Sending you all a big thanks for reading this news roundup and Happy Turkey “Big Food” Day tomorrow… Lara/Trace
An Exhibition Critically Explores the History of Missionaries in Hawai’i
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — In August 1806, five students on the campus of Williams College took refuge from a sudden thunderstorm beside a haystack and vowed to commit themselves to spreading the Gospel around the world. This is Ground Zero of the American overseas missionary movement.
For many people, this moment marked the start of an outpouring of generosity and benevolence that saved souls and brought distant lands into the modern world. Only recently has another narrative been recognized — one of shameless spiritual imperialism that trampled native cultures and eventually devolved into explicit political and economic oppression.
The unexpectedly deep connection between the college in Williamstown and the Pacific islands, 5,000 miles away, is outlined with an extensive timeline along a wall, which highlights what was happening in each place. It mentions figures such as Sanford B. Dole, the son of missionaries who came to Williams in the 1860s, where he and other missionary descendants called themselves “the Cannibals,” and were active in the Lyceum. Dole and two others from that group would help draft the “Bayonet Constitution” of 1887, which accelerated the process of undermining native Hawaiian leadership. When the monarchy was overthrown in 1893, Dole would serve as the Republic’s first president, until completing the handover to American power a few years later.
How can that be? In 1832, President Andrew Jackson pushed through the policy of “removal” of Indian nations from the eastern U.S., which destroyed the historic land base of the “civilized tribes.” He promised the tribes new land in the West to be theirs “as long as the grass grows or the water runs, in peace and plenty.” After the Trail of Tears, the U.S. signed a treaty that “solemnly guarantied” the new reservation lands in what is now Oklahoma. Many tribes elsewhere have found to their regret that Congress is permitted to decide that the grass ain’t growing any more. It can abrogate some or all treaty obligations—and even “terminate” a tribe altogether. But case law says there is a “clear statement” rule: If Congress wants to end a reservation, it has to say so.
U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) highlighted the report in a press event in Washington, DC, this week where she talked about the importance of addressing the MMIWG epidemic. Murkowski was joined by U.S. senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Patty Murray (D-WA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Jon Tester (D-MT), Representative Gwen Moore (D-WI 4th District), and Juana Majel-Dixon (Pauma Band of Mission Indians), Executive Board Member and Recording Secretary of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI). The UIHI report identified the state of Alaska as the fourth-leading state for number of cases of MMIWG. Also, in the top ten states are New Mexico, Washington, Arizona, Montana, California, Nebraska, Utah, Minnesota and Oklahoma.
The deaths of the three children each allegedly happened at the hands of their parents. Though they lived in different parts of the country, the parents all had several things in common: They adopted children, home-schooled them and beat them with quarter-inch plastic tubes. They also followed the child-rearing teachings of a Tennessee evangelist, Michael Pearl, and his wife, Debi.
By Jeff Hodson, Seattle Times staff reporter
Sean Paddock suffocated when he was wrapped too tightly in blankets.
And Hana Grace-Rose Williams, of Sedro-Woolley, was left out in the cold, where she died naked, face down in the mud.
The deaths of the three children occurred in different parts of the country — North Carolina, California and Washington — but each allegedly happened at the hands of their parents, all of whom were charged with murder.
The parents had several things in common: They adopted children, home-schooled them and lashed them with quarter-inch-diameter plastic tubes. They also used the child-rearing teachings of a Tennessee evangelist, Michael Pearl, and his wife, Debi.
The Pearls wrote “To Train Up a Child,” first published in 1994, and which teaches parents how to use a “switch” to make their children obey. Michael Pearl says it has sold more than 670,000 copies, been translated into a dozen languages and is popular with some Christians who home-school their children.
The authors say raising a child is as simple as training a dog, and they cite biblical verses supporting use of the “rod.” Their website includes comments from many followers who say they have successfully raised happy, obedient children using the Pearls’ principles.
The Pearls, however, issue a warning to parents: Never spank in anger. And they say many people have “misconstrued” their words.
Critics claim the couple’s advice amounts to a prescription for child abuse.
“It’s truly an evil book,” said Michael Ramsey, the district attorney for Butte County, Calif.
