Archive | August 2013

Appreciate and Celebrate Grandparents on National Grandparents Day 2013

grandma having bday

For more than thirty years, we have formally celebrated the role of grandparents in the lives of their grandchildren as a nation. In 1978, the United States Congress passed legislation proclaiming the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day. President Jimmy Carter signed the proclamation. This year, National Grandparents Day will fall on Sunday, September 8th. Now more than ever before, we should celebrate grandparents and the expanding role they are playing in the lives of their grandchildren.

National Grandparent’s Day was founded to champion the cause of lonely elderly persons residing in nursing homes and to persuade their grandchildren to tap into the wisdom and heritage their grandparents could provide. It has grown to be a special day for all to celebrate the roles grandparents play in the family unit. Don’t forget to honor your grandparents on National Grandparents Day, Sunday, September 12th.

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

Actualizing Dr. Martin Luther King’s Dream

holding hands around globe

Fifty years ago today, on August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called for racial equality and an end to discrimination. Dr. Martin Luther King,Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech, from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, was a defining moment of the American Civil Rights Movement.

In commemoration of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Justice, President Barack Obama will be speaking to the nation on August 28, 2013 from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Other speakers include Martin Luther King III, Rev. Al Sharpton, Attorney General Eric Holder, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, and Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia have spoken at the March.

Many of the speakers at the March on Washington addressed race relations in optimistic terms, describing America’s progress as encouraging but incomplete, but they also delved at times into more controversial fare like the Supreme Court’s recent decision overturning parts of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

Dr. King inspired millions across the world with the delivery of his famous speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The monumental event and the organizing that followed helped lead to the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act – legislation that helped reshape our country and the economy.

In 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech was delivered to over 200,000 civil rights supporters,the speech was ranked the top American speech of the 20th century by a 1999 poll of scholars of public address. Dr. King opened his speech by saying “I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.” But in the words of Dr. King on that historic day 50 years ago, “…1963 is not the end, but a beginning…” Enormous strides have been made but much work remains to be done to actualize Dr. King’s dream.

We saw the end of Jim Crow. We have seen African Americans, Latinos, women, and others gain access to jobs and education they were previously denied. In 1963, 42 percent of African Americans lived below the poverty line. In 2011,the percentage African Americans that lived below the poverty line dropped to 27 percent. But we are NOT done yet.

In 2013, there is a growing gap of inequality in this country. In 1963, the unemployment rate for black Americans was 10.9 percent; for whites, it was 5 percent. Today, the unemployment rate for black Americans is 14 percent; for whites, it is 6.6 percent. With that being said, more African Americans are unemployed today than they were when Rev. King issued his clarion call for jobs and justice.

While Black unemployment remains disproportionately high, the right-wing legislators are readying themselves to fight for more cuts to the social safety net when Congress resumes next month. And, despite evidence of widespread, coordinated attacks on voter freedom, two months ago the US Supreme Court gutted key protections of the Voting Rights Act, the signature achievement of the Civil Rights Movement. As previously stated, though we have come a long way, we still have so much work left to do. These modern injustices demand a modern approach to racial justice organizing.

As Congress debates the federal budget this September, we need to make sure they are doing all they can to create jobs and grow the middle class. EVERYONE deserves an opportunity to succeed.

This year, make your greatest demonstration of freedom—- your vote. Take action that can and will change the future. If you are not already registered, get registered to vote. Seize the opportunity to cast your vote.

Last year, hard won voting rights have been under attack throughout the country. Although court wins in 2012 in the states of Florida, Texas, and Ohio have turned back some of these efforts, other challenges remain and much education and outreach is needed to overcoming the damage that remains from laws enacted precisely for the purpose of making it much harder for millions to register and vote.

As was aptly stated by President Johnson when discussing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, “The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men.”

Each election day, vote and take a friend with you to help them exercise their right to determine the destiny of our nation. Your vote can be decisive, stand up, speak out, be heard— cast your vote!

Let freedom ring in 2013.

