it is my deepest hope….

It is my deepest hope that you consider how children have been given the message that they need to speak with a trusted adult whenever they have been inappropriately touched by another or impacted by other classifications of child abuse. In fact, our powerlessness as adults to ensure the safety of our children have put the responsibility for address squarely on the shoulders of the victim…the powerless.

As a retired therapist, I find myself recalling how victims of domestic violence and sexual assault would speak, with tears in their eyes, of the need to remain silent as a way of protecting their families. It is incongruent…an injured soul seeking to protect another’s soul.

And, as evident today, when a victim does speak, she faces such scrutiny that serves to message to those who remain silent that to speak is to add to the negation that already tears into their being. Shamed by the initial act and then shamed again through outsiders with their own agenda.

Look to your children…imagine them being silent to protect you. Listen to your public words…imagine them being said to your children, the young ones who will suffer in silence to shield you from harm.

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lens-artists photo challenge: action

This week’s photo challenge is offered by Patti at P.A. Mood who challenges us to “freeze in action” nature, people, objects, or animals on the move.  Or, she notes “halting” the movements within the sky, or on land, the playing field, or a busy street.

Here is a moment of two young boys interacting with water spouts.

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Sony RX100 III   f/11   1/320s   25.7m   800 ISO

where have all the children gone…

the fleeing bird
turns back to her children
turns back…

~Issa  (www.haikuguy.com)

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Ricoh GX100   f/4.4   1/160s   15.3m   80 ISO

Homelessness

Based on a calculation using the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Education and the 2013 U.S. Census, 2.5 million children in America—one in every 30 children—go to sleep without a home of their own each year.  (cited: America Institutes for Research)

Poverty

While many American families have experienced economic gains in recent years, children are still most likely to live in households too poor to cover their basic needs, according to new research from the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. Using the latest available data from the American Community Survey, NCCP researchers found that children make up around a quarter of the U.S. population, but represent more than a third of the nation’s poorest residents. According to Basic Facts about Low-Income Children, the center’s annual profiles on child poverty in America, some 41 percent (29.8 million) of America’s children were living on the brink of poverty in 2016 — including more than 5 million infants and toddlers under age three.

Lead Poisoning

Today at least 4 million households have children living in them that are being exposed to high levels of lead. There are approximately half a million U.S. children ages 1-5 with blood lead levels above 5 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL), the reference level at which CDC recommends public health actions be initiated.

No safe blood lead level in children has been identified. Lead exposure can affect nearly every system in the body. Because lead exposure often occurs with no obvious symptoms, it frequently goes unrecognized. (cited: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Refugees

The UN Refugee Agency notes that 68.5 million people around the world have been forced from their homes.  Among them are nearly 25.4 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18.

Since 2011, the United States has seen a growing number of children flee to the U.S. without any parent accompanying them. These children, primarily from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, are often fleeing gang violence, trafficking, threats, and extortion, as well as abuse, domestic violence, and poverty. Many are seeking to be reunified with family in the United States. (cited: Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service)

Gun Violence

In 2017, the number of children (age 0-11) killed or injured from gun violence, 735.  The number of teens (age 12-17), 3,249.

In the 175 days of 2018 thus far the number of children (age 0-11) killed or injured, 318. The number of teens (age 12-17), 1,212.

Cited: Gun Violence Archive (GVA)  a not for profit corporation formed in 2013 to provide free online public access to accurate information about gun-related violence in the United States. GVA will collect and check for accuracy, comprehensive information about gun-related violence in the U.S. and then post and disseminate it online.

Puerto Rico

I am unable to find any statistics or reports that write about the status of children who are still living without electricity and clean water, have not attended school, are displaced, lost a parent, or died as a result of Hurricane Maria.  Are they the forgotten…

1997 Crime Prevention and the Ad council, “every day 10 children are killed by gunfire…”

the sounds of children…

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As I sit before my computer, the multiple sounds of children at play come through the open windows of my home and every once in awhile I will hear a toddler cry and for the duration of the distress I too will feel concern.   A single child…

These children have families who are able to afford a country day school and who will spend the night in the safety of their own homes are in sharp contrast to the lives of children now scattered across the United States…miles away from their families.  I cannot fathom an environment of 4-15-50 children crying and calling out for the comfort of an parental embrace.  Cries unheard…

I am totally perplexed at the rationalization, justification, and denial of the decisions and actions of adults, many of whom are parents themselves, to remain deaf to these cries and to deny the bond between parent and child.

The Women’s Refugee Commission has noted:

“Over the past five years, the United States has seen a shift in the demographics of migrants encountered at our borders—from a majority of adult males, often from Mexico, seeking employment, to families, children, grandparents, aunts, and uncles fleeing together, seeking protection in the United States, coming mostly from Central America. Tragically, U.S. immigration enforcement policies, instead of shifting to adapt to this significant change, have continued to try forcing a square peg into a round hole, and in doing so have compounded the vulnerabilities of families and protection-seeking migrants. Instead of promoting family unity, we as a nation are breaking families apart.

[Betraying Family Values]  documents the ways in which family separation is caused, both intentionally and unintentionally, by the U.S. government’s immigration custody and enforcement decisions. It explains how the government’s lack of consistent mechanisms for identifying and tracking family members result in family members being detained or removed separately and often losing contact with each other. Because the Department of Homeland Security and other government agencies currently have little policy guidance on humanitarian considerations during enforcement actions, many families are needlessly torn apart.”

https://www.womensrefugeecommission.org/rights/gbv/resources/1409-resources-for-families-facing-deportation-separation

enlightenment?