Ramsey successfully prosecuted Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz for hitting their daughter Lydia to death in Paradise, Calif., in 2006 with a plastic plumbing-supply tube — the kind the Pearls mention in an article on their website called “In Defense of Biblical Chastisement.”
Lydia, 7, was adopted from Liberia. Her transgression? Mispronouncing the word “pulled” from a children’s book. She said “pull-ed,” according to Ramsey, and the hitting began.
The Pearls also drew fire after the 2006 murder of 4-year-old Sean Paddock, who suffocated after his mother swaddled him too tightly in a blanket. Lynn Paddock told a Johnston County, N.C., court she wanted to keep her son from getting out of bed.
She was a devoted follower of the Pearls, prosecutors said, and she had come across their writings while surfing the Internet. She’s now serving a life sentence for first-degree murder and felony child abuse.
In Washington state, the death of Hana Williams marked the third time the Pearls’ names and their book have surfaced after the death of a child — but the first time Washington state child-welfare officials had come across it. The Williamses have pleaded not guilty and their case is in the pretrial phase.
Dead of hypothermia
Hana, 13, was adopted from Ethiopia in 2008 by Larry and Carri Williams, of Sedro-Woolley.
She was regularly spanked and locked in a closet, and was forced to sleep in a barn and take garden-hose showers outside, according to an affidavit from the Skagit County Sheriff’s Office. The affidavit was based on information from the couple’s six natural children, another adopted child, medical experts and other family and friends. The interviews were conducted by detectives and investigators from the state’s Child Protective Services.
In 2009, Hana weighed 108 pounds, but over the past two years of her life, she lost 30 pounds, largely because her parents denied her food as punishment, the affidavit says. She was so thin she couldn’t retain enough heat May 12, the night she died. She had been outside with no clothes and died of hypothermia, an autopsy found.
On the backs of her legs were marks consistent with being beaten earlier in the day, the affidavit alleges.
According to the investigators, the Williamses were familiar with the Pearls and had given a copy of their book to an acquaintance.
Larry Williams, 47, a Boeing worker, told sheriff’s detectives the children were disciplined with a piece of white plastic more than a foot long. It had a round ball on the end, and he said he had picked it up at a plumbing-supply store.
On Sept. 29, after four months of investigation, the Williamses were charged with homicide by abuse. They were also charged with assault for allegedly torturing Hana’s adopted brother, 10, also from Ethiopia.
The couple are free on bail. If convicted, they face life terms in prison.
All but one of the Williams children have been placed with relatives or foster parents, CPS says. The eldest, now 18, is back home.
The Williamses, through their attorneys, declined to comment for this article.
Rachel Forde, who represents Larry Williams, said in an email: “Just because the government makes an accusation doesn’t mean it’s true. … Once the jury hears the evidence, unfiltered by the prosecutor’s lens, we believe that a much different picture will emerge about the lives of the Williams children and Hana’s tragic death.”
After Hana died, Michael Pearl issued a statement.
“We share in the sadness over the tragic death of Hana Williams,” he said. “What her parents allegedly did is diametrically opposed to the philosophy of No Greater Joy Ministries and what is taught in the book, ‘To Train Up a Child.’ ”
No Greater Joy Ministries is the name of the business the Pearls run in Pleasantville, Tenn.
If the Williamses had a copy of the book, Pearl said, they either didn’t read it or “totally ignored its contents.”
In a telephone interview, Pearl, 66, said spanking is just one part of a comprehensive program on child-rearing and should be “reserved for rebellion when children are angry or defiant.”
“I’m passing on traditional parenting methods, traditional common sense that’s been around for 6,000 years,” he said.
Much of the book — written mostly by Michael Pearl — features advice on developing better “fellowship” with children and serving as a good role model. It’s also got short chapters on home schooling and what to do when your child gets bullied.
But spanking is clearly the heart of the book.
“He that spareth his rod hateth his son,” from Proverbs 13:24, is cited often, as are other biblical references to discipline.
Many Christians disagree with the Pearls, but the Tennessee preacher argues the rod is a gift from God.
