About six years ago, AMOS asked families what kept them up at night. Parents said they needed services for children in mental health crises.
“Kids were waiting months to see a therapist. They were not getting what they need from a system designed for adults,” said Crystal Loving, of First Unitarian Church. A child in the midst of a mental health crisis would be handcuffed, put in the backseat of a police car, and enter the juvenile justice system rather than get the mental health care that was needed."
Silicon Valley Sponsoring Committee leaders led a night walk on April 26th with San Jose Vice-Mayor Rosemary Kamei and local police. The leaders advocated for more lighting, a broader police presence, and a commitment from the city to invest in the neighborhood. During the walk, Vice-mayor Kamei pledged that she and her office will work toward addressing the issues.
Also in attendance were West San Jose neighborhood leader Roberta Witte and HOA Vice President Diane Martino.
[Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]
Two parishioners from Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart in Ankeny collaborated with others to move bureaucratic mountains to create a plan that helps children suffering mental health crises.
Jan Brown and Sue Murphy said their faith plus a passion for helping people in pain fueled their drive to fill a gap in health care in the Des Moines area....
“It wasn’t charity, it was justice,” Brown said.
Brown and Murphy along with representatives of AMOS... did research, talked to families, visited with hospital officials and legislators and built the political will to figure out a new system...
Now they’re trying to ensure that it has long-term funding and that there are counselors who can meet the need of the community including refugees and immigrants who call central Iowa home.
Brown said: “That’s our goal is to listen to concerns of families and improve the communities we live in.”
Rev. Carissa Baldwin-McGinnis of Northside Episcopal Church said church groups are seeing a lot of children across Houston experiencing trauma — and even grief — as normalcy and friendships are lost because of COVID-19 and all the events that have come before it.
Baldwin-McGinnis is an executive committee member for The Metropolitan Organization, a nonprofit that brings faith-based groups together to influence policymakers’ decisions. The organization is currently working to raise awareness for the food and housing needs low-income and minority communities are facing during the pandemic.
“We know that the nervous system of children gets extra triggered when there are multiple experiences of complex trauma,” Baldwin-McGinnis said. “If they’ve had losses in the past, they’re less able to regulate their emotions, they have higher levels of anxiety … (and) you can get all kinds of crazy behavior including higher aggression.”
[Photo by Brett Coomer, Houston Chronicle]
Reaction to President Trump’s executive order on the separation of immigrant families has been swift, with most community groups and elected officials opposing the “zero tolerance” policy.
Trump made the announcement that he was changing policy on Wednesday, June 20, which was designated World Refugee Day by the United Nations. He directed the Department of Homeland Security not to separate families as they await immigration proceedings.
The Industrial Areas Foundation, the nation’s oldest network of Broad Based Community Organizations, with over 75 organizations throughout the United States representing hundreds of thousands of families, issued this statement:
“The Trump Administration needs to immediately stop and desist from further separation of immigrant children and their parents, quickly reunite those 2,000 family members, and begin a humane approach to border security and immigration reform. While the president may soon reverse part of this policy, it is important that the victimized children be cared for respectfully and appropriately, including inspection of the detention facilities by local clergy and health providers.”
Fr. Kevin Collins, OMI, of Valley Interfaith-IAF, and pastor of St. Eugene de Mazenod Church in Brownsville, Texas, said: “The ‘zero tolerance’ immigration policy promulgated by the Attorney General and the Trump Administration is nothing short of cruel. It is un-American to separate children from their parents.” Collins is pictured [right].
Rabbi John Linder, of Valley Interfaith Project-IAF and Senior Rabbi of Temple Solel of Paradise Valley, Arizona, said:
“Forcibly taking children from their mothers and fathers, is nothing short of government-sanctioned child abuse. Where will this stop? Children in cages, tent cities. What’s next? Every elected official at the local, state, and national level must tell the administration that this brutality cannot be tolerated. The lack of political will on all sides for balanced, comprehensive immigration reform is responsible for this mess. Children are never to be used as political pawns. The Trump Administration has crossed a moral line.”
Fr. Mike Walsh of Holy Trinity Parish in Dallas, TX, with Dallas Area Interfaith-IAF, said:
“It’s stunning that we are perpetrating something so horrible for families. This is the 21st century, and our government is placing children in penned cages. We’re a better country than this.”
Maria Elena Manzo, leader with Communities Organized for Relational Power in Action (COPA), in Salinas, California, said:
“Virtually every moral voice and authority is denouncing these administrative actions. This is horrifying. What can be more sacred than the family? It is torture to take children away from their parents.”
Full Statement Here
Trump Caves, Plenty of Reaction, Rio Grande Guardian [pdf]
*** *** *** *** ***
At a COPS/Metro Alliance assembly on June 18, San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller called the separation of immigrant families at the border "immoral", "evil" and "sinful."
[Top Image Credit: NOWCastSA footage]
How Catholics are Helping Immigrant Children Separated from their Parents, America [pdf]
Catholic Bishops Across US Condemn Separation of Migrant Children, America [pdf]
San Antonio Archbishop Calls Separation of Families Immoral, Evil and Sinful, NOWCastSA [pdf]
$500 thousand has been allocated to pay for lab tests, radiology and pharmacy services -- things generally unaffordable for residents concentrated in the agriculture or hospitality industry. The purpose is to prevent future visits to the county hospital's emergency room. The Episcopal Diocese estimates that between 1,200 and 2,000 uninsured undocumented county residents will be eligible for the program. According to Canon Jesus Reyes:Read more
Later that night, one dozen leaders spoke in support of specific priorities including a wage increase to $13.03 for all adult city employees, including part-time temporary workers; investment in Capital IDEA training; after-school programming; investments in branch libraries; improved park facilities and more.Read more
The Rio Grande Guardian reports:Read more
TMO Lyons Elementary parents won an 8 - 1 Houston Independent School District board vote against proposed boundary changes to their school. The changes would have sent students from one of the top ranked schools in the state to one ranked in the lowest 18% statewide. Parent leaders signed up 600 petitioners opposed to the change to convince board members that this was a bad idea.Read more
United Way of Santa Cruz County recognized the organization's efforts (and its collaboration with Community Foundation and 1st 5 nonprofits) with an "Advocacy Award" for COPA leadership (pictured above).