Well, They Don’t Look Like Me


Welp. Here we are in January of 2019. The 116th Congress of the United States has just been sworn in. There’s been a whole of news about this group of Congress people, especially the incoming “Freshman” class.

I’ve seen the group photos. I’ve read the biographies and the position statements and all I can say is this:

This Congress does NOT look anything like me.

I mean, I’m 62 years old, white, Christian and heterosexual.

They don’t look or sound like me.

But you know what?

That’s what makes me so excited and so hopeful for the future of this nation.

I mean, let’s be honest here, OK? For the last two centuries or so, the country has been run by older white Christians. Sure, they were almost all men, but they still were pretty much my descriptive demographic.

And I don’t know about you, but I don’t think that’s really done a whole lot of good.

I don’t mean to be ageist, racist, sexist or anything else-ist, but I am more than thrilled to see a new House of Representatives that actually seems to be representative. I am filled with hope and excitement when I see women of color, Muslims, Hindus, gays, transgender folks and lots and lots of young people taking up the mantle of leadership.

The United States is no longer all white, all Christian, all straight. Our leaders shouldn’t be either. My generation has had plenty of time to wield its influence.

Chalk it up to my decades of bleeding heart liberalism, but I am so excited to see what the bold, brash, unashamed young multicultural crew will bring us in the next few years.

They have my full support.

It’s way past time for somebody to shake up the power elite around here.

Who Is At Fault?


3F63A16C00000578-0-image-m-28_1495670132247

I used to be a teacher. For many years, I was one of those people charged with keeping our children educated, safe, confident and skilled. One of the many charges that I took so seriously during those years was the charge to prevent children from bullying each other.

I was a fifth grade teacher. My students were ten and eleven years old. I was told that if they bullied each other, part of the fault was mine.

I understood. My classroom spent time every single day talking about how to interact with civility, with kindness, with generosity. I remember talking to them about the fact that they did NOT have to be friends. They did NOT have to like each other.

“But, here’s the thing,” I would tell them, “You are all members of this very same classroom community. You must treat each other with respect and care. If you don’t, our entire community will suffer. We will not achieve our goal of learning what we are supposed to learn if you are mean to each other and if you fail to support each other.”

And I taught them that if anyone of them became a bully, they all had a moral obligation to stand up to that bully and to protect the victim. I taught them not to be bystanders. I taught them not to let the bully get away with intimidating the weaker members of our community.

Those children understood what I taught. More importantly, they carried out those lessons every single day. To quote one of my students, some five years after he had left my classroom: “We learned that we were all really friends. In Karen’s classroom, everyone stood up for each other.”

So here I am. Four years after my retirement. Wondering how it is that we expect ten year olds to understand and carry out lessons that our actual highly paid, internationally renowned leaders fail to grasp.

How is it that we ask our fifth graders to stop being bullies, to stop intimidating each other, to stop calling each other names, but we let the most powerful people in the country do exactly that? How is it that we expect our youngest children to act in ways that we don’t demand of our so called “leaders”?

When Donald Trump calls his adversaries names, when he labels them as “enemies”, when he asks his followers to attack them, he is behaving in all of the ways that we won’t allow our children to do. He is the absolute epitome of the ignorant, hateful bully on the playground.

The bully that every public school teacher is expected to stop in his tracks.

So.

Where is Congress in this current bullying situation? Where are the leaders of the GOP? Where are the people who we expect to protect us from the ignorant, hateful bully on the national stage?

Why are they acting as bystanders, those silent observers who encourage the bully by not stepping in?

If we can demand that our public school teachers stop bullies, we can damn well demand that our members of Congress do the same. We can demand that our nation’s governors stand up the bully. We can demand that our media outlets stand up to that bully, and that they label his lies as lies.

If you all can ask the average classroom teacher to do it, then you better be absolutely sure that on Nov 6 you will be voting for people who will do the very same thing in Washington.

Bullying is wrong. It’s wrong on the elementary school playground and it’s wrong when it happens on the national stage in front of hundreds of people at a political rally.

Our leaders should be held, at the very least, to the same standards as our public school employees.

 

 

So Just to Sum Up


SONY DSC

Feelin’ like a crab.