“A child properly and timely spanked is healed in the soul and restored to wholeness of spirit,” he writes. “A child can be turned back from the road to hell through proper spankings.”
Pearl encourages parents to think of the switch as a “magic wand” and says teaching a child to obey is like training an animal:
“A dog can be trained not to touch a tasty morsel laid in front of him. Can’t a child be trained not to touch?”
That’s a comparison that irks many child advocates.
“Children aren’t dogs,” says Karen Moline, a member of Parents for Ethical Adoption Reform, a New York-based advocacy group. “They’re thinking, speaking people who have needs and their own identities.”
A Christian website called Why Not Train a Child? was created in 2004 to counter the Pearls’ arguments.
The site links to an online petition asking Amazon.com to stop selling the Pearls’ book. It’s been signed by more than 7,000 people.
In their book, the Pearls suggest setting up training sessions by placing something desirable, like a pair of glasses, in front of an infant. When the child reaches for it, the Pearls advise, calmly say “no” and “thump or swat his hand with a light object so as to cause him a little pain, but not necessarily enough to cry.”
In an interview, Pearl recommended using a plastic spoon, rubber spatula or small branch. It should be slim, like a pencil, and about 2 feet long. “Any kind of thing that can sting without breaking the skin,” he said.
References to the plastic plumbing tubes can’t be found in the book, but they exist in his online postings, where he says he got the idea from an Amish woman with eight or 10 children who said she hung the tube around her neck to keep it handy.
In the interview, however, Pearl said: “It’s not something I advocate or that people need to do.”
An entire chapter of the book is devoted to parental anger, with several warnings not to spank when hotheaded.
“If you can’t control your emotions,” he said, “it’s not for you.”
Pearl says his advice is often misquoted by critics. “We wish people would read our work,” he said.
Ramsey, the California prosecutor, has — and he says it was crucial to the parents of Lydia Schatz.
“I think it was very important for their philosophy,” he said. “They were basically following this recipe for disaster.”
The book has a “seductive pull” for parents who want a cheerful, compliant child, but it creates tension between the two, Ramsey says.
In one passage, Pearl says parents should “not allow the child’s crying to cause them to lighten up on the intensity or duration of the spankings.”
In another, he advises parents to sit on a child if necessary and “hold him there until he has surrendered.”
There is no mention in the Pearls’ book, except for spanking, of the kind of discipline Hana allegedly suffered at the hands of her parents.
The book contains a brief anecdote about a man who toilet-trained his toddler son by washing him with a cold hose, but that is the only reference to cold showers.
He doesn’t write about withholding food or suggest that children be forced to stay outside.
As for locking a child in a closet, Pearl said, “I would consider that an act of extreme child abuse.”
There’s one issue Pearl and his critics agree on — that the Pearls’ spanking strategies weren’t designed to work on older, adopted children. “I encourage Christian parents not to adopt children from foreign countries,” Pearl said, and they shouldn’t be older than any of the parents’ biological children.
He added that spanking is “almost counterproductive” for children once they turn 6.
Hana was 13; Lydia was 7. Both were from foreign countries.
In the end, the Pearls’ book may not be of much significance in the prosecution of Larry and Carri Williams.
“It doesn’t make any difference,” Skagit County Prosector Rich Weyrich said. “If the child’s abused, the child’s abused. There’s no excuse for a death.”
(WASHINGTON, D.C., July 9, 2013) – For the next two weeks, Native American radio and television commentator John Kane of “Let’s Talk Native…with John Kane” will take his brand of Native talk radio to New York City. Kane will guest host “First Voices Indigenous Radio,” which will air live on Thursday, July 11 and Thursday, July 18 from 9 to 10 a.m. EDT on WBAI-FM 99.5 (Pacifica). Kane will be filling in for Tiokasin Ghosthorse, the program’s regular host. The shows will stream live at www.wbai.org.
“First Voices Indigenous Radio” rebroadcasts on more than 40 FM radio frequencies/stations around the country for the week following each live program (www.firstvoicesindigenousradio.org).
“This is an opportunity for me to put regional and national Native issues, including our territories’ ongoing conflicts with New York State, in front of a New York City audience,” says Kane. “Among other issues, the Cuomo administration continues to wage a war against Native-to-Native trade. This administration has killed any commerce between Native retailers and state licensed wholesalers in the tobacco business, effectively shutting off the flow of nationally branded cigarettes to Native retailers.”
