The Second Line Blog

Why GOP Supporters Should Fear Me

I speak three different languages and I was culturally competent before I even knew the terminology for that skill. I have a Juris Doctorate, lived and traveled abroad for nearly three years, and have worked in immigrants’ rights as well other forms of civil rights. Yet, I am the “brown grandbaby” that Tom Brokaw, in his appearance on Meet the Press, said GOP supporters fear. I am the result of the “intermarriage that’s going on and the cultures that are conflicting with each other” that he cited as an issue with Hispanics in America.  My mother is an El Salvadoran immigrant with only a fourth-grade education, and my white father is a born-and-raised Ohioan with a college degree. So I’m curious to explore: what is it about me that creates so much fear?

I believe the answer lies in a conversation not about assimilation, but about white supremacy and the need to uphold systems of white supremacy. If we look deeper, we see that ideas about assimilation are really ideas about how to control black and brown bodies. It’s not a new conversation.  In fact, the earliest immigration policies were really a test of how “white” brown people could be. Those who failed the test were barred from immigrating.

The racist sentiment providing the foundation for early immigration laws is reflected in two Supreme Court cases, U.S. v. Thind and Ozawa v. U.S. In both of these cases, the naturalization of two immigrants depended on whether they could be classified as white.  One author, John Tehranian, noted how the court decisions helped establish a test for whiteness comprised of two parts: “adoption of white values and his personal dramaturgy of whiteness….and the assimilation of his ethnic group into the core Western European, Christian tradition as evidence of his whiteness.” Sounds pretty familiar, doesn’t it? We really have not come very far in the conversation on assimilation. The acceptability of brown people in this country is still hinging on how well we perform whiteness.

So for me, in a conversation about assimilation, I’m more interested in questioning what many people seem to take for granted: that we need to assimilate at all. My question is why do brown people need to assimilate? James Baldwin once posed a similar question: “The question you gotta ask yourself –the question the white population has to ask itself—is why was it necessary to have a Negro in the first place.” Both of these questions are an invitation to unpack white supremacy and all its intricacies. Only then will one understand why my existence is so threatening to GOP supporters and even white liberals like Tom Brokaw.

To start, we need to look at why, historically, division was so important. In 1676, Bacon’s rebellion organized white frontiersmen, enslaved people, indentured servants, and Native Americans against the colony of Virginia. This expression of unity was the greatest fear of white supremacists profiting from slavery. So to prevent a rebellion from happening again, those same white elites gave poor whites land, allowed them to testify in court and enter into contracts, and provided jobs on slave patrol. In effect, poor whites were “assimilated.” The same method was later used to assimilate the Irish, the Germans, and the Italians to keep them from joining together in labor unions with black workers.

The fear of two cultures coming together, as my parents made possible, is not really fear about “cultures that are conflicting with each other.” It is a fear that some whites may, like my father did, break rank and thus disrupt the systems. It is a fear of the possibilities, the potential, the magic that can happen when two seemingly divided cultures come together and create something beautiful. I am proof of that magic. I move fluidly between cultures and can see from various pivot points of American’s racial divide while also maintaining a global view of exploitation and oppression. I bridge gaps between people and with my Spanish and French can communicate with the better part of people living in the Americas and Africa.

But it’s not just my ability to connect groups of people that causes fear. It is that I am very certain of who I am and I will resist ‘assimilation’ – which is just another word for ‘white supremacy.’ I will resist the systems that seek to benefit whites and oppress people of color. I will resist the idea that there is something wrong with a certain language, culture, or skin color. And even scarier for white supremacy is that as a “brown grandbaby” I often can pass as white.

So in thinking about why my existence is a threat, it is clear that my body and my being break down the structures of the systems of white supremacy that have been so carefully constructed and maintained. I am not white or brown. I am both and neither. It is this interdependence and this lack of separation that whiteness seeks to deny in order to maintain its power. To imagine a system, an organism if you will, that is made up of both parts, so that each is indiscernible from the other, is a threat.  I am that system and organism. I am a reason to believe in a different way. So yes, I agree Tom, GOP supporters should fear me.