Here we are, in 2018, in the United States of America.

We have a President who got elected in spite of bragging about sexually assaulting women. He has been married three times, and cheated on a pregnant wife with a porn star. He has made fun of a woman who came forward to state that she’d been sexually assaulted.

As a woman, this doesn’t make me feel particularly protected.

We have a Congress that is made up of people who are only worried about getting reelected. Other than possibly Heidi Heitkamp, they don’t care about who did what to whom, who supports equal rights for the Americans who actually pay their salaries, or who is totally biased against half of us.

Appoint an accused sexual predator to the Supreme Court, even though he just went on national TV to scream about his promise to strike back against half of the country and half of Congress? No worries. As long as you get reelected, who cares?

As a woman, this doesn’t make me feel particularly protected.

And now we have a Supreme Court that includes not one but TWO credibly accused sexual predators.

Awesome.

As a woman, this doesn’t make me feel particularly protected.

In fact, as a grandmother who has lived through my own widely accepted and lightly dismissed sexual harassment, I’m pissed.

As the mother of a young woman who escaped rape only because she wasn’t at the bar alone when her drink was poisoned, I am beyond outraged.

As the grandmother of a beautiful little girl who has had to learn at the tender age of three to say, “Don’t play with my braids. It’s my body and I get to choose,” I am enraged. I am furious. I am disgusted.

But what is worse is that I have lost what little bit of faith I had left in my country and in my government.

No matter what happens, I will never ever ever believe that the Supreme Court has an unbiased view of the cases before it. I will never ever ever believe that my members of Congress have my needs or my protections in view.

And until the current President, the man who is so proud of his sexual predator past, is taken away and replaced by someone with a shred of integrity, I will not be able to believe that the Executive Branch of this country has the interests of any women in mind.

I am not only not feeling patriotic tonight, I am feeling an absolute disgust in my government. I am not proud of my country. I am not happy to be an American.

In fact, if some other country would take me and mine, I’d be there tomorrow.

 

 

Not So Blind Justice


lady-justice

I thought that the Supreme Court was made of lifetime appointees because avoiding the need to be elected or re-elected would them to be impartial.

Aren’t judges supposed to interpret the law without political bias? Aren’t they supposed to be free of political influence and political pressure?

Wouldn’t you want all judges to approach their jobs with an open mind?

Now, I’m not completely naive. I understand that we all have our core beliefs and that we all come to our work with our own personal histories and experiences.

But.

A person who expects to be appointed to a lifetime position on the highest court in the  United States of American had better be able to demonstrate that open mind in public. He damn well better show his impartiality to the duly elected men and women who will be doing the hiring.

Read these words from the opening statement of Judge Brett Kavanaugh in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee:

As I told this Committee the last time I appeared before you, a federal judge must be independent, not swayed by public or political pressure.

I agree with him.

Now read his testimony in front of that very Committee:

This confirmation process has become a national disgrace. The Constitution gives the Senate an important role in the confirmation process, but you have replaced advice and consent with search and destroy.

Since my nomination in July, there’s been a frenzy on the left to come up with something, anything to block my confirmation. Shortly after I was nominated, the Democratic Senate leader said he would, quote, “oppose me with everything he’s got.” A Democratic senator on this committee publicly — publicly referred to me as evil — evil. Think about that word. It’s said that those who supported me were, quote, “complicit in evil.” Another Democratic senator on this committee said, quote, “Judge Kavanaugh is your worst nightmare.” A former head of the Democratic National Committee said, quote, “Judge Kavanaugh will threaten the lives of millions of Americans for decades to come.”

You sowed the wind for decades to come. I fear that the whole country will reap the whirlwind.

The behavior of several of the Democratic members of this committee at my hearing a few weeks ago was an embarrassment. But at least it was just a good old-fashioned attempt at Borking.

Those efforts didn’t work. When I did at least OK enough at the hearings that it looked like I might actually get confirmed, a new tactic was needed.

Some of you were lying in wait and had it ready. This first allegation was held in secret for weeks by a Democratic member of this committee, and by staff. It would be needed only if you couldn’t take me out on the merits.