Kane will revisit the ongoing action by the New York Attorney General against the producers of Seneca and King Mountain (Yakama) cigarettes. “Anyone who has examined this situation knows New York State has no legal ground to stand on when it comes to stopping our own manufacturing, wholesaling and distribution, yet the State Department of Taxation and Finance is still authorizing seizures of Native brands as they travel from territory to territory and the State Attorney General is attempting to sue or otherwise dissuade Native manufacturers from shipping into or through the state,” says Kane.
“I will also dissect the recent casino exclusivity zone revenue sharing deals struck by New York State with the Oneida, St. Regis Mohawk and Seneca nations, the Governor’s plans to open up Las Vegas-style casino gaming throughout the state, and why I believe his gaming referendum will fail,” says Kane.
Kane’s guest on July 11 will be political satirist Julianna Forlano. Forlano is host and creator of the award-winning news parody series “Absurdity Today” (www.absurditytoday.com). “Julianna and I will discuss the ongoing stereotyping of Native Americans in popular culture, an issue that won’t die and which has exploded in recent weeks with actor Johnny Depp’s bizarre portrayal of Tonto in “The Lone Ranger,” as well as the continuing fiery debate surrounding the name of Washington, D.C.’s professional football team.”
ABOUT JOHN KANE
John Karhiio Kane is a Mohawk from Kahnawake. He lives on the Cattaraugus Territory of the Seneca Nation and has a direct connection to the people and territories of the Six Nations. John has been involved for most of his adult life in Native issues and, specifically, defending Native sovereignty. He was part of the First Nations Dialogue Team in the late 90s and worked extensively with the League of First Nations in battles with New York State over taxation.
For three years, John has been host of “Let’s Talk Native…with John Kane,” which airs on WWKB 1520 AM in Buffalo, New York and WQRS FM98.3 in Salamanca, New York. John’s strong voice on Native issues has earned him numerous invitations to appear on “The Capitol Pressroom with Susan Arbetter,” an influential public radio program that broadcasts from the New York State Capitol in Albany and airs in 20 markets throughout the state. Arbetter has also featured John on her television news segments on “The Capitol Report,” which air during local news throughout New York. John is a frequent guest on WGRZ Buffalo Channel 2’s “2 Sides with Kristy Mazurek”; he is called upon as an expert commentator on Native issues. He also is a frequent guest on “YNN – Your News Now,” Time Warner Cable’s 24-hour cable network in Albany and Buffalo, New York (two of the network’s four regional news channels). In June 2013, John provided commentary about the obstacles faced by North American Native peoples on “From Washington,” the global live broadcast from Washington, D.C., of Al Jazeera International, which has more than 260 million viewers in 130 countries.
John writes the Native Pride blog, which can be found at www.letstalknativepride.blogspot.com. His radio shows and appearances are posted on the blog with articles, quotes and links. John has a page on the WWKB website at www.kb1520.com and a “Let’s Talk Native…with John Kane” group page on Facebook.
John takes pride in tackling the tough issues that face Native people and refuses to participate in the “buffalo speeches” that continue to dumb down Native culture and beliefs. He is not afraid to be labeled a warrior but prefers to be considered a conversationalist and a teacher.
Below is the address I made at the University of Washington the 30th of January 2013 before a meeting of the Socialist Alternative Party. It reflects my thoughts on where we are today and what we must do to redeem the dream of a true democracy that our founding fathers set out to create for us. I strongly feel that more of our citizens must run for public office and replace the corporate toadies that have come to rule us. Power lies within the political offices to make the necessary changes. Our neglect to monitor the actions of our elected representatives and demand less secrecy is why we have lost our government. We must began to reclaim our government starting at the local scene with city councils, school boards, county and state offices.