Don’t Invoke Martin Luther King Jr. While Advocating For Things He Would Stand Against

Monday was the day we, as a nation, observe the birthday of Civil Rights Icon Martin Luther King, Jr. (who was born on January 15, 1929). It was also the day lots of white people with selective memories shapeshift like Decepticons into progressive, social justice allies. History, their voting patterns, and their comment sections indicate that they probably loved the good Reverend Doctor then about as much as they love Colin Kaepernick now. But once a year, to show how much they’ve always stood for equality and justice for “The Blacks,” they will trot out some of MLK’s more famous quotes and plaster them on their social media pages, complete with fancy filters and fonts. If they’re feeling particularly introspective, they may mention something contained in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” circa 1963. Most times they stick to excerpts from King’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech, (which even he decried as superficial “optimism” that needed to be “tempered with solid realism” later in life). Rarely do they venture into the world of King from 1965-1968.

(Wait…y’all do know King didn’t get assassinated right after the Lincoln Memorial speech, right? I mean, I realize history conveniently leaves out MOST of his orations and writings in order to paint a defanged picture of him—especially the ones with stern language condemning America for its continued economic injustice toward minorities and poor whites, after Civil Rights Legislation had been signed into law. History would also LOVE for you to believe that this speech was the end of his social justice career…but nah. His vision advanced beyond the “dream” to his involvement in the Poor People’s Campaign…which ultimately got him murdered by a lone racist named James *cough* the government *cough* Earl Ray.)

When trying to convince people to do something, using the words of a prominent historical figure has been known to influence the masses and drive the point home. No matter the context of the original quote, if just one sentence fits a particular situation it will get chopped and screwed into a remix of “wise words.” King’s words are no exception to this rule, suffering an ironic twist of fate: the ones on tolerance and non-violence are often the tools white people use to try and silence the cries of injustice and intolerance from the very people King was fighting for.

On Sunday, during his vacation from the Hollow Tree Factory, Keebler Elf Mike Pence was the latest abuser of King’s Dream speech. During a “Face the Nation” interviewwith Margaret Brennan, Pence had the unmitigated gall to not only misrepresent Martin Luther King’s words, he compared King to the bloated Big Mac with sentience currently running our country, Donald Trump. (If you would like to take a second to rinse out your mouth, go right ahead. I threw up a little when I heard it too.)

Michael Pence, the sitting Vice-President of the United States of America, decided that the best way to make a point about the need for a xenophobic wall—which his party is currently holding the country hostage over (the government has been shut down 31 days and counting), was to quote a man who stood for equality among races. WHUT?

I don’t know what kind of product Mike uses to keep that dusty white hair helmet in place, but it must have toxins that are seeping into his pores, through his skull and affecting his brain. Pixie cut Pence stated, with a straight face mind you: “Honestly, you know, the hearts and minds of the American people today are thinking a lot about it being the weekend we are remembering the life and the work of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. One of my favorite quotes from Dr. King was, ‘Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy…’ You think of how he changed America, he inspired us to change through the legislative process, to become a more perfect union, that’s exactly what President Trump is calling on the Congress to do, come to the table in a spirit of good faith.”
If you don’t get your intellectually dishonest ass up out of here, Michael.

To start, when people talk about “One of my favorite quotes”, they usually don’t have to stare down at a piece of paper to repeat it. If it’s a “favorite,” you can usually recite it from memory, no? Yet in the video, you notice Pence looks down to READ his favorite MLK quote off of a document in front of him. Interesting. Maybe he had a memory lapse because the quote is so out of context. You see, when Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke of the promises of democracy, he was speaking about giving people equal rights. Here is the full text:

“We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.”

Yet y’all want us to detach from reality and common sense…to the extent of believing…MARTIN LUTHER KING, JUNIOR would have DESIRED us to perpetuate the current RACIAL DISCRIMINATION toward Latino/Latina peoples through the democratic action of…FUNDING A COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY WALL TO SHOW HOW MUCH THEY ARE NOT WELCOME…IN THIS COUNTRY OF IMMIGRANTS? Ok.