When it was needed, this allegation was unleashed and publicly deployed over Dr. Ford’s wishes. And then — and then as no doubt was expected — if not planned — came a long series of false last-minute smears designed to scare me and drive me out of the process before any hearing occurred.

This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election. Fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record. Revenge on behalf of the Clintons. and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups.

The man has shown his extreme bias.

He isn’t open minded or impartial.

He is unfit to serve on the US Supreme Court.

Whether or not he was a high school drunk, whether or not he sexually assaulted a young woman, this man is NOT FIT TO SERVE AT ANY LEVEL ON THE FEDERAL BENCH.

The end.

He spoke the words above after taking an oath to tell the truth. Let’s believe him.

 

What Would I Do?


I remember one of my favorite classes, back in high school. We were asked to pretend that society had never been created. To pretend that there was no government, no social order, no bureaucracy.

Our teacher put us into small groups of three or four kids, and told us to set up a social order that we would find comfortable. I remember that she used the word “comfortable”. Not “fair” or “profitable” or “stable.” She went with comfortable.

I remember that my group of young, idealistic, foolish kids created a “social order” where people were expected to work in a way that gave something back to the group. People would be asked to create some kind of productivity (food, technology, infrastructure) that would make life better for the group. Then those workers would get food, shelter, health, safety, education.

It seemed so simple.

We were teenagers living in a time of idealism and hope. We thought that the lessons of the 1960s had been valuable. War is not the answer. Love is the key. Share what we have. The world is a very small blue planet that we all share.

We were beyond naive.

Still.

If you ask me today what it is that I would like to see from my government, here is what I would have to say.

I want to live in a place where the “government” is made up of regular folks. Where we take turns serving and then we go back to the “real world.”

I’d like to live in a country where the sole purpose of government is the provide security, health, safety, peace to the majority of the governed. Where laws are designed to create equality of access. Where companies and corporations are viewed simply as groups of workers to provide products to the people. Where those products are valued based on how much they needed. And when they are no longer needed, those products and those companies would fade into history and would be replaced.

So I guess if I was the one in charge, I would have stopped all the petroleum based corporations way back in the 1960’s, when the first evidence of global warming was being discussed. I would have had my government throwing its weight into renewable energy.

I bet if I was the one in charge, I would have shied away from letting private companies rake in millions and billions on medical discoveries. In my simple, naive world, medicine would be seen as a benefit to the people in the society, not as a source of riches to a tiny few.

If I was the one who had designed our society, I am pretty sure that I would have made sure there were no “parties.” I would absolutely have tried to design a system where two groups of rich and powerful people weren’t able to be in charge of everything.

Most of all, if I had been the one to create this system of government, I would have set it up in such a way that it would have been a lot easier to scrap.

Cuz I have to be honest. I am sick and tired of being the ping-pong ball in the endless game of “which party has the worst villain.” At the moment, all I know for sure is that it will be a very cold day in hell (global warming notwithstanding) before I will cast a vote for either of the corporate owned parties in charge of things now.

What a freakin’ mess.

Makes me yearn for those innocent days of high school, when we still thought things could be made better.

peace-1325161_640

So Who Should I Hate?


We are living in difficult times.

I am finding myself increasingly confused about who I’m supposed to hate these days.

I mean, I know that its wrong to hate people because of their race, their gender, their gender identity, their sexual preferences, their native language, their religion, their favorite baseball team (even Yankee fans)….

I’m a liberal middle aged white woman. I have marched against nuclear power, the Vietnam war, the slow passage of the ERA, the idea of a gas pipeline going through my town, income inequality, this President, and a few other things I forget at this point.

But.

Here’s where I’m confused.

If I believe what I see on social media, I am supposed to hate- with a deep and abiding passion- everyone who voted for Donald Trump. More, I’m supposed to detest and vilify everyone who still thinks he is doing a good job.

Even in said person is my very own family member, someone I love and treasure.

That’s really hard. I tend to be a relatively kind person, even if I am passionate about my political beliefs.

When I watch the news, or read online news stories, I realize that there are millions of my fellow countrymen who are being convinced that they are supposed to hate ME. If they want to seem like good Americans, real patriots, they are supposed to be calling me names like “libtard” and “snowflake”. They are supposed to scream at me because I want “open borders”. They are supposed to yell that I support the “deep state” and that I love crime, drugs, pillaging and rape. (OK, maybe that last part is over the top, but it’s hard to tell.)

