Child Watch® Columns

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  • 04/12/13

    Child Watch® Column: “I Promise This Time There Will Be Change”

    Last week there was real change in Connecticut. Thanks to determined and strong bipartisan leadership and support, the General Assembly passed one of the nation's strongest state gun violence prevention laws. How did this happen? The families from Sandy Hook were joined by a loud and persistent groundswell of advocates and other citizens from around the state demanding common sense solutions and change. Gun advocates came out in force, not surprising given that Colt, Mossberg, Stag Arms, and many other gun manufacturers are located in the state of Connecticut. Last month, the Colt plant in Hartford closed down for the day so employees could go to the Capitol to rally against gun safety measures. But thoughtful and determined lawmakers kept their eye on child safety and parents, grandparents, faith leaders, and other child advocates refused to give up or be drowned out.
  • 04/05/13

    Child Watch® Column: "Right and Wrong Answers on School Safety"

    There is no evidence that armed guards or police officers in schools make children safer. An armed guard at Columbine High School in 1999 and a full campus police force at Virginia Tech in 2007 were unable to stop the massacres that occurred at both schools. A 2010 review of existing research found no evidence that the use of police to handle school disorders reduces the occurrence of problem behavior in schools but there is evidence that over-policing leads to a new set of problems.
  • 03/29/13

    Child Watch® Column: "What the NRA Doesn’t Want You to Know"

    Why is the National Rifle Association so afraid of the truth? There are many misconceptions about guns and gun violence swirling around in Americans’ minds—and in many cases, this misinformation is no accident. For years the NRA has blocked the truth and actively fought against and prevented research in the causes and costs of gun violence because they don’t want Americans to know the truth about guns, how to prevent gun violence, and how to make themselves and their children safer.
  • 03/22/13

    Child Watch® Column: "Listen to the Children"

    What about the costs we can count? In addition to the trauma that is so deep and pervasive that it is harder to quantify, there are actual costs to gun violence that can be measured and are enormous. Victims and families often find themselves paying a high economic price while struggling with the emotional one, and other taxpayers share the economic burden.
  • 03/15/13

    Child Watch® Column: "Missing: Leadership and Core Values"

    Dr. Benjamin E. Mays, Morehouse College’s president from 1940-1967, said this about the kind of men and leaders he expected Morehouse to produce. As a student at neighboring Spelman College, I heard and saw Dr. Mays often and had the privilege of singing in Morehouse’s Sunday morning chapel choir and hearing this great man’s wisdom. Of the six college presidents in the Atlanta University academic complex Dr. Mays was the one students looked up to most. Who are our Dr. Mayses today – our moral compasses in crucial sectors of American life? What a contrast Dr. Mays’ example is to that of a college president in the headlines recently, Dr. James Wagner of Emory University, who was criticized for praising the 1787 compromise declaring that every slave would be counted as three-fifths of a person for purposes of state representation in Congress as an example of “noble achievement” that allowed Northern and Southern White congressmen to “continue working toward the highest aspiration they both shared—the aspiration to form a more perfect union.”
  • 03/08/13

    Child Watch® Column: "An All-American Crisis"

    When many people think about gun deaths in America, the first stereotype that comes to mind is urban gun homicide—a crisis that disproportionately affects the Black community. As a result, too many people assume that despite recurring cases of often labeled “isolated” or “unpredictable” mass gun violence primarily committed by White male shooters, “ordinary” gun violence is mostly a Black problem that is or should be the Black community’s responsibility alone to solve. This is simply not true, although the Black community must mount a much stronger and more persistent voice against gun violence. The fact is that most Americans killed by guns are White, and most Americans who kill themselves or others with guns are White and our nation’s gun death epidemic is not simply a White or Black crisis but an American crisis.
  • 03/01/13

    Child Watch® Column: "Mrs. Rosa Parks - Before and After the Bus"

    In reality, Mrs. Parks was not only a seamstress but a respected local activist; was willing to work without a spotlight but was not meek or quiet; and did not spontaneously act out of the blue just because she felt tired. Mrs. Parks was neither complacent nor long suffering, and had been fighting for equality and justice years before December 1955. In fact, like most Black people raised under Southern segregation, Jim Crow, and injustice, Mrs. Parks resented them from the day she was born.
  • 02/22/13

    Child Watch® Column: "What Killed President Kennedy and Trayvon Martin?"

    February 26 will mark one year since 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was killed by a gun wielded by self-appointed neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman after he saw Trayvon walking home from a 7-Eleven with a bag of Skittles and bottle of Arizona iced tea.
  • 02/15/13

    Child Watch® Column: "America’s Broken Hearts"

    As President Obama closed his State of the Union speech on February 12, after all of his other policy proposals for the nation’s future, he said this: “Of course, what I’ve said tonight matters little if we don’t come together to protect our most precious resource—our children.”
  • 02/08/13