While true that King inspired us to “change through the legislative process,” the change he sought is one that today’s Republican party actively fights against. We are nowhere near a more perfect union, and this administration is currently flying a raggedy looking Trump plane in the complete opposite direction. What Pence and his ilk are doing is completely adverse what King wanted, needed, or instructed us to do…yet they invoke his name in an attempt to get people on board with their bigotry and hatred. This commonplace perversion of his words is exactly the reason why lauded Chicago writer and public servant Leslé Honoré wrote the poem “my king” in 2017 (her entire book is amazing and poignant in our current social climate, and can be purchased here):

Get yo hands off my King

Get yo white washing

Emasculating

Rewriting history

Lie telling hands off my King

Get yo hands off his legacy

His words

Our dream

Get yo hands off my King

Get yo misquoting

Yo paraphrasing

Hiding a knife behind yo back

Get yo hands off my King

Get yo wire tappin

Bait settin

Operative trainin

Bomb throwing

White hood wearing

Trump voting

Trigger pulling

ASSASSINATING

Hands off my King

He wasn’t a pacifist

Cheek turning

Boot licking

Kneegrow

He was a Man Marching

Blow taking

Suit wearing

Revolution Preaching

Black woman loving

Black Children Raising

KING!

Get His name out yo mouth

No He is NOT rolling over in his grave

When we scream

BLACK LIVES MATTER

When we flood the streets in protest

When we shut down your highways

And Your stores on Black Fridays

When we organize and fight against

Your pseudo liberalism

That likes its kneegrows

Quiet

Calm

Ball dribbling

Touch down making

Joke telling

Shucking and jiving

HE ISN’T ROLLING OVER

HE’S APPLAUDING

SO GET YO HANDS OFF MY KING

Somebody needs to tell Pence and those like him to get their hands and minds right… right off of the words and legacy of Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. They didn’t respect their magnitude and meaning then, and they surely don’t now. If you’re not about his mission? Keep his name out your mouth.

Surviving: Our Girls Are Depending On Us

My beautiful daughter is ten years old. She is amazing, a track star and honor roll student. She does competition cheerleading and cheers at her school. She is popular at school and a class ambassador. As her father, I have enjoyed many dates with her where I treat her the same way I envision a decent young man treating her eventually in life. She binge watches Nailed It on Netflix, still looks for swings at the park, climbs trees, and looks forward to going to the playground.

Now, imagine some grown man or woman sizing her up and eyeing her down. A predator wouldn’t think twice about her innocence and could care less whether she is a track star who has dreams of running in college or her cheerleading back handsprings, handstands and tucks.  This knowledge would only get in the way of the predator’s vile plans. Swings, trees and playgrounds will definitely be a thing of her past if a predator was successful. Predators wish to strip children of anything that allows them to enjoy their childhood. The predator’s hope is to develop her a child into the dependent slave whose mind is taken over, stripping the child of mental, emotional, and spiritual stability. As a man who would die and live for his children, I instantly think in my mind that I wish a muthafucka would. That I would kill anyone or anything that would want to harm my children in that way. While this may be true, as the father who was given the gift of helping my daughter lay the groundwork for a wonderful life I have to approach this in a more strategic manner.

Obviously, this conversation is being sparked by the Lifetime docuseries Surviving R. Kelly. A series that has brought light to the entertainer’s personal exploits where he would target young underage girls. These exploits left him feeling in control but yet diminished the teenage years of the young girls that were a target of his acts. Truth of the matter is what R. Kelly has done is well known of in black communities. Which in no way, shape, or form makes these deplorable and heinous actions excusable. Generations have passed and rape, molestation, and child endangerment has dwelled within the back of our closets with a rug draped over and we ask the victim to never uncover this truth about their lives. This leaves them scarred emotionally and mentally with seemingly no place to go. If one has ever loved, supported, or cared for a survivor then suppressing a numbing and hurtful life changing event would be the last thing that we should ask of a victim because silence is a killer.

I don’t have all of the answers, and I struggle at times to find the right ways to engage my daughter with topics of this magnitude. What I do believe though is that I, as a caring man in her life, can partner with her mother and other caring women in her life to garner the right words to start the conversation. Yes, I think it’s a conversation men need to have with their daughters to show them that a man can care for you in a way that’s other than sexual and physical in nature.

Surviving is realizing that centuries of predatory acts can only be prevented by not hiding our children from despicable acts but by giving them the proper tools needed to recognize predators. Surviving is unpacking those generations full of skeletons in our closets and allowing our children to be present so they can see that being a victim is not a mental death sentence, and it can be overcome. Surviving is knowing there will unfortunately always be a demographic of people who coddle, protect, uphold, and even assist predators that we are attempting to keep away from our children. Predators go where children are, such as cheer competitions, track meets, playgrounds, and even at home. Let’s equip our children with knowledge to protect their lives now and in the future. It’s a conversation that is long overdue.

