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Children

Tales From The Parents Of Tortured Palestinian Children

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.

Foundational Fairytales And The Lies They Tell On Books, Children And Truth

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.

Will Our Children Look Forward To The Future With Dignity?:

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.

Abolishing The Family Policing System

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.

Ahmad Manasra And The Crime Of Existing While Palestinian

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.

There Are Hungry People There Are Hungry People

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.

US Boarding School Investigative Report Released

The U.S. Department of Interior released its investigative report Wednesday on the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative. It’s being called the first volume of the report and comes nearly a year after the department announced a “comprehensive” review. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, Bryan Newland, assistant secretary for Indian Affairs, Deborah Parker who is the chief executive officer of the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition and James LaBelle Sr., a boarding school survivor and the first vice president of the coalition's board, spoke at a news conference in Washington announcing the report’s findings. “The consequences of federal Indian boarding school policies—including the intergenerational trauma caused by the family separation and cultural eradication inflicted upon generations of children as young as 4 years old — are heartbreaking and undeniable,” Haaland said in a statement.

We’re Failing To Prepare Our Children For The Climate Fight

Climate change is hurtling forward at frightening speed. And the American K-12 system still isn’t remotely prepared to teach children about what they’ll soon face. Today, the majority of students in U.S. schools get between zero and two hours of instruction per year about climate change—hardly enough time to discuss the political, cultural, and environmental ramifications of greenhouse gas emissions, let alone make space for the emotions elicited by such an existential threat. In some districts, climate education is actually disinformation, as teachers rely on materials created by the fossil fuel industry to mislead children on the origin of the problem and our possible futures.

Cash Assistance Boosted Infants’ Brain Development, Study Shows

When mothers with low incomes received just over $300 in monthly cash assistance during the first year of their children’s lives, their infants’ brains displayed more high-frequency brain waves when they reached 12 months old, a major new study by a team of investigators from six U.S. universities and released this week by the National Academy of Sciences shows. These types of brain waves are associated with higher language and cognitive scores and better social and emotional skills in children as they grow older. The expanded Child Tax Credit, which Congress enacted in 2021 and which expired last month, provided support very much like the cash assistance described in the new paper. The paper is a pathbreaking combination of social science and neuroscience, is methodologically rigorous, and adds heft to the substantial evidence about the difference that extending the Child Tax Credit expansion would make in children’s lives.

Shining Light On The Dark Age Of The Tulalip Boarding School

From 1857 to 1932, hundreds of Native youth from across the state and as far as Alaska were taken to the Tulalip Boarding School. There, they were beaten for speaking their Native languages. They began industrial jobs as elementary age students. They didn’t get to see their parents for ten months of the year, and many of them never came home. The school closed in 1932, and for many families, the wounds are fresh.

Ruth Etzel Speaks Out Ahead Of EPA Whistleblower Hearing

The US Environmental Protection Agency is failing to protect children by ignoring poisons in the environment and focusing on corporate interests, according to a top children’s health official who will testify this week that the agency tried to silence her because of her insistence on stronger preventions against lead poisoning. “The people of the United States expect the EPA to protect the health of their children, but the EPA is more concerned with protecting the interests of polluting industries,” said Ruth Etzel, former director of the EPA’s Office of Children’s Health Protection (OCHP). The harm being done to children is “irreparable”, she said. A hearing will be held on 13 September in which several internal EPA communications will be presented as evidence, including an email in which EPA personnel discuss using press inquiries about Etzel as “an opportunity to strike” out against her. Among many witnesses to be called to testify are several former high-level EPA officials.

Unsafe School Reopenings In US Fuel Surge Of COVID-19 Among Children

The US reported 180,000 child COVID-19 cases in the week ending August 19, a 50 percent increase in just one week, according to the latest report from the American Academy of Pediatrics. There were 120,000 child cases the prior week, and less than 10,000 just two months ago. Even worse, 24 children died of COVID-19 in the same period, twice the previous record set in the week ending August 5. The reopening of schools, more than 60 percent of which have already resumed classes, has led to outbreaks in K-12 institutions throughout the country. Metro Atlanta school districts have reported thousands of cases of COVID-19 among students and staff just weeks into the school year. Gwinnett County, Georgia’s largest school district, reported over 800 active cases of the virus Friday.

Show Children The Green Fields And Let The Sunshine Into Their Minds

Exactly two years ago, I walked with my colleagues from Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research through the Camp Marielle Vive (‘Marielle Lives’) outside of Valinhos in the state of São Paulo, Brazil with a great sense of déjà vu. The camp resembles so many other communities of the desperately poor on our planet. The United Nations calculates that one in eight people on our planet – one billion human beings – live in such precariousness. The homes are made of a jumble of materials: blue tarpaulin sheets and bits of wood, corrugated iron sheets and old bricks. A thousand families live in Camp Marielle Vive, named after the Brazilian socialist Marielle Franco, who was assassinated in March 2018.

Highlighting The Too-Often Invisible Labor Of Mothers, Who Protect Us And Lead Us

This week two major publications were released that highlight public health impacts on people living next to oil and gas operations. The Environmental Health News released their investigation looking at how chemicals associated with oil and gas are present at levels 90 times higher than the average in families’ urine, including samples from children. The New Yorker published “When the Kids Started Getting Sick” by Eliza Griswold, a deep dive on the increase in rare bone cancers in the region.  These articles highlight the reality of so many in our communities, and because they reflect that lived reality, they hit home. For that reason, this blog goes a bit beyond simply providing information. 

‘This Is Hell’: UN Food Chief Visits Yemen

The head of the UN’s World Food Program (WFP) visited Yemen and described the conditions he saw in the country to reporters as “hell.” His visit comes as the UN is warning 400,000 Yemeni children will starve to death in 2021 if conditions do not change. David Beasley described what he saw in a visit to a Yemeni hospital to The Associated Press. “In a children’s wing or ward of a hospital, you know you normally hear crying and laughter. There’s no crying, there’s no laughter, there’s dead silence,” he said. “This is hell. It’s the worst place on earth. And it’s entirely man-made.” The suffering in Yemen is a direct result of the US-backed Saudi-led war that has been raging since March 2015. Besides a vicious bombing campaign that frequently targets civilian infrastructure, including food supplies, the US and Saudi Arabia have been enforcing a blockade on Yemen.
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