Sources: CBS News. Christian Science Monitor. Wikipedia. 9-5 Action Alert. 50th Anniversary March on Washington website. FAIR SHARE Action Alert

Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art

Child Abuse Prevention & Neglect

children walking to school

Recognizing the alarming rate at which children are abused and neglected, the need for innovative programs to prevent child abuse, and the importance of assisting families affected by maltreatment, the month of April was designated at National Child Abuse Prevention Month in 1983 by Presidential Proclamation. Since then, child abuse and neglect awareness activities have been promoted across the country.

With the goal of strengthening families, child abuse and neglect awareness activities are promoted across the country during April. In April, communities should seize the opportunity to help keep children safe, provide the requisite support families need to stay together, and raise children and youth to be happy, secure, and stable adults. The Child Welfare League (CWLA) gives guidance on activities that each of us can take to help prevent child abuse and neglect. Here is CWLA’s list of ten actions that we can take to help prevent child abuse.

Ten Things You Can Do

Volunteer your time. After-school activities, parent education classes, mentoring programs, and respite care are some of the many ways to keep children safe from harm. Be a voice in support of these efforts in your community.

Discipline your children thoughtfully. Remember that discipline is a way to teach your child. Use privileges to encourage good behavior and time-outs to help your child regain control. Both words and actions can inflict deep, lasting wounds.

Support prevention programs.

Know what child abuse is, and what the signs are. Physical and sexual abuse clearly constitute maltreatment, but so does neglect, or the failure of parents or other caregivers to provide a child with needed food, clothing, and care. Children can also be emotionally abused when they are rejected, berated, or continuously isolated.

Report abuse. If you witness a child being harmed or see evidence of abuse, or if a child tells you about abuse, make a report to your state’s child protective services department or local police.

Invest in kids. Encourage leaders in the community to be supportive of children and families. Ask employers to provide family-friendly work environments. Ask your local and national lawmakers to support legislation to better protect our children and to improve their lives.

Write, visit, fax, phone, or e-mail your elected officials.

Participate in ceremonies to memorialize children. Read the names of children lost to violence in your state, hold a candlelight vigil, or host an event at your state capital to remember those children who were lost to violence.

Raise public awareness.

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

Cyberstalking

Serious Computer UsersThe Growing Prevalence of Cyberstalking

The prevalence of stalking is increasing. The Bureau of Justice Statistics indicates that 3.4 million persons over 18 were victims of stalking in a one-year period. Baum et al, Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report, National Crime Victimization Survey, Stalking Victimization in the United States (January 2009).

More than 1 in 4 stalking victims reported some form of cyberstalking was used, such as e-mail (83%) or instant messaging (35%). In response to the growing prevalence of cyberstalking, the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence provides training and written articles (See STOP Newsletter, Summer 2009) to demonstrate how technology is misused to stalk victims.

If you have any questions or training needs on stalking and technology, you can visit the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s website at http://www.pcadv.org.

Sources: Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence. STOP Newsletter, Summer 2009. Baum et al, Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report, National Crime Victimization Survey, Stalking Victimization in the United States (January 2009).

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

Stalking

Pain

Stalking is an increasing problem. Stalking is defined as “a course of conduct directed at a specific person that involves repeated (two or more occasions) visual or physical proximity, nonconsensual communication, or verbal, written, or implied threats, or a combination thereof, that would cause a reasonable person fear” (Tjaden and Thoennes,1998).

Stalking behaviors also may include persistent patterns of leaving or sending the victim unwanted items or presents that may range from seemingly romantic to bizarre, following or laying in wait for the victim, damaging or threatening to damage the victim’s property, defaming the victim’s character, or harassing the victim via the Internet by posting personal information or spreading rumors about the victim. As part of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2005, Congress extended the Federal interstate stalking statute to include cyberstalking (18 U.S.C. §2261 A).