 

It’s Time to #MuteRKelly Once and for All

The first week of 2019 offered us an informative and nauseating—yet necessary— docuseries on Robert Sylvester-the-child-molester Kelly, better known publicly as musician R. Kelly. Rumors about Kelly’s predilection towards teenage girls were confirmed, and allegations of his constant, consistent abuse of women were laid bare. For most people familiar with the self-proclaimed “pied piper of R&B,” the doc uncovered nothing new. Kelly’s career has been haunted by his predatory perversions since the ’90s (Read: We know this fool is a nasty ass creep. Who names THEMSELVES “the pied piper,” a character known for leading children off a cliff with music? A NASTY ASS CREEP IS WHO).

But seeing the episodes professionally compiled, coupled with heartbreaking images of parents trying desperately to communicate with their brainwashed, sequestered daughters, brought Kelly’s ghosts of misdeeds past (and present) to life in 2019. What remains most frightening is the number of people who continue to support his nasty ass. Most of Robert’s supporters fall into the 40+ age bracket, meaning they are too damn old and have too many gigabytes on their data plans to fall for the okie doke, and therefore should absolutely know better. They’ve convinced themselves that the survivors are lying, but like the old folk say: “Everybody ain’t telling the SAME lie on you.”

He has male and female supporters alike, which should make any decent human being cringe in horror. The female supporters are quite the conundrum; for starters, they’re absolutely too old for him to find desirable, so if they’re holding out hope that their fandom will win them a place in Robert’s heart, bed, or song lyrics, they are sadly mistaken. Additionally, as a woman, they should be fully aware of how young girls are routinely targeted for sexual abuse by older men, and usually suffer in silence. They probably have girls in their own households or families who have been abused, but after seeing their reactions to the R. Kelly situation, will never say a word.

Most Generation Xers/Xennials were in middle or high school when 25-year-old Kelly hit the music scene with the group Public Announcement. The group found fast fame with their debut album and New Jack Swing sound, which was hugely popular in 1992. The album produced enough hits for Kelly to venture out solo, and the next year his “12 Play” album became one of R&B’s sexiest chart toppers. Even though most were too young to engage in the activities Kelly crooned about, he cemented his place in that generation’s musical consciousness and earned hardcore fans. During this time, he was also known to be a constant presence outside of Kenwood Academy, his former high school, propositioning (or having members of his crew proposition) the girls attending the school. Due to his fame, it was an easy task, and he readily avoided ridicule and resistance from surrounding adults. Let’s hear that one mo’ time: a 25-year-old man was able to prey on girls aged 13-17 for years, at their school, just because he had popularity and money.

Where were the administrators? The teachers? Where were the big brothers/cousins/uncles/daddies who would whoop a dude’s ass for this? Where were the cops, who were supposed to be protecting and serving these CHILDREN? (Allegedly, Kelly had police officers on his payroll then and now to keep him out of trouble. There is currently no evidence to support this claim…besides the fact that he is still walking around as an unharmed, free man.) Is the proximity to money and power so intoxicating that people are willing to offer up young girls as a sacrifice to have it? In the case of R. Kelly, it seems that way.

Around this same time, Kelly was grooming 14-year-old label mate Aaliyah Haughton as an artist…and as a lover. He was lead writer and producer on her 1994 debut album, whose “Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number” title was, in hindsight, a reflection of his relationship with the singer. (Newsflash: Robert BEEN a bold ass, nasty ass MFer.) As much as they attempted to keep it under wraps, people detected something untoward going on in this supposed mentor/mentee situation. The docuseries produced witnesses that revealed 27-year-old Kelly’s illegal marriage to Aaliyah happened due to a pregnancy scare when she was 15, and that forged documents were produced to claim she was 18 (the marriage was annulled by her parents months later). After the annulment, Aaliyah ended her contract with Jive and severed all ties with Kelly and his crew (See? This is what happens with parents who cared more about their child’s welfare than fame, fortune or even HER career).

