Category Archives: Saving Our Children

A Little Less Self-Congratulations — A Little More Work

2016-02-01 18 09 10Earlier today the LDS Church’s Newsroom issued a news release entitled, “Effectiveness of Church Approach to Preventing Child Abuse,” which contained these statements:

The Church has long had a highly effective approach for preventing and responding to abuse. In fact, no religious organization has done more. Although no one system is perfect and no single program will work with every organization, the Church’s approach is the gold standard.

I take issue with those statements.

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Tamir Rice’s Death Was Not the Result of “The Perfect Storm”

tamir-riceToday we learned that the police officer who killed Tamir Rice will not be indicted for his murder. When explaining the decision not to indict, Cuyahoga County prosecutor Tim McGinty said,

“Simply put, given this perfect storm of human error, mistakes and miscommunications by all involved that day, the evidence did not indicate criminal conduct by police.”

So…the Perfect Storm caused Tamir’s demise, eh? I’ve been sitting with that, and here’s the conclusion I’ve reached: Continue reading

We Are All Connected

Several years ago, I was working as a 9th grade World Geography teacher, and I somehow got involved in a conversation about economically disadvantaged students. I remember one colleague going on and on about how “those kids” were a drain on community resources and how we as teachers shouldn’t have to be responsible for students who clearly don’t want to be at school, and whose parents are not supportive of their children’s educational needs. I remember sitting quietly for a while and taking it in before asking her whether she thought our collective shunning of “those kids” would have any negative impact on her life personally. She immediately said that it absolutely would not have any effect on her life, and that we should just send those kids home and let them lie in the beds they were making for themselves. She went so far as to say that kids like that LIKE living in poverty because they don’t know any better, and that attempts to pull them out of the cycle would be fruitless because when things got hard they would just revert to what they have known from birth. At this point, I got angry. Continue reading

Remembering Tamir Rice

tamir rice

Several months ago, much to the dismay of my two young sons, I imposed a No Toy Guns policy in our house. On a particularly upsetting night, I ceremoniously marched an armload of NERF and water guns out to the big trash can, plopped them down into the receptacle’s slimy, stinky depths, and shut the lid, effectively ending the ongoing “but what if I don’t ever point them at anyone and I only shoot at non-living things” debate that had long been a source of hope for them and wariness for me. I told them it was because they shoot at their little sisters and make them cry, and that was definitely part of my concern. But, if I’m honest, I would have to throw away virtually all of their toys if I tossed out everything that made someone cry, got used as a weapon, or was misused in a way that was potentially harmful to someone’s health. So, no, the No Toy Guns policy was not instituted solely to protect my little girls from the evils of the foam-tipped NERF bullet. Continue reading

For Those Left Behind

Let’s talk about supporting the women and children left behind when a man goes to prison, shall we? Today seems like a good day to do it. I didn’t sleep much last night, and I woke from my fitful rest with a heavy heart and a mind full of memories. Yesterday two families experienced a tragedy – one man’s life lost and another man’s life forever altered as the result of a deadly fight. Continue reading

See Global. Act Local.

Iraqi refugee children in Damascus, Syria (wikimedia)

Iraqi refugee children, Damascus, Syria (wikimedia)

Thursday morning I woke to the sound of a message hitting my phone. My co-founder at Torchlight Legal had forwarded a text from another friend: “Let me know what I can do to help with Torchlight. The Syrian boy has broken my heart.”

I recognized the original sender as someone he’d talked to about supporting our work improving access to legal counsel and other resources for asylum-seekers.

Slightly puzzled, I googled “Syrian boy”. Still in pajamas and curled up under my down comforter, I was shoved out of the lingering haze of sleep by the images that have awakened so much of the world to a huge part of the global refugee crisis.

There are currently 60 million refugees and displaced persons in the world, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). More than half of these individuals are children. Continue reading

The Color of Grief is the Color of My Child

**This guest post comes to us courtesy of Sylvia Cabus. Sylvia Cabus is a Filipina-American who joined the Church at the age of 27, currently teaches RS with a subversive feminist bent, and lives in Washington DC with a patient husband and a son who celebrates both Ramadan and Pioneer Day. She has lived and worked in Africa for 20+ years and has a strong testimony that “Hilarity Never Faileth.”**

The heartbreaking photo of the Syrian toddler lost to the sea is one of the searing images that have entered into the same gallery as the young girl burned by napalm and the hooded figure of Abu Ghraib. It is an image that, for the moment, has galvanized and shocked ordinary citizens into action.

When I look at the photo, my gut wrenches. I have a little boy the same age, who wears the same kind of outfit, whose wonder and energy delight me at every turn, as I’m sure the Syrian boy did for his parents. My little boy even looks Mediterrean, thanks to his Moroccan father.

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