest levels of city and county political dynasties, that are afraid of losing their power and influence, due to a spotlight placed upon them,  and the growing influence of people of color, Black,  Hispanic, Native American, Asian and mixed race in Otero County.

I wasn’t going to publish my feelings in this format, I was just going to leave it alone, but as a African American woman with an opportunity to be a voice, I can’t let my feelings fester and leave it alone. 

I came across a recent finding that is icing on the cake as an example of selfish verses selfless to me.

There was an amazingly detailed story on the Tiger Closet and Tiger Care Center featured earlier this week. The staff is compassionate, caring, discreet, outcome focused and yes - Selfless in their support of their mission.

While digging through thousands of pages of IPRA documents for a research project I am doing under my internship, I came across an email that was disturbing to me… 

It wasn’t disturbing because of what it said as much as it was disturbing because of who it came from.

The Mayor of Alamogordo also operates a nonprofit, but she seems to think she and the existing infrastructure is fulfilling the needs of ALL of the economically challenged communities of Alamogordo including all students in need.

God forbid, if a 10 year old child got a meal package from the nonprofit she is affiliated with and possibly one from APS or another organization.

That duplication in services would be unfathomable in her mindset.

She was “stunned” the Hospital Foundation gave a $20,0000 check to the Tiger Hub and NOT to her organization.

Well, I’m stunned that as the mayor of Alamogordo, Mrs. Payne did not congratulate the Tiger Care Center staff on their success in ramping up of the center and celebrate it fulfilling a need with dignity, compassion

The article that highlighted the Tiger Care Centers’s mission highlighted how that $20k was utilized as Christmas Care packages filling a void from another program no longer in existence. The article also highlighted that 195 students are living without a proper home or shelter and thousands more live in poverty and are food insecure, healthcare challenged and 50 did not even have beds to sleep in, if not for the APS system of support via the Tiger Care Center and Hub. The article highlighted a smorgasbord or services and partnerships with nonprofits across the county that work together to provide support for students.

I spoke to my father in Berkeley, about this issue and showed him the letter that we ascertained via public records review.

He was not as surprised as I was. He said it eeks of instructional bias that she is unwilling to confront from her own experiences. She believes her mission is superior to that of anyone else was his assessment.

Her fear of “someone taking advantage of the system speaks to her own experiences from the past and has jaded her. Her words certainly speak loudly of who she is.”

My father survived beatings during the civil rights marches, even after serving our county as a decorated and wounded soldier during Vietnam. He is an American hero and he was as disgusted as I was as I read this email from the mayor of a city.

Selfish or Selfish? The more we do to work together to end poverty the better we become, the more we work together to keep at risk youth in schools the better we become. The larger the social safety net we develop the better we become as a society.

Ms. Payne selfish or selfless? Read the letter and you decide.

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