Amid sexual harassment charges that were settled out of court, what brought Kelly’s behavior to the legal spotlight in 2001 was the now infamous “pee tape”—a video recording of Kelly and an obviously young girl (said to be 13/14 at the time of the recording), having sex with and urinating on her. This young girl was actually the daughter of Kelly’s guitarist and niece to his former background singer turned protege, Sparkle. According to Sparkle, when she found out her niece was being sexually abused by R.Kelly, she went to her siblings, but nothing was done. When asked to testify in court, Sparkle identified the young girl on the tape as her niece, but the girl and her parents refused to testify. Due to their refusal, R.Kelly has never been found guilty of any legal misconduct and has remained free to wreak havoc upon others. (See? THIS is what happens with parents who care more about fame, fortune and their careers than their child’s welfare.)

The doc goes on to highlight victim after victim of Kelly’s manipulative abuse, some of which are still, to this day, under his control. Timothy and Jonjelyn Savage went to the media with their claims that R. Kelly is holding their daughter Joycelyn hostage, refusing to allow her to contact them. Joycelyn later appeared in a TMZ video denying the claim, yet it was reported by a former Kelly employee Joycelyn was coached on what to say, and Savage’s father points out where you can see someone signaling her in the shadows on the recording. Angelo and Alice Clary, whose daughter Azriel has not talked to them for three years since turning 18 and running off with Kelly, attempted to get Chicago PD to do a wellness check at the studio where she is allegedly living with Kelly. CPD’s hands were tied, however, and the parents were denied any access. The Savages and Clarys are still fighting to contact their daughters, and reportedly, Kelly is facing criminal investigations in both Georgia and Chicago after the docuseries aired.

That it took a major network to air a 6 hour, 3 day special for most people to pay closer and more serious attention to this situation is mind-boggling. This should serve as a wake-up call in our communities to not only #BelieveSurvivors, but to also remove celebrities and people with money and influence from the pedestals of immunity when it comes to harming our children. No song is worth more than a child’s innocence. No amount of money is worth selling out our youth. For those that want to continue to support deviants like R. Kelly, step your ass in the name of sexual assault and criminality from now on—because you have no idea what the word love means. The faster we #MuteRKelly, the less likely anyone in the future will have to proclaim #MeToo from his reign of terror.

Dear Santa..

As we embrace another holiday season and go about our shopping, eating, and greeting of our family members I would be remiss if I didn’t express my wishes for our most precious resource, our children. So I sat down to pen my wishlist for them personally and for the adults who make critical decisions that affect their lives educationally and into the future.

 

 

 

  • I wish the Orleans Parish School Board and Supt. Henderson Lewis would practice and show some leadership as it relates to our school system and engagement with families. They have yet to articulate a plan to garner more quality schools or seats to parents or the community whom they serve. I also wish they don’t believe they can close their way to quality seats because that would just be simply irresponsible and careless.

 

  • I wish those previously mentioned school board members would do the duties of their elected jobs and visit more schools to talk to more families. I’m guessing the people that you say you serve should at least know who you are, just a thought.

 

 

  • I wish Ed Reformers would stop thinking that all charter schools are good and that things are better in the New Orleans education system. They aren’t and we’re not. Plus, please don’t try to debate me on this with studies done by the Education Research Alliance Of New Orleans. They lack real human stories and humanity. I find most of these studies are bias research anyway. If you want the truth get it from the source.

 

  • I wish teachers weren’t afraid to speak their mind and were free to use their talent without fear of being let go by the reigning CEO of the CMO operator that they work for. We know that’s why they fired all of those veteran teachers, but this needs to get better because teachers are the light keepers of the future.

 

  • I wish that we begin to work together for the future of our children. I wish that this entire metropolitan area realizes that the success of each and every one of our children is the only way to see a better tomorrow in our communities and respective cities!

 

I am quite aware that all of these wishes are truly attainable if we come together behind a unified goal. All of our ideas, thoughts, and opinions matter and can lead to a better New Orleans for future generations. I promise to do my part, will you join me?

 

Congratulations to Washington Elementary Teacher of the Year! Melissa Bagneris

I was recently honored by my peers with the highest recognition of my 11 year career so far. I was nominated and voted by my faculty and staff as the winner of the 2019-2020 Teacher of the Year for my elementary school in Jefferson Parish, Washington Elementary.

