Category Archives: Social Issues

Social causes, activism, and projects

Immigration leads to a vibrant culture and prosperous economy – by Richard Fields

On May 7, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a new “zero tolerance” policy on illegal immigration.
“If you smuggle an illegal alien across the border, then we’ll prosecute you,” Sessions said. “If you’re smuggling a child, then we’re going to prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you, probably, as required by law. If you don’t want your child separated, then don’t bring them across the border illegally. It’s not our fault that somebody does that.”

Immigrant families were forcibly separated, with parents being caged in one location and their children elsewhere.

Nearly all Libertarians, most Democrats, and many Republicans were repulsed by the harshness of that policy. Previous administrations used only civil procedures for misdemeanor illegal border crossings, usually resulting in no more than deportation.

Continue reading Immigration leads to a vibrant culture and prosperous economy – by Richard Fields

Pastor Paul McDaniel and the Interfaith South — by Deborah Levine

When I arrived at Chattanooga’s Second Missionary Baptist Church, A true Southern gentleman, The Rev. Paul McDaniel, met me personally met at the door.   Born in Rock Hill, South Carolina, Pastor McDaniel has been part of the Southern landscape and its African American community for most of his life. After attending Morehouse College in Atlanta, he received a Masters of Divinity degree from Colgate-Rochester Divinity School and a Masters of Arts degree from the University of Rochester in New York. A Chattanooga resident since 1966, Rev. McDaniel is stepping down from his post at the Second Missionary Baptist Church after almost 50 years of service.  A larger-than-life figure in the community, I share our conversation in his honor.

Continue reading Pastor Paul McDaniel and the Interfaith South — by Deborah Levine

Seeing Beyond the Label: Patriarchy – by Sharon Riegie Maynard

What we are facing in the United States, and really throughout the world, is a crisis in consciousness, a clash of value systems. Values are that which one believes. Values are the impetus for thoughts, attitudes, and actions and yet we seldom have conversations about the underlying reasons for the actions and cultures. It was over 20 years ago that Paul H. Ray created a platform to gather information as to the values held by the citizens within the U.S. This research study, which has been repeated several times, hold some key information to conversations around the problems being seen.

Continue reading Seeing Beyond the Label: Patriarchy – by Sharon Riegie Maynard

My Marriage to an Illegal Immigrant (Part 3) – by Terry Howard

For native born U.S. citizens life is full of challenges. But, as “Nadia” shared during my interview, life for those in mixed status marriages like hers has even more difficult challenges. She shared a few:

ME: Tell me about some of the biggest challenges children in mixed-status homes face.
NADIA: The impact on children is the most heart wrenching. Immigration raids and police checkpoints targeting undocumented immigrants in their homes and communities, or having to visit a parent in a detention center all can be psychological damaging. One of the most difficult issues in our life is that occasionally a friend or family member will be arrested and deported. It’s very difficult to explain to children that uncle-so-and-so was not a bad person, he wasn’t a criminal and yet he is in jail. The idea of immigration laws are very abstract to children.

Continue reading My Marriage to an Illegal Immigrant (Part 3) – by Terry Howard

Prison Conditions: Lessons from Nigeria – by Isowo Smart

It is heartbreaking to see voiceless, innocent children imprisoned with their mothers in a heavily congested adult prison cell with little or no care to prepare them for the future. If we agree there is a 60% chance for a child of a convict to be convicted, then what will become of a child neglected to the nurture hood of a prison environment that is electrified with disgust?

The huge number of out-of-school-children is already becoming alarming and a very large percentage of them are used by terrorists in the northern part of Nigeria as suicide bombers. It should be a call for urgent concern globally to see children who should have been in school, but remain on the street, getting arrested and thrown into adult prisons for trying to survive from street selling. Don’t forget the handicapped and sick inmates who need help to stay alive in a prison structure designed to drain hope from healthy minds.

Continue reading Prison Conditions: Lessons from Nigeria – by Isowo Smart

My Marriage to an Illegal Immigrant (Part 2) – by Terry Howard

Recently my wife and youngest son were riveted to live images on his laptop of my eight month old granddaughter crawling around on a living room floor pausing occasionally to pull herself on furniture to explore stuff. Although her 9 year old brother was preoccupied in another room, the baby’s 8 year old sister pranced in and out of the screen smiling and waving at us. Like us, their proud mom and dad – my daughter-in-law and son – could be heard laughing and relishing these precious moments.

And for a few seconds later, I conjured up recent images of those immigrant kids on the southern border literally caged up like animals and separated from their parents. Unlike for us – and the majority of native born citizens of the United States – those precious moments are few and far between for those parents.

Okay – before reading further, think on the aforementioned two paragraphs for a few moments from your perspective as a parent and/or grandparent with your loved ones in mind.

Continue reading My Marriage to an Illegal Immigrant (Part 2) – by Terry Howard

My Marriage to an Illegal Immigrant (Part 1) – by Terry Howard

At the center of the contentious immigration debate; the finger-pointing and the promise to “build a wall” on the southern border, are human beings who like everyone else want opportunities for a better life for themselves and their loved ones. “Nadia” is no exception.

But let’s start this at the end, that being a gut wrenching decision by her family to finally pack up and relocate to the relative safety of Winnipeg, Canada. A dozen or so years fighting through the immigration system, the bureaucracy, the morass and the constant fear of deportation can wear down even the strongest of the strong.

Continue reading My Marriage to an Illegal Immigrant (Part 1) – by Terry Howard

“Two people at a time” – Remembering Bill! – by Terry Howard

I didn’t know Bill Nordmark. And I’m probably not alone. That is until his name appeared on the obituary page of a local newspaper. “Bill Nordmark fought polio as a child and racism as an adult, all the while believing that one person can make a difference,” the opening paragraph read. Two years ago he embarked on a mission to forge better race relations – two people at a time – through what became known as a “Friendship Initiative.”

You see, that line and the rest of the story about Bill Nordmark (I’ll get to some of it further down), conjured up for me a line from one of my favorite authors, William Faulkner. “You move a mountain one stone at a time!”

Continue reading “Two people at a time” – Remembering Bill! – by Terry Howard

Tracking our Destructors Year by Year– by Deborah Levine

I used to write about terrorism in the U.S. every spring. My articles began with the domestic terrorism of the Oklahoma City bombing more than twenty years ago on April 19.  That’s when I became the community/media liaison for Oklahoma’s Tulsa Jewish Federation. It was shortly after the bombing destroyed the Murrah Building and so many lives were affected. I felt compelled to investigate what led to the deadliest bombing, prior to 9/11, on our native soil.  The violent hatred that I saw has not only continued, but has expanded globally, and now, it  encompasses the entire year.

Continue reading Tracking our Destructors Year by Year– by Deborah Levine