Here’s the thing.

Years before the Donald was ever heard of, Americans were arguing about politics. I remember the 60’s very well, when every family gathering was marked by shouting over the war. I remember long, tortuous arguments with friends and relatives about Iran (way back, during the time of the hostage taking), about Israel/Palestine, about environmental concerns. I’ve been sneeringly labelled a “tree hugger,” a “lefty,” a “commie”.

None of that came with the level of absolute hatred that is soaking our interactions today.

Years after the Donald will be nothing more than an embarrassing chapter in US history, the citizens in this country will argue over everything from tax rates to school curriculum.

It’s what we do. We’re informed Americans. We vote. We try to be informed.

But today is not “years ago” or “years from now”.  Today is today.

And we are in a very very scary place. We think its fine, even admirable, to type obscenities on Twitter at people who disagree with us. We cheer when a member of our “team” is able to embarrass and humiliate people from the “other team.”

I blame the anonymity of social media for this.

We have fallen for the lie that we are good patriots if we publicly attack each other for our beliefs.

I blame Donald Trump for most of this. But I blame the gullible media for it, too. They loved the ratings and the fake outrage and the easy reporting that comes with their coverage of people screaming at each other.

Mostly, though, I blame us.

I mean, seriously folks. What the absolute hell?

If you voted for Trumpy, I think you made a huge mistake. I don’t think you are the spawn of the devil. I do not think you are part of a giant racist neo-Nazi attack on liberty and democracy.

If you voted against Trumpy, I don’t think you wear a halo. I don’t think you have a special entry into Heaven. I don’t think you are kinder, braver, harder working, smarter or more moral than those who voted the other way.

In the end, the rich and powerful will keep on being rich and powerful. They’ll keep on pushing for laws that will make us work harder to earn less while they protect their own billions and zillions and gajillions.

Remember: this happened. It will no doubt happen again in the not too distant future.

Donald Trump Sr. and Melania Trump Wedding, Self Assignment, January 22, 2005

We are NOT each other’s enemies. The press who reports on this bullshit is not the enemy. The people who make us attach each other in defense of THEM? They are our enemies.

Don’t mistake my point here. I hope, with every fiber of my being, that Donald Trump’s big old orange ass will land in jail in the not too distant future.

In the meantime? I refuse to inch any closer to civil war in defense of his actions or those who opposed him in the election.

I know. Half of you are outraged.

Let me hear what you think.

 

Is This the Border?


Traveling to Europe a few weeks ago was an amazing and eye opening experience. I learned so much.

And I have so many questions!

For example, when we took the train from Innsbruck to Milan, we had to cross the border between Austria and Italy. Austria is a financially stable and thriving country, while Italy continues to struggle with a weak economy, an unstable government, and an influx of immigrants that it can neither house nor feed.

You’d expect the border between the two countries to be pretty secure, wouldn’t you?

You know what?
It’s completely invisible.

We boarded our international train in Austria and got off in Italy. The only way that we knew we’d changed countries was that the signs at the first station were in German and then Italian, and at the last they were in Italian and then German.

There were plenty of business people and other types of workers on our train. They were speaking German as they entered Italy to work for the day.

In the station we saw people with briefcases or work uniforms waiting to go from Italy into Austria to work for the day.

I was astounded.

Where were the armed guards? The passport and visa checkers? Where were the fences and gates and drug sniffing dogs?

Wouldn’t Italians be trying to get into Austria to have a better life, given the differences in the two economies?

When I asked about this, people were baffled.

“Well, we are Italians and we live in Italy, but we go to work in Austria. Then we come home at the end of the day.” The explanations were given with just the slightest hint of “what the hell don’t you understand about this?”

What a concept.

An open border. And it doesn’t mean that millions of poor, struggling Italians are infesting Austria to rape and pillage.

Nope.

It means that people on both sides can work where there are jobs. Presumably, both economies benefit from the connection between workers and work.

At night, everyone gets back on the train, or the bus, or into their cars, and they drive across the invisible borders to go back to their families, their towns, their languages and their respective soccer teams.