They say do what you love and you’ll never truly work a day in your life and though I couldn’t love what I get to do in life more than I love teaching my students…it’s a whole lot of work. As a single mom, and a Kindergarten teacher, I am no stranger to “thankless” jobs with incomparable rewards, but to have the people around you take notice, and take the time to stop and lift you up in recognition that what you do with passion and purpose is having a significant impact…there is no greater feeling!

I get to encourage, and empower our babies at their foundation as well as help build their character. I am a part of a faculty and a community in Kenner that over the past decade have become my true family and friends, and I cry every year at the fifth grade graduation when I watch class after class of my former Kindergarteners leave my school and go out to face the world. I am still in shock and surprised by this honor, but mostly I am humbled and so incredibly grateful to do this work that I love and will continue to give it everything I have, because I was called to do so.

 

Liberation in Education: Why Don’t We Just Tear the Whole Fence Down?

As I sat in an Alexandria, Virginia conference room along with other powerful, thought-provoking, expert parent-leaders, strategizing and organizing upcoming movements in the world of parent advocacy, the topic came up about the equality/equity picture. Yes, you know the one that has been used and circulated more times than any of us could probably name. The ballgame, the fence, and three individuals being affected by their positions as it related to the fence. Then UPLAN parent leader, mother, wife, and child-expert, Bianca Scott, said one of the most revolutionary and groundbreaking ideas I have heard in a while, “Why don’t we just tear the whole fence down”?

Eureka! The breath of fresh air that a simple question gave to a room was exhilarating. In fact, the thoughts birthed in me from that challenge are of a new and progressive way to address matters that have been stewing in the education swamp for quite a while and with no fresh or innovative ways to rectify the issues

First, let’s start with the repeated use of ‘equality’ and ‘equity’ in pictures, sentence, articles, and blog posts.  I am also a perpetrator of this act as I used the picture and dialogue in a previous blog on the topic. But, this was before my liberation, something most keepers of the gate don’t want. Why? Because it would be an end to their reign, dominance, and in many cases their financial flow. What the use of both of these words simultaneously does is aid in the confusion of the very groups of people (families) that it is intended to help. Many of us have pondered about this topic. Written on this topic. Listened to panels and explanations on the topic, which frankly means to me that its use is not sufficient and vastly outdated. If you have to go through the trouble of explaining this topic to education professionals, then imagine the exclusion that it causes to students, parents, and families.

I actually found another picture and story that added the use of the word liberation to the same “equality/equity” picture and story. That addition speaks of reimagining the idea and in fact tearing down the fence, subsequently freeing everyone one who was blocked, while also opening up the dialogue to ideas by the very people affected by the topic of fairness. Literal liberation and a voice.

Still, education entities promote the equality vs. equity model. This clearly states to me that the broad education village is satisfied with repeatedly supporting an idea of providing a service that would keep students, parents, and families dependent on them rather than empowering families or celebrating the power families already possess.

The convening in Alexandria, Virginia of strong and capable parent leaders was supported by NAFSCE as a way to not only engage but to empower and partner with powerful parents. If the education system in America is going to be better, then the leadership has to understand that any decisions, plans or goals will never be met as long as family engagement doesn’t seek to empower families and as long as families are seen as tokens in these plans. Without a significant admission that forward progress will only be accomplished by inviting and welcoming the very people who are being served, the education system in America is nothing more than a dog chasing its own tail. You are going in circles and will never go anywhere.

I believe the failure to acknowledge that the conversation about equality and equity is outdated and needs to be totally overhauled is a blatant attempt by the powers that be to keep families dependent. They know exactly what they are doing. It amazes me that in 2018 there aren’t any creative or innovative ideas coming from education leaders and that they fail to hear the voices of a large body of child-experts, the parents. 2019 offers a renewed chance to move forward in a new light but the switch has to be turned on first. If the switch is never turned, nothing will be accomplished. But, we as parents have our flashlights and we will keep presenting our demands!

Meet Gina Womack, A powerful advocate for Juvenile Justice reform

Gina Womack, the executive director of Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children (FFLIC) went on to lead the campaign to close the country’s most notorious juvenile prison and continues to fight for services and treatment for Louisiana’s children.

This video is about families who were looking for help for their children and being unable to find the help they so desperately needed.