    Child Watch® Column: "The Courage and Vision of Medgar Evers"

    hen Myrlie Evers-Williams gave the invocation at President Obama’s January inauguration, she was in part recognizing the vision and courage of her late great husband, Mississippi civil rights leader Medgar Evers, assassinated by a gun 50 years ago. Medgar was a huge inspiration for me. As a 22 year old first year law student at Yale, I traveled to Mississippi during my first spring break in 1961 to reconnect with my friends from SNCC—the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. After the sit-in movement and SNCC’s founding at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina, where Dr. King and Ella Baker pulled those of us who had sat down at lunch counters together from across the South, I decided on the spur of the moment to apply to law school after volunteering for the Atlanta National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and seeing how many poor Black people could not get or afford legal counsel. Few, if any, White lawyers took civil rights cases at that time.
  • 02/01/13

    Child Watch® Column: "Our Turn to Say No More-Right Now"

    At the January 30th Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence, former Representative Gabrielle Giffords, the survivor of a gunshot to the head, gave us our marching orders. The United States stands alone in the world in our tolerance of gun violence but in the wake of the devastating Newtown murders, a powerful outcry of ordinary Americans across the country is saying no more. This time we want our collective heartbreak and outrage to be followed by real change.
  • 01/25/13

    Child Watch® Column: "We Cannot Stop Until Children Stop Dying from Gun Violence"

    On Saturday, January 26, I and many others will gather on the National Mall for the March on Washington for Gun Control. We are calling on members of Congress and state legislators to pass common sense gun safety laws to stop the epidemic of preventable child and adult gun deaths. Others are marching in Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, San Antonio, Jersey City, and in communities across the country. Grassroots groups are coming together in the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Mothers and fathers, grandparents, pastors, gun violence survivors, law enforcement officers, elected officials, child advocates, and everyone who believes that our children’s right to live, learn and grow up safely must be protected before guns, must not stop marching, calling, writing, and visiting and holding our political leaders accountable. We must vote them out if they do not act to end the preventable and immoral loss of child and human lives and honor what most Americans want and our children need.
  • 01/18/13

    Child Watch® Column: "How We Can Truly Honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr."

    In his last Sunday sermon at Washington National Cathedral, Dr. King retold the parable of the rich man Dives who ignored the poor and sick man Lazarus who came every day seeking crumbs from Dives’ table. Dives went to hell, Dr. King said, not because he was rich but because he did not realize his wealth was his opportunity to bridge the gulf separating him from his brother and allowed Lazarus to become invisible. He warned this could happen to rich America, “if we don’t use her vast resources to end poverty and make it possible for all of God’s children to have the basic necessities of life.”
  • 01/11/13

    Child Watch® Column: "The Massive Human and Moral Cost of Gun Violence"

    The United States of America has spent a trillion and a half dollars on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars so far, purportedly to protect our children and citizens from enemies without, while ignoring the reality that the greatest threats to child safety and wellbeing come from enemies within.
  • 01/04/13

    Child Watch® Column: "New Year Resolutions"

    As New Year’s Eve countdowns wound down, many people turned to the familiar ritual of taking stock of where they are now to make resolutions for what they can do better in the new year. We all measure our accomplishments and shortcomings in different ways. Some people count numbers on a scale or in a savings account. But what if we decided to take stock as a nation by measuring how we treat our children?
  • 12/24/12

    A Christmas Day Prayer for America as We Celebrate the Birthday of the Most Famous Baby in History

    O God, forgive and help us transform our rich and powerful nation where toddlers and school children die from guns sold quite legally.
  • 12/24/12

    A Christmas Day Prayer for America as We Celebrate the Birthday of the Most Famous Baby in History

    O God, forgive and help us transform our rich and powerful nation where toddlers and school children die from guns sold quite legally.
  • 12/21/12

    Child Watch® Column: "It Is Time to Act to Protect Children Against Gun Violence"

    Over the past few days we’ve all learned a bit more about twenty beautiful six- and seven-year-olds who each seem as if they could have been any of our children or grandchildren. Jessica asked Santa for new cowgirl boots for Christmas. Daniel’s family said he “earned” all the ripped knees on his jeans. James liked to remind people that he was six and three-quarters. Grace loved playing dress-up and with her dog Puddin’.
  • 12/14/12

    Child Watch® Column: "Dear God! When Will It Stop?"

    The horrendous news from Newtown, Connecticut has pierced our hearts. A black-clad man in his 20s armed with two semi-automatic handguns entered the Sandy Hook Elementary School and made an elementary school for kindergartners through fourth graders the scene of the worst mass shooting in a public school in American history. Twenty children were shot and killed. Seven adults were shot and killed. We don’t yet know how many were wounded. We do know dozens of parents are experiencing the worst nightmare any parent could imagine. We do know more than 500 young children in the school are traumatized.
  • 12/14/12

    Child Watch® Column: "Dear God! When Will It Stop?"

    The horrendous news from Newtown, Connecticut has pierced our hearts. A black-clad man in his 20s armed with two semi-automatic handguns entered the Sandy Hook Elementary School and made an elementary school for kindergartners through fourth graders the scene of the worst mass shooting in a public school in American history. Twenty children were shot and killed. Seven adults were shot and killed. We don’t yet know how many were wounded. We do know dozens of parents are experiencing the worst nightmare any parent could imagine. We do know more than 500 young children in the school are traumatized.
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