The overwhelming majority of stalking victims are women (78 percent), and the majority of offenders (87 percent) are men. Nearly 60 percent of women and 30 percent of men are stalked by a current partner (Tjaden and Thoennes, 1998). The Bureau of Justice Statistics indicates that 3.4 million persons over 18 were victims of stalking in a one-year period. Baum et al, Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report, National Crime Victimization Survey, Stalking Victimization in the United States (January 2009). More than 1 in 4 stalking victims reported some form of cyberstalking was used, such as e-mail (83%) or instant messaging (35%). Id. at

In Ms. Magazine’s Blog, Shawna Kenney wrote a very informative post entitled, When Domestic Violence Enters Cyberspace. In the post Shawna aptly states that,”… technology adds a new element of fear to an abused person’s psyche. Haters spew malicious comments beneath YouTube videos, hiding behind screens and usernames; some make thinly-veiled death threats from the perceived safety of their blogs.” To read her compelling blog post, visit Ms. Magazine’s website at http://www.msmagazine.com.

Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art

Marches on Washington

Crowd NCADV
This weekend, a national celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington is being held in Washington, DC on Saturday August 24th. Also this weekend, there is a feeder march of activists who are organizing against racial profiling, police terror, and mass incarceration.

The feeder march in support of the national celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington is made up of many long-standing community activists recently brought together by the nationwide protests of the Zimmerman verdict and the recent findings of the Washington Lawyers Committee study on racist arrest patterns in DC. The feeder rally is being organized to draw attention to racial profiling in DC. All persons who are engaged in similar struggles against the police terror and mass incarceration are encouraged to join in the march. People are assembling at Farragut Square (17th & I St. NW — near Farragut West and Farragut North Metro stops) at 9 AM and then at 10:30 AM march down 17th St. to join the national commemoration at the Lincoln Memorial.

For the feeder march, the confirmed speakers and participating groups include: Etan Thomas (former Washington Wizard), Shujaa Graham (exonerated death row prisoner), Yusef Salaam (Central Park Five), Stuart Anderson (Friends and Families of Incarcerated People), Jonathan Stith (Malcolm X Grassroots Movement), Seema Sadanandan (DC ACLU), Jazz Hayden (Campaign to End the New Jim Crow), Jamal Muhammad, We Act Radio, Collective Power DC, Campaign to End the Death Penalty, Jobs Not Jails, PG People’s Coalition, ISO, and many others. Come support the struggle for justice and human dignity.

Source(s): The Campaign to End the Death Penalty

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

Victim Blaming

Building Bridges

What barriers does an abused person face when attempting to end a violent relationship? The complexity of the legal system and the absence of legal assistance cause some victims to stay in an abusive relationship. By understanding of the importance of the access to legal information, assistance, and often representation for battered women, many legal advocates have sought to enhance the accessibility to legal services for victims of domestic violence for much of her career.

“Why doesn’t the victim just leave?” In response, legal advocates say, “Most victims want to leave and many try. Even under the best of circumstances, leaving a relationship is difficult. Violent relationships are complex; and victims in these relationships are faced with many barriers to leaving. These barriers include the lack of knowledge of: civil and criminal protections afforded to them under the law as well as available legal resources. Additionally, the abusive partner occasionally uses intimidation and/or violence to stop the victim from severing the relationship. As a result, victims often fear retaliation for ending the relationship.”

Legal advocates asserts that, “Victims often stay, because they fear that the abuser will find her and kill/harm her, the children, other relatives, or friends. They stay with the hopes that the violence will end, because they are financially dependent on the abuser, lack alternative housing, or are trying to keep the family together. They stay hoping change is possible. It takes strength and determination to survive violence. However, as time goes on, surviving an abusive relationship becomes more difficult.” This fact is particularly true for economically disadvantaged battered women and abused women with disabilities.

Legal advocates have sought to enhance access to legal services for this particularly vulnerable population by understanding of the importance of legal information, assistance, and representation for many battered women, particularly those who are indigent, homeless, and/or disabled. Domestic violence agencies have launched and/or expanded on legal service programs that assist clients in negotiating legal and other challenges that might arise as they seek to eliminate domestic violence from their lives. These very necessary programs assist survivors of domestic violence to build long-term safety and security for themselves and their children.”

For information about available legal services and other programs for victims of domestic violence in your community, please visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline website at http://www.thehotline.org.

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art