A group of political activists and friends have strongly encouraged me to run for Seattle City Council. I must confess I was tempted, because for years I have been preaching that it is a citizen’s duty to serve his or her community. But at the age of 82, the thought of hustling my friends to support me financially and to devote volunteer time to help get me elected, I believe would unwise and not fair to them. There are younger, mature and well-qualified people who better deserve this support. With the deck stacked against us by the two-party system, we need people who can try for election more than one time. It may take multiple efforts to achieve success. I am a writer and political activist and at my age I can be more effective by being a burr ITA and help build a movement to replace these corporate toadies. What do you think? I would appreciate your opinion. — J. Glenn Evans
(Delivered the Univ. of Washington, Smith Hall 30 Jan 2013-Socialist Alternative meeting)
I am a recovering stockbroker. I voted for Reagan and was invited to the White House. I grew up in a small town in central Oklahoma back when we still drove a team and wagon to town on Saturdays. We used an outhouse. My early ambition was to be a writer, but I had a very rich uncle who told me I should become a stockbroker. I asked, aren’t those the fellows who jump off of buildings because they don’t want to be poor? He said no, they learn how to make money on other people’s money. If you want to make real money, Son, you go where the money is. Well, I thought since I wanted to become a great rich writer, I might as well try to get rich first. So I spent over 20 years as a stockbroker and investment banker. And I was making money!
You know, events and circumstances can change people’s thinking. For me, it was Reagan’s dirty wars in South and Central America killing civilians that turned me away from the Republican Party. Even back then the mantra was that we must globalize the economy. You don’t need a lot of factories to make things, because if you make the money, you can buy what you need. It will bring us peace; you don’t bomb your customers and suppliers. Well, how much peace do we have, and how much do people out of work buy what they need?
I left that business in 1984 and never looked back. The Democratic Party, once billed as the people’s party, has pulled away from supporting the best interests of the people of this country whom they are supposed to represent. The major changes started when Clinton set out to pursue the corporate dollar for the Democrats. Since that time, the whole system has become so corrupt we have no choice but to develop an alternate party to the Democrats and the Republicans. I did not become a great rich writer but I did become a struggling poet, novelist and political activist. And I am much happier for it.
The failures of the two-party system are pretty obvious. The current administration is George Bush on steroids. It was a Democratic administration that repealed the Glass-Steagall Act separating commercial banking from speculative investment banking that caused the economic crash. Just like it did back in the thirties before the Glass-Steagall Act. It was a Democratic administration that enacted NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) that has been responsible for the growing exploitation of workers and unemployment. President Obama campaigned on a promise to withdraw from NAFTA but did nothing after he took office. Then its expansion in 2005 with CAFTA (Central American Free Trade Agreement). The continued retention of people imprisoned at Quantanamo even after they have been declared innocent. The Democrats, even if they did not pass all of the laws, they continue to support them. Illegal wiretapping. Torture. The privatization of prisons into a profit-making business. The passage of unconstitutional laws, that the present Supreme Court fails to act on such as Homeland Security Act, the Patriot’s Act, the Military Commissions Act, and now NDAA that allows the president to maintain a kill list that even includes American citizens. The suppression of voter’s rights. Extra judicial murder with the use of drones. The ongoing illegal predatory wars. Corporate crimes. Not one Wall Street bankster has been indicted or prosecuted for their crimes. Patriots imprisoned for exposing state crimes. Here is the most blatant example [read Bradley Manning poem]
A LONELY SOLDIER
A soldier of low rank
Ponders the night
What should he do
Be like his comrades
His fellow citizens at home
Be promoted like those who go along
His eyes had rested upon messages
From higher powers over him
That disclosed crimes committed
Under our flag in our country’s name
That trashed our Constitution
Heinous crimes against other peoples
What could he do
How could he expose those crimes
He could not trust his senior officers
He could not trust the corporate media
He could not trust the corporate congress
He could be charged with violating national security
He could expect life imprisonment or death
If he exposed those crimes
What would we have done if we were Bradley Manning
If we were privy to such disclosures
Crimes our government hides from us
War crimes against other people
We go about our business
We vote for the same politicians
Who put this patriot in prison
Who trashed our Constitution
Who act like dukes earls and monarchs
When will we storm the Bastille
J. Glenn Evans
When will they come for us?
