You say you love your children…
(created 2019; partial update August, 2022)
For every parent and politician who says they are fighting for children and our future, you should ask them (yourself), “But, are you fight for their success or your own?’
I’d argue that buying them a bullet resistant vest or backpack(which won’t stop the bullets coming from the weapons of choice for mass shooters) is not fighting FOR your kid’s safety. I’ll suggest that the internalized trauma of telling a child to hide from active shooters is not the back-to-school lessons that we should want for kids. Is the impact of any of this being measured via the Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) test tool? is working AGAINST them. Adults won’t challenge those they’ve elected/hired to operate in the best interest of their constituents. Repeat after me: MORE guns are NOT making us safer! Politicians, preachers, parents, principals and police who spread that gospel are false & dangerous prophets. Sadly, the hurt inflicted upon our youth, when allowed to fester, is causing some to inflict hurt upon others.
It’s increasingly unsafe to go shopping, worship or dining outdoors, due to political game-playing. Years of stalling and inaction have brought us to this more vulnerable place. Actions 5–10–20 years ago could have made a difference today. Inaction has led to more traumatized parents, pupils, police & communities. Teachers didn’t study & graduate to teach children to hide under desks & in “fortified” closets, in they event an active shooter enters their places of learning. A March for Our Lives and other amazing groups like Cities United, are working across the country to support peers, activate and mobilize to correct the sins of too many parents and their parent’s parents & politicians.
Another threat to our youth is climate change. Youth represent the planet’s future and youth activism & civic engagement embodies awesome steps in the right direction. Youth are challenging politicians, who stupidly attempt to dismiss them. The global action of young people fighting for earth with the Youth Climate Strike is impressive. I hope these students — most of whom are ineligible to vote — get the attention of their parents and grandparents and other voting family members. If their loved ones really loved them, they will demand elected officials vote to combat climate change & legislate to curb pollution. Young activists are mobilizing again; like they did for gun safety. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s daughter started her own civic engagement. Like mother, like daughter.
We must correct and/or replace present-day leaders who are harming our future with biased, yet politically supported, present-day policies.
It’s no mystery that many of the climate & racism deniers are Republicans and/or profit-seeking corporations and lobbyists from any party. Unfortunately, many of those politicians are the same folk who offer up thoughts and prayers in response to mass shootings. Their political scripts & strategies are false, fictional and, too often, fatal.America used to lead in solutions, now it contributes to the problems. We now validate reversing climate solutions and set bad domestic policies — and inspire domestic terrorism.
Climate Change Is Real & Racist, too
The harmful effects of climate change can be calculated by region & race.
Pollution has a race problem, too. We must call that out as well. Wealth often drowns out the needs of those with less. Being responsive to the needs of the poor is part of the climate change fight, too. No human body should be subjected to toxins. And, pollution left in under-resources spaces will seep elsewhere.
Children shouldn’t have to march for better policies. But, they are taking the lead, because adults (politicians & many voters) aren’t making responsible choices. Who are the parents, who sign permission slips to allow their kids to leave class to address climate change, voting for? What were the dinnertime conversations that day? Did the kids return home to agnostic guardians? Did the millions of youth & older allies, who marched for our lives, help shift elections last November?
Profit over People?
School administrators are making some interesting choices to balance shrinking school budgets. But, are they addressing the possible impact to the students & staffs who attend? This story of a possible link between a school cell tower and a child cancer swarm cannot be ignored. We often fail to interrogate unintended consequences, when we chase the dollar.
Most agree that our environment matters, yet, seemingly good choices can have bad consequences. Those who politically deny these truths don’t really care about us. Historic storms & droughts & floods jolt the planet and our lives. Yet, some folks; including elected officials; will dismiss these truths. Some just offer thoughts and prayers as a solution. It’s not enough.
‘A powerful and frightening experience:’ UMBC’s Freeman Hrabowski recalls King’s call for the Children’s Crusade of 1963
“Us kids, we are the only ones who are doing anything recognizing that our future is at stake,” Haven Coleman, youth activist of today
In December, 2018, 15-year-old Swede Greta Thunberg gave a brief but authentically impassioned speech at the UN Climate Change COP24 Conference. Other young people were there — fully committed to addressing climate change. Trump, who pulled American out of the Paris Accord, stayed home.
Be clear and full-throated: climate change & pollution are linked and are a global AND national emergency that we cannot ignore.
Vive la Révolution
The citizens of France have been holding weekly protests around the country — French Revolution 2.0. They wear the yellow vests, because all citizens are urged to keep those vests in their vehicles and to wear them in case of an emergency. They see an emergency in the bad policies of their leader, Emmanuel Macron. The protests are having an impact.
Yes, we protest, but not weekly. We are not holding elected officials accountable with a steady drumbeat after we put the signs down.
Not enough of us are doing what those in the Movement for Black Lives have been doing. Few have the weekly commitment that 13-year-old Alexandria Villasenor has demonstrated. And, who has the tenacity to keep up a White House vigil for 32 years, like Concepcion Picciotto did until her death?
What’s happening AFTER the marches matters the most. Calling elected officials (202–224–3121), writing them or visiting their offices in Washington or the district offices is a small inconvenience that we won’t do. So, young people march — globally — for safety and our climate.
We can learn from the youth; they will be tomorrow’s elders. We can learn from our past Freedom Fighters and today’s protesters in Hong Kong and around the world. They see the failings of today’s elders and most are determined to not repeat the mistakes. They aren’t just protesting for themselves, either. A change in environmental or gun policy has wider implications. Victories have global ramifications — good OR bad. We will all lose without sustained & collective action for a better world. We must resolve to demand better, vote better & live with one another better. The earth & our global neighbors & our children are counting on us. Our children are, also, leading and teaching us. But, now, our children are hurting because of the actions — AND INACTIONS — of adults. Those who are causing pain are in the home and in our school boards, city halls, state houses and Congress. Too many have ignored decades of pain they’ve suffered, which deadens their compassion. Most adults are oblivious to the original ACE test. So we have generations of hurt people who are hurting people via parenting and policies. We need to act, now, but we need a society that is willing to LEARN AND take ACTION.
People Get Ready
Start by demand positive and sustained positive change on stopping gun violence, mitigating the impacts of climate change, honest and equitable education access, strategic & sustainable safety nets/structures through every power structure around you. We never expected a pandemic in our lifetimes — imagine what a child sustained/lost during that period. Think of the disinformation and lies that were spread and how children (and adults) suffered to death. Again, that emotional stress is not captured in the ACE study, but it must be measured in some way. What are legislators doing to prevent/prepare for the next pandemic (and ignoring the possibility isn’t a useful action)? We need to move faster than politicians — and move slow, ineffective, unqualified politicians out of the way.
For our kid’s and our future’s sake, are you ready to learn — AND act? What is the voting record of the politicians who are elected to work for you? Are you researching the politicians who are making promises they can’t (won’t keep)? Thoughts and prayers, without action is hollow and cheap. Are you questioning what is needed vs what is being promised? Get involved now — we need action; YOUR action.