The unilateral coercive measures have a physical and a psychological component, and that’s why we talk about a “5th generation war.” In addition to the damage to people’s bodies, particularly the bodies of children and adolescents, so-called sanctions are part of a colonial endeavor in which the colonists feel entitled to dictate the lives of others. Additionally, the use of the term “sanctions” implies that if someone or some country is targeted, it must be because they did something wrong. So what is our sin? To struggle for our liberty and our independence as a nation. During the 2015 to 2019 period, even UNICEF bought into the US government’s discourse. They would say: It’s okay to sanction the Venezuelan government, but children should be protected. But that is simply not possible!
There are very brave Palestinian journalists. Thirty-nine of them have been killed since this bombing began. They are heroes. So are the doctors and nurses in your hospitals. So are the U.N. workers. Eighty-nine of whom have died. So are the ambulance drivers and the medics. So are the rescue parties that lift up the slabs of concrete with their hands. So are the mothers and fathers who shield you from the bombs. But we are not there. Not this time. We cannot get in. We are locked out. Reporters from all over the world are going to the border crossing at Rafah. We are going because we cannot watch this slaughter and do nothing. We are going because hundreds of people are dying a day, including 160 children. We are going because this genocide must stop.
Early last December, CBS Sunday Morning ran a 12-minute segment about the harms of the child welfare system. The report led with the story of Vanessa Peoples, a Colorado nursing student and mother of three who became the subject of an abuse investigation after her two-year-old briefly wandered away from a family picnic. A stranger saw the child and called the police, despite the fact that Peoples, who is Black, caught up with her son shortly afterward. The call initiated an investigation from child protective services (CPS). A month later, a social worker made an unannounced visit to Peoples’ home.
Researchers have been documenting the benefits of outdoor playtime for years, demonstrating it leads to improved cognitive ability, fights childhood obesity, improves mental health and promotes social skills. Yet, for far too many children, safe, well-designed playspaces are sorely lacking. This phenomenon is called playspace inequity, and it has lasting, detrimental effects on primarily Black and Brown communities in the United States. Cities around the country are recognizing the importance of playspace inequity as a public health issue, particularly as families emerge from a pandemic with wide-ranging physical and mental health impacts.
On March 13, 2023, President Biden approved the Willow project, an oil drilling venture by the large crude oil producer, ConocoPhillips, occurring on Alaska’s North Slope. The proposed drilling area is believed to hold 600 million barrels of oil, which will be extracted from three different drill pads. While there is no exact date for the project to begin, construction is set to commence at any time and will continue for decades. The detrimental climate impact is by far the project’s most severe effect. However, the media is ignoring a crucial factor: the drill site sits next to the Nuiqsut tribe, an Inupiaq community that strongly opposes the Willow project.
Venezuelan human rights organization Fundalatin recently announced the death of Gabriel Cisneros, a Venezuelan child who could not receive a liver transplant because Washington’s murderous sanctions continue to paralyze the state-funded program that covered these procedures. Gabriel is sadly one more in a long list of victims of the US economic war. The Simón Bolívar Foundation is the social program of US-based Venezuelan oil subsidiary CITGO. It was created in 2006 by former President Hugo Chávez to help patients with rare cancers, especially children with leukemia, receive transplants and other life-saving treatments in hospitals abroad when these were not available in the country. However, financial sanctions imposed in 2017 against Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA, CITGO’s parent company, blocked the Venezuelan government from using the international financial system, thus impeding payments for kids' treatments.
Tahlequah – Constitutionality of the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act is the focus of an upcoming U.S. Supreme Court review in which the Cherokee Nation and other tribes will play supporting roles. The federal ICWA legislation, promoted for decades as a means of preserving Native families and culture, gives Native American families priority in foster care and adoption proceedings involving Native children. Chad and Jennifer Brackeen, of Texas, initiated a lawsuit in 2017 alleging that the ICWA is unconstitutional. Since then, the case has worked its way through the lower courts. In late February, the Supreme Court agreed to review the case based upon petitions from both sides. Arguments are scheduled to take place Nov. 9.