Greed and exploitation of the world’s resources and its people have brought us to this point. The resources of the earth are here for all life, not for just a few grabbers. Why should one person accumulate enough for a thousand lifetimes while a thousand people go hungry and unsheltered?
We need a new vision and a new way of life. We can have a world where everyone has food, shelter, health care and public education. It is unconscionable that buildings sit empty while people sleep on the streets. We must change the thinking that property is more sacred than people. City government has the power to negotiate with the owners, giving them a grace period on taxes while the property is used for shelter. The property can be returned to them in as good or better shape than when sitting empty.
Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans provide the vision that is needed. We must build an alternative to the two Wall Street parties by providing and working toward this new vision, a society where we cooperate and share, rather than compete and beat. We must build an alternate economy and withdraw our support from businesses and organizations that exploit and enslave people, whether here in the US or anywhere on the planet. That includes places like Wal-Mart, McDonalds, and the mega banks. We should move our money to credit unions and local banks.
We must develop new leadership to gain political power to correct the inequities and corruption that have developed, particularly since the Reagan era. If corrections are not made, it may ultimately lead to another French revolution. It starts right here in our own city. We need to get new people, besides Democrats, on the City Council, on the School Board, on the County Council, and in Olympia. We need similar citizen political participation in all parts of the country. We must have direct run-off of elections and secure the right of all citizens of legal age to vote. We must build a movement to engage people, especially the young, to take steps to restore those civil liberties that have been eroded. And that means education on civil rights.
We must strengthen our communities by rebuilding the commons and start taking care of people’s needs. This can be done jointly through government agencies with the personal initiative of individuals and small firms to provide the needed goods and services.
We must quit doing only what is expedient and start doing what is right. For example, give the Duwamish tribe one of our parks as a reservation promised them 150 years ago.
We live in a world that is crumbling and where all life is at risk. You know it is quite possible that climate change will be the single most critical factor in determining events and actions in the future. We must bring this issue into public discourse and this discussion must include reductions in the bloated military budget and investment in the deteriorating infrastructure, alternate energy systems, public works, and public transportation.
I’d like to end on a positive note. There are winds of change in the air. We saw this in the unprecedented vote that Kshama Sawant achieved as a member of the Socialist Alternative Party in November, winning 29% of the vote against Frank Chopp, Speaker of the House. We see young people engaged in political discourse on all these issues. We see them thinking outside of the two-party system. We see them studying and articulating their thinking. We want to see young people run for political office. It is creativity that makes us human so let us raise our voices in music and song, poems, and stories.
Copyleft 2013 J. Glenn Evans (Feel free to copy and distribute as broadly as possible)
Former card-carrying Republican and stockbroker-investment banker. Part Cherokee and native of Oklahoma. Earned a BS in Business from East Central University (Ada, OK). Has lived in Seattle since 1960. Worked in a lumber mill, operated a mining company and co-produced a movie, Christmas Mountain, with Mark Miller starring Slim Pickens. Award-wining poet and founder of PoetsWest and Activists for a Better World, hosts PoetsWest at KSER 90.7FM, a syndicated weekly radio show through Pacifica’s AudioPort.org. Author of four books of poetry: Buffalo Tracks, Deadly Mistress, Window in the Sky, Seattle Poems, two novels, BrokerJim and Zeke’s Revenge, essay book, Uncommon Common Sense and several local community histories including Seattle’s Pike Place Market. Widely published in literary journals. Listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World.
The broad definition of human trafficking has continued to grow with the work of a UW task force. This weekend the definition was examined in a public conference.
The two-day conference at the UW addressed the issues and causes of the human trafficking industry. The conference, hosted by the UW Women’s Center in the HUB, featured a variety of speakers who focused on preventing and eradicating trading, as well as redefining the work as more than sex work.
“For me it’s an issue of peace and social and economic justice,” said Velma Veloria, co-chair of the UW Women’s Center task force against human trafficking. “It’s part of a long struggle for human rights, to be treated like a person, not a commodity.”
The conference was presented in a joint effort by the UW Women’s Center, the UW School of Law, and the Seattle University School of Law. It was co-chaired by Veloria and Sutapa Basu, executive director of the UW Women’s Center.