An agenda designed to use cruelty against humanity as a means to win an election?  “No!” I silently scream, “how would anyone want to politically benefit from this cloud of torment moving across the United States?”

This question has plagued me since I listened to Rachel Maddow’s coverage, http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow/watch/trump-cruel-to-migrant-kids-to-drive-immigration-political-wedge-1259660867952

Is this an example of how the crumbling of the pillars of society–moral shame and moral fear–gives way to a Stephen Miller’s delight at the public outrage and anger of migrant families being torn apart?

In The Atlantic, McKay Coppins writes that Stephen Miller

“… made it clear to me that he sees immigration as a winning political issue for his boss.

‘The American people were warned—let me [be] sarcastic when I remark on that—[they] were quote-unquote warned by Hillary Clinton that if they elected Donald Trump, he would enforce an extremely tough immigration policy, crack down on illegal immigration, deport people who were here illegally, improve our vetting and screening, and all these other things,’ Miller told me. ‘And many people replied to that by voting for Donald Trump.’

“Skeptics will note that most Americans did not, in fact, vote for Donald Trump, and that polls continue to show widespread disapproval of some of his signature immigration positions. But it doesn’t matter. In Miller’s view of the electoral landscape, the president is winning anytime the country is focused on immigration—polls and bad headlines be damned. (This explains why Miller is, according to Politico, leading an effort within the administration to plan additional crackdowns on immigrants in the months leading up to the midterm elections.)

“Speaking to The New York Times, Miller framed his theory this way: ‘You have one party that’s in favor of open borders, and you have one party that wants to secure the border. And all day long the American people are going to side with the party that wants to secure the border. And not by a little bit. Not 55–45. 60–40. 70–30. 80–20. I’m talking 90–10 on that.’

“Of course, if the goal were simply to draw voters’ attention to the border, there are plenty of ways to do it that are less controversial (not to mention, less cruel) than ripping young children from the arms of asylum seekers and sticking them in dystopian-looking detention centers. But for Miller, the public outrage and anger elicited by policies like forced family separation are a feature, not a bug.

“A seasoned conservative troll, Miller told me during our interview that he has often found value in generating what he calls ‘constructive controversy—with the purpose of enlightenment.‘ This belief traces back to the snowflake-melting and lib-triggering of his youth. As a conservative teen growing up in Santa Monica, he wrote op-eds comparing his liberal classmates to terrorists and musing that Osama bin Laden would fit in at his high school. In college, he coordinated an ‘Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week.’ These efforts were not calibrated for persuasion; they were designed to agitate. And now that he’s in the White House, he is deploying similar tactics.”

Instead of using children as a step ladder, let’s be inspired by the resilience of children, like Amanda Mena, and not succumb to the evil within these bullies.

as I read the news today…

As I read the news from multiple sources about children being taken away from family and placed in detention, I find myself stunned at the denial of harm, the justification of inhumanity, and the rationalization of the negation of compassion, all under the banner of Christian compliance with law.  Whose law?  The law of man?  The law of God?  The law of nature?

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The laws and procedures in place today…are man made.  And thus are to be questioned by all of humanity.  Would you blindly comply with the laws regarding children in 18th century England?

If a child was not sold into employment he or she would inevitably end up homeless and living on the streets, in all manner of weather amongst the raw sewage, rotting animal and vegetable waste, rats, disease, and bad water. Many slum children had to endure filthy conditions as they fought a daily battle for survival.

Age 11: 14 days gaol + 5 years Reformatory for Stealing a Coat
Age 12: 14 days gaol + 5 years Reformatory for Stealing Boots
Age 11: 1 day gaol and whipped, for Stealing Pigeons
Age 9: 1 day gaol and whipped, for Stealing Pigeons [three boys]
Age 13: Trial at the Assizes, accused of Murder
Age 12: 21 days gaol + 5 years Reformatory, for Stealing Money
Age 13: 14 days gaol, for Stealing an Umbrella.

Source: Old Police Cells Museum

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John Greening, age 11 charged with stealing a quarter of gooseberries  (growing). Punishment:  one calendar month of hard labor and five years reformatory.

John Hillesley, age 15 charged with stealing a coat.  Punishment: transportation to a penal colony in a different country.

Joseph Lewis, age 11 charged with simple larceny for stealing 28 pounds of iron.  Punishment:  one calendar month of hard labor.

Source:  The national Archives

Just for a moment image the fear that would have you leave home, family, friends and run to the unknown?  And then…imagine for another moment having your child removed from your arms and not knowing where she is or if you will ever be reunited.

Why are we not guided by the laws of compassion, loving kindness, equanimity…or even empathy?

How to Help Syrian Children From Losing Their Childhood — Thirdeyemom

Seven years later, civil war continues to loom in Syria destroying the world they once knew and tearing families apart. Millions of Syrians are living amidst unimaginable violence and uncertainty. 12 million people, over half of the pre-war Syrian population, are either internally displaced or have had to flee the country in search of safety.…

via How to Help Syrian Children From Losing Their Childhood — Thirdeyemom

the mind becomes…

“To be aware is to be aware of something. When the mind settles on the mountain, it becomes the mountain. When it settles on the sea, it becomes the sea. When we say. ‘know,’ both the known and the knower are included.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh (The Sun My Heart)

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I hope you enjoy hearing this amazing young man sing…