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Immigration Detention: The People Along the Way

As you know this weekend was our much-anticipated immigration movie screening event, and trip to visit immigrant detainees at the Stewart Detention Center. Along with the hospitality house, El Refugio in Lumpkin, GA, which houses families coming to visit loved ones. Through my endeavor to learn more about immigration, I can officially say from the other side that I was successful. Possibly more successful than I expected. I learned that Stewart Detention Center is the largest detention center in the country, detaining about 1,800 immigrants at any given time. I’ve learned that it is one of MANY detention centers scattered across the U.S. that are for-profit, owned and run by corporations, such as Corrections Corporation of America, which is the owner of Stewart. I’ve learned that the CCA makes $100 a day per detainee that resides in their facility, which offers great incentive to keep detainee numbers high, and that money is paid to them from our government straight out of your tax paying pockets. Stewart Detention Center falls in the top 10 worst detention centers in the U.S. Detention centers have ongoing issues and complaints for inadequate medical care, sexual and physical abuse, insufficient food, and high costs for communication to those outside of the facility, making contact with family members hard. I’ve learned that breaking immigration law is considered a civil offense, and not a criminal one, so detainees are denied the right to government provided legal defense. Detention centers are primarily built in impoverished areas, away from major cities to make it difficult for families to travel to visit their loved ones. In Lumpkin there are no hotels, or public transportation options, not even a regular grocery store. I’ve learned that our immigration policies and our high rates of deportation have destroyed many families. Thousands. Nearly 45,000 immigrant parents were deported in the first half of 2012 alone, separating them from their U.S born children. It is estimated that at least 5,000 of those children (in 22 states) now reside in our foster care system, which doesn’t account for the number of children in foster care in states unaccounted for, or those that have been orphaned by these policies that now reside with other family members living in the U.S. Husbands separated from their wives, mothers from their children, and fathers from their children. These are just a few factoids though. Stats. Just a few, since there are so many more I could be throwing out... read more

This is me… throwing down.

Today, I sat idly flipping through a Star magazine, trying to kill a few minutes while I waited for my stylist to finish up with another client so that I could get a trim. I can’t say I was shocked, when the 2 stylists closest to me and their clients started talking about the Chick-fil-a controversy. I mean, who isn’t talking about it right now??!! I wish I could say they were saying things that made my heart happy and caused me to think, “Hey! Kindred spirits!” It was more in a way that made my blood pressure go up and I felt an extreme urge to throw down. However, I refrained. Barely. In the end I knew it would be a pointless battle, just like many of the others I’ve had this week. Or in the past. And will likely have again in the future. The one I’m waging at this very moment… I sat there easily listening to their conversation, while they took no notice of my being there. No care for the teenage girls listening. What if I were gay? Or one of those teenage girls? Or both? Or even one of the people participating in that conversation? How would all of these little conversations make me/them feel?  The one today or one of the thousands I can find just about anywhere on the internet right now. If there is one thing that this CFA controversy has surely succeeded in doing, it has been to pull down the walls that made being anti-gay socially unacceptable. That used to be one of those things people *mostly* just kept on the down low. Oh, but no more! “CFA” has deemed being anti-gay a wholesome Christian value and that has everyone with the same values(however misguided), stepping over lines they wouldn’t have once crossed. I miss those days. Yesterday, thousands of people flocked to their local Chick-fil-a’s, so they could effectively and “on their turf”, support CFA and give the gay community the finger. A message sent out to the roughly 9 million people that identify as LGBT; it was surely a job well done. I wonder how many LGBT youths were dragged to CFA with their parents yesterday and forced to show their support for a mentality that treats them as if they are less than people? That there is something WRONG about them.   So here’s the thing… Research from the Family Acceptance Project… “shows that LGBT youths “who... read more

Rethinking Education

After my son was first born, I remember spending hours snuggled up with him, enjoying the feel of his soft skin, and that fresh baby smell. I took pleasure in the newness of motherhood, and reveled in my feelings of protectiveness and love. In those early days I indulged in daydreams about all the things we would eventually do together; I developed this vision of how I wanted our lives to be, and the opportunities that I wanted my children to have that had been lacking in my youth. During that time, one of the things that caught my attention, were my feelings about my experiences in public schools. I felt that public schooling had few positives to offer me, and many negatives, so I began to worry about how these things would potentially impact my son and my future children. My hopes for my children have always been for their childhood to be centered in family, and for them to learn through living. Ultimately, I felt like those things couldn’t thrive to their fullest in the public school system, so I began immersing myself in research, trying to learn about alternative forms of education. The information that I found astounded me, and the culmination of my exploration into the world of education, left me with the conviction that homeschooling would be the best choice for us. For parents that are concerned about the quality of their children’s education, homeschooling provides many of the things that seem hard to find in our public schools; the potential for quality-rich curriculum, approaching children as individuals with different learning styles and needs, and a more positive social environment for children to grow. Public education has always had the goal of being “a pathway to opportunity” by giving education to all children, many of which might not have otherwise had any (Ravitch 241). While this is a noble goal, and a necessary part of society, we seem to be missing the mark on giving children an education of worth, as we rank average in education among other developed countries (“USA Today”). In her book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System, Diane Ravitch, the former Assistant Secretary of Education writes, “At the present time, public education is in peril. Efforts to reform public education are, ironically, diminishing its quality and endangering its very survival. We must turn our attention to improving schools, infusing them with the substance of genuine learning... read more