The previous human trafficking conference, held by the Women’s Center in 2001, framed the issue of human trafficking as a public health issue.
As a former Washington state representative for the 11th District, Veloria sponsored House Bill 1175 in 2003, making human trafficking a crime in Washington state. Since then, 47 other states have instituted similar bills.
This year’s conference focused on how to make law enforcement’s approach more productive for the victims.
“In the city of Seattle, we are committed to addressing the issue,” said Mayor Mike McGinn, one of the speakers at the conference. “We choose to treat young women who are being sexually exploited as victims, not criminals. That’s a huge shift in thinking about how to address the problem.”
The conference discussed human trafficking as more than a public health issue and included panels of a variety of speakers discussing topics like forced migration and labor rights, international trade agreements, and tools of social change.
“Since the topics are contextualized to address things like trade policy and globalization, it really helps get at the root cause and helps people understand why it happens,” attendee Christa Hillstrom said.
Globally, human trafficking earns more than $35 billion a year, with an estimated 1 million people being trafficked each year. Basu said human trafficking was the world’s second-largest and fastest-growing illegal industry.
Johnna White, the programs manager at the UW Women’s Center, advised students who wanted to help with the fight against human trafficking to get involved with the Women’s Center or any number of the student groups and organizations that focus on trafficking, both on campus and in our communities. “A lot of nonprofits need volunteers, [and] the Women’s Center will have a lot of events going on in the coming months,” White said. “Generally just keeping students aware [is good]. The more students that are aware the more our future generations can help.”
Reach reporter Zosha Millman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @zosham
Why it Costs More to Adopt a White Baby, By Dean Schabner abcnews.go.com
Preacher Calls Adoption Fees Discriminatory
When a couple seeking to adopt a white baby is charged $35,000 and a couple seeking a black baby is charged $4,000, the image that comes to the Rev. Ken Hutcherson‘s mind is of a practice that was outlawed in America nearly 150 years ago — the buying and selling of human beings.
The practice, which is widespread among private adoption facilitators, of charging prospective parents different fees depending on the race or ethnicity of the child they adopt is one that Hutcherson is fighting to change from his Redmond, Wash., church. The Antioch Bible Church has established its own adoption agency, and is lobbying state legislators to change Washington’s laws.
“I’ve got championship Rottweilers. I sell them by supply and demand,” Hutcherson said. “I raise thoroughbred racehorses. I sell them by supply and demand. I’m not going to let people sell children by supply and demand. What’s the difference between that and slavery?”
The campaign to change the law is directed at Washington state legislators, but Hutcherson said he would prefer to see the federal government step in and create one set of regulations governing adoption, rather than leaving the issue to the states to decide.
Current Washington law bans payments to a birth mother for placing a child for adoption, but does not address payments for arranging an adoption or the fees that may be charged.
“I think it’s an issue that Americans have not looked at closely enough, because if they had, things wouldn’t be the way they are,” he said.
He hopes to get attention around Washington with a billboard campaign as soon as he can raise the $70,000 to $80,000 he needs. The billboards will feature a white baby, a latino baby and a black baby and next to each, the fees some adoption facilitators might charge for them: $35,000, $10,000 and $4,000.
He said that besides putting a price on children, the practice discriminates against white babies and people who seek to adopt them — an issue he said has been overlooked because white people, particularly those who can afford the high adoption fees charged, are not used to considering themselves victims of discrimination.
“I know about discrimination,” said Hutcherson, who is black. “I don’t care who it’s against, it’s wrong. Tell me that if it was black babies that cost $50,000 and white babies that cost $4,000, people would be screaming their heads off.”
Disparity in Fees
Some adoption professionals said the reason for the difference in cost for adopting white babies as opposed to babies of other races or ethnicities is that there are fewer white infants available and there is more demand for them.
“Often the justification may be that children of some ethnic groups are more difficult to place,” said Gregory Franklin, an attorney who said that 90 percent of his business is providing legal representation for people involved in the adoption process.
“Obviously, any time that somebody brings up the word iscrimination, everybody’s going to take notice and draw attention to the issue, whether or not there’s an issue there,” said Sean Lance, the director of American Adoptions, which has a fee structure that results in prospective parents paying more to adopt white babies than to adopt black babies. “It’s not set up as discriminatory. The difference is in the cost of the process — living expenses, medical expenses. Our agency fee for all adoptions are identical.”