Many children in the United States will never meet a Palestinian in person, and if they do, they may need to overcome the negative images and stereotypes that pervade popular culture: terrorist, religious extremist, misogynist, etc. For this reason, books are a critical if underused opportunity for kids to learn about the people of Palestine. Palestinians are important because they are human beings, and also because they play a central role in US foreign policy in the Middle East, and are a major focus of US financial and military resources. If US kids are to grow up to be responsible global citizens, they must understand Palestinian experiences and perspectives, among others. Are US kids getting good insight about Palestinians from books? My ongoing research project examining kids’ books involving Palestine has already yielded some interesting findings: Even the youngest children are subjected to narratives that erase Palestinians.
Boston, MA - According to Jean-Luc Pierite, President of the Board of the North American Indian Center of Boston (NAICOB), “We want to show our solidarity today with all those internationally observing Orange Shirt Day. We must honor the thousands of children who were forced into residential schools where they suffered and too often died. The governments of Canada and the United States continue to take a disproportionate number of Indigenous children into foster care. These governments further fail to address access to clean water on tribal lands. Canada and the US continue to boost pipelines and other extractive projects. Meanwhile the crisis of Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women goes underreported and under-investigated.”
Beit Hanina, Occupied Jerusalem – The United States House of Representatives submission to Israel and Zionism is both pathetic and enraging. This total submission to the will and interests of the Zionist movement and the State of Israel does not serve the interests of the American people, and only goes to support a state that has been recognized as a racist, violent apartheid regime. As one Palestinian said to me recently, U.S. foreign aid for Israel goes towards my oppression and the killing of my people. Nowhere is Congress’ blind support for Israel more heinous, more horrifying and more outrageous than the lack of support for the bill proposed by Representative Betty McCollum and known as, “Defending The Human Rights Of Palestinian Children And Families Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act”, or HR 2590.
There used to be a time in occupied America when only whites were allowed to write, read, and publish books. In fact, when Europeans started occupying the continent in 1492, one of the first things they did was burn the thousands of existing books Indigenous people had written in an attempt to destroy peoples' existing relationship with books and their contained knowledges. According to those initial colonizers, destroying the written ensured we lost access to writing, to our ways of thinking, and to centuries-old acquired knowledges on mathematics, medicine, astronomy, maps, history, plant science, poetry, literatures, and even tax-records. Only four books survived the first 100 years of the occupation, in the entire continent.
The world is adrift in the tides of hunger and desolation. It is difficult to think about education, or anything else, when your children are not able to eat. And yet, the sharp attack on education during this past decade forces us to consider the kind of future that young people will inherit. In 2018, before the pandemic, the United Nations calculated that 258 million, or one in six, school age children were out of school. By March 2020, the start of the pandemic, UNESCO estimated that 1.5 billion children and youth were affected by school closures; a staggering 91% of students worldwide had their education disrupted by the lockdowns. A new UN study released in June 2022 has found that the number of children experiencing distress in their education has nearly tripled since 2016, rising from 75 million to 222 million today.
My passion for the fight to abolish oppressive policing systems – especially the family policing system (also known as the “child welfare system”) – is fueled by my personal experience of having my two children ripped from me in 1999. The two and a half year fight to regain custody, the many additional investigations after my children were returned to me and my learning through research what communities were being impacted by the family police and outcome of the children they claim to protect. The family policing system can completely destroy people’s lives. After I reunited with my children, I knew other parents and families were experiencing the same harm I had experienced, and I knew I had to do something to change that.
Conversations with Palestinians both young and old almost always end with them saying to me, “you [a Jewish Israeli] can say these things, but if we were to say them we would be excluded from all spaces and we would be called anti-semitic.” A young Palestinian interning in Washington, D.C. told me she felt that she needed an Israeli beside her to give her legitimacy. Not in her own eyes, but in the eyes of the D.C. establishment. Sadly, she is probably correct; in the anti-Arab, and particularly anti-Palestinian atmosphere in Washington, this is very likely true.
The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) reports that, every minute, a child is pushed into hunger in fifteen countries most ravaged by the global food crisis. Twelve of these fifteen countries are in Africa (from Burkina Faso to Sudan), one is in the Caribbean (Haiti), and two are in Asia (Afghanistan and Yemen). Wars without end have degraded the ability of the state institutions in these countries to manage cascading crises of debt and unemployment, inflation and poverty. Joining the two Asian countries are the states that make up the Sahel region of Africa (especially Mali and Niger), where the levels of hunger are now almost out of control. As if the situation were not sufficiently dire, an earthquake struck Afghanistan last week, killing over a thousand people – yet another devastating blow to a society where 93% of the population has slipped into hunger.