Tit Terrorists?

Breastfeeding Nazis. Being called superior, condescending and judgmental. These are just some of the not-so-nice things I have heard said about lactavists. I have counted myself amongst lactavists for the past 4 years. In the beginning, my first thoughts when hearing those kinds of insults about lactavists were defensive ones. People that would say that about lacatvists obviously don’t understand. They don’t understand that we are coming from a place of passion! If they really knew what I KNOW then they would feel the same way I feel. Blame it on ignorance, because we all know that if every woman were as smart as me, then they would obviously think exactly the way I do. (Sarcasm) I say that sarcastically now, but there was a time where I really felt that way. Some people might assume that those kinds of remarks would come only from women that are hard-core promoters of formula feeding. The mothers who formula fed all their children and firmly believe that there is no notable differences between the two. I have been noticing though, that that doesn’t alway seem to be the case. There are many women that support breastfeeding, have breastfed their children or are currently breastfeeding their children, that don’t have positive feelings towards lactavists and wouldn’t want to count themselves amongst them. Why is that? Recent events have shown an upsurge on Facebook amongst  lacatavists , posting about the horrors of formula feeding. I really have to take a moment to thank a friend of mine. Reading her blog this past year about her trials, her thoughts & feelings about a breastfeeding relationship she had originally wanted and ended up not having and the emotions she has felt through it all, has gone a long way to opening my eyes about the WAY we talk about breastfeeding and the profound effect that it can have on all different types of women.   These ads were created to demand honesty in formula advertising. Who is the demand being made to though? Are formula companies seeing these ads? Or just thousands of mothers across the internet? False advertising isn’t a new idea. Check out most items on any given shelf in your grocery store and you will see some. If we want there to be more honesty in advertising, is this the most productive way to try and achieve it? Is this about educating mothers? Pretend for a second that you are a mother who doesn’t... read more

Get Real:”Perfection”

This morning I read this awesome blog called The Disease called “Perfection”. I cried like a baby while I read it. It was bluntly truthful and really resonated with me on something that has been bothering me a lot lately. The sense of guilt that I constantly feel at not being “good enough”. Looking at everyone around me and thinking that they seem to have it so much more together. Better mothering skills. Better behaved children. Happier marriages. The list could go on.  It is long but really worth the read. I just wanted to highlight a few things he said in the blog here so the context of this blog makes a bit more sense for those that haven’t read it. You should REALLY read the whole thing.  “What is the disease called ”Perfection”? Perhaps a list of its real-life symptoms will help you better understand it. We live in communities where people feel unconquerable amounts of pressure to always appear perfectly happy, perfectly functional, and perfectly figured….” “Here’s your wake-up call: You aren’t the only one who feels worthless sometimes. You aren’t the only one who took your frustrations out on your children today. You aren’t the only one who isn’t making enough money to support your lifestyle. You aren’t the only one who sometimes says things that really hurt other people. You aren’t the only one who feels trapped in your marriage.”  “Perfection” is a hideous monster with a really beautiful face. And chances are you’re infected. The good news is, there is a cure. Be real. Be bold about your weaknesses and you will change people’s lives.” Then he asks, Will you help me spread “Real”?  So here I  am. Spreading the real. I joke a lot about my OCD type tendencies. Most people don’t know that I have had anxiety/OCD issues that started right after Haden was born and they have progressively gotten worse over time. I obsess over 2 things. I can’t stand to see messes, everything has its place. And I don’t like to see any kind of dirt, food crumbs or dog hair on my floors. This sounds like such a simple thing typing it out. The part that makes it sucky? I literally feel anxiety and stress when I see the kids pulling out toys and I rush to clean them up as soon as they are done with them. I don’t feel better until everything is back in its place. I do the same with cleaning the floors. I sweep and vacuum throughout the day. If... read more

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