He said that minority mothers often qualify for Medicaid or other financial support that pays their expenses while they are carrying their babies, and sometimes will cover the cost of the delivery, whereas white mothers often do not, so those costs are paid by the prospective parents of the baby.
In some states the birth mother’s living expenses can also be passed on to the adoptive parents, and that can create a disparity in cost for different adoptions. If a birth mother does not have other support, laws in some states allow the cost of her rent, maternity clothes and food to be passed on to the couple seeking to adopt her child.
One Web site for a licensed, non-profit adoption agency says it will wind up costing prospective parents about $19,000 to $35,000 to adopt “non-African American (i.e. Caucasian, Hispanic, Native American etc. or any non-African American combination of races) healthy newborns and infants” through the “Traditional Programs.”
In the “Minority Program,” prospective parents can expect to pay an average of $8,000 to $15,000.
The difference between the costs for black and non-black babies is explained by the “subsidies to help offset the costs of these adoptions” and because more advertising is needed to find non-black babies.
There is also a difference in cost depending on whether a family is willing to wait nine to 18 months for a non-black baby ($19,000-$24,000) or wants an infant in three to nine months ($27,000-$35,000).
“The fee difference results from higher living expenses and medical expenses for the birth parents,” the site explains. “Also, because there are fewer familes that can afford these higher cost adoptions, the waiting times are significantly reduced.”
Hutcherson and some adoption experts said the range and disparity of fees seen on the site are representative of the fees of many private adoption agencies as well.
Every state prohibits the buying and selling of children, but agencies and facilitators are allowed to charge fees that are deemed to be reasonable.
Only four states — Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts and Minnesota — ban adoptions by independent facilitators or attorneys, though Connecticut, Massachusetts and Minnesota will all waive the requirement that adoptions be done through an agency if the child’s interests are better served by an independent adoption.
“It is interesting that states have never looked at why the fees for a white newborn might be $30,000 and why the fee for a black 5-year-old with slight retardation should be $2,000,” Adoption Insitute executive director Cindy Friedmutter said. “The costs of adopting either child shouldn’t be any different.
“The laws are in some cases not strong enough and in some cases are not enforced well enough,” she added.
“Money should not be the driving factor.”
Some states allow independent adoption agencies, facilitators or even families who want to adopt to place advertisements in newspapers, magazines, on the Internet or other means to find birth mothers who want to give up their babies. Unscrupulous facilitators will sometimes try to pressure pregnant young women into giving up their child for adoption by holding out the promise of money for their “product,” Friedmutter said.
“For poor families, for young, unwed mothers, that creates untoward pressure,” she said. “That’s not the way adoption is supposed to work.
“When money’s involved, ethics go out the window,” she added.
Friedmutter said she draws a distinction between facilitators or agencies that charge prospective parents more or less depending on the race or ethnicity of the baby that they want to adopt, and those who charge on a sliding scale based on the family’s income.
She said charging people according to what they can afford is a way for agencies to make adoption a viable choice for more families, and still let them balance the books.
But she rejected the argument put forward by some facilitators that charging higher fees for healthy white babies — who are in short supply and high demand — allows them to charge less for youngsters who are not in such high demand.
She said that practice could create a sense in parents who spend more money on an adoption that they are buying a product with an implicit guarantee — that this child will be everything they want in a child.
“The thing that is scary to me is that children aren’t perfect,” she said. “People who are willing to pay high fees for healthy kids don’t always get perfect children. If you pay $50,000, it doesn’t mean that child is going to be healthy, gorgeous and smart.”
According to Hutcherson, the answer is to take money out of the equation. The adoption agency he started at his church is run by volunteers and funded by contributions, and that is the model he would ultimately like to see adopted nationwide.
“When it comes to adoption, America needs an enema and I’m hoping God made me the chocolate laxative,” Hutcherson said.
[I have so much to say about this, I will post soon. Adoption is a supply and demand industry that claims to earn about 1 BILLION per year! Lara/Trace]