Wonder what my country could learn from this situation?

the border

Somewhere along the border. I can’t tell you exactly how far on either side of the line this was.

One Last Thought Before I Go


I can’t stand Donald Trump. He is a liar. I hate liars. He is willing to turn us all against each other to achieve his own power and his own gains. I hate that kind of selfishness.

But I love a lot of his followers. I love my relatives who have come to every birthday party for my kids, sent graduation gifts, danced at family weddings, made me dinners just for fun. I love my neighbors who kayak with us, go out to dinner with us, share perennials, gripe about the lousy weather and sit through endless town meetings with us.

I despise the media moguls who control our thoughts by following the orders of their corporate overlords. Fox News is a wholly owned subsidiary of Trump and his Corporate organization. They’re ridiculous. They aren’t news. I would never look to them for news.

CNN is less obvious, but “Breaking News” every hour on the hour for the past 10 years? Seriously, dudes? One big story per week, with endless repetitive talking heads pretending outrage and tears? That’s your idea of news?

Come. On.

I hate the ugly words that are being hurled around by people who disagree on the latest core issue. I hate seeing people berated for their beliefs, their life styles, their religious choices, their sexual preferences. I hate it. I hate the swears, the offensive remarks, the name calling, the hatred, the plain old meanness.

I don’t love my country, because I don’t know what that means. Am I supposed to love the dirt? The trees? The highways? Am I supposed to love the flag, no matter where it waves or who is holding it or how it is used? I don’t know if I’m expected to love my government? The bureaucracy of it? The big money that owns it?

I do love my countrymen. I love them because they’re also trying to make sense of the struggles we face every day. They want jobs, they want some financial security, they was to know that if they work hard they will be able to provide a safe life for their families.

I love my countrymen because they are humans. I love my fellow humans. I don’t hate the ones who are different from me. I don’t hate or fear the ones who have different colored skin than mine. I don’t hate of fear the ones who are more or less religious than me or the ones who call the divine by a name I don’t recognize. I don’t fear or hate my fellow humans if they are richer or poorer than me, or if they speak a different language or if they live in a different part of this earth.

And I don’t hate or fear my fellow humans, my fellow Americans, my fellow community members because they disagree with my views on gun control or border safety or trade or taxes.

I hope that I am smart enough to find some truth in all the complete bullshit that is filling our world. I hope that I am brave enough to listen when people have different ideas than my own.

And I hope that I am kind enough, evolved enough, thoughtful enough to grant my fellow family members, neighbors, coworkers the right to their own opinions.

I will still work as hard as I can to move my country and my world in a direction that seems the best to me. I will still work as diligently as possible to bring a positive, loving, kind world into being.

But I will try my best to do that without screaming at my friends on the “other side.”

I don’t know if my plan will work. I just know that it’s the only way I can proceed and still feel proud of myself as I look in the mirror every day.

I wish more people shared my view.

It might make us all a lot safer and a whole lot better informed.

9a150b743027258627c044efd5296340

Trying to be my best self.

Leaving On A Jet Plane


Paul and I are about to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary in the most wonderful way imaginable. We are about to jet off to Europe for a three week vacation, the longest we have ever taken.

We’ll start in Germany, spending a week with very dear friends. There will be laughing, eating, drinking, music and a lot of catching up on each other’s lives after two years apart.

From there we head South into Italy, my home country, where we hope to connect with distant relatives and learn about my family’s pre-immigration past.

I am SO excited that I can’t even stand it!!!

But.

I’m wondering what I will say when we are asked about the current situation here in the US. I mean, I know that I’ll assure whoever it is I’m talking to that most of us did NOT vote for Trump and despise his policies.

But my bigger worry is how to explain the way Americans are behaving toward each other these days.

How do I explain that half of us think it’s absolutely fine to mock and berate the other half? What do I say about one side refusing to serve food or bake cakes for the other half?

Is there a reasonable way to explain the curses, the vulgarities, the insulting names that each side is using on the other?

Can “Well, they did it first!” be translated into German or Italian without sounding like the absolute lamest excuse given by any kindergartener ever?

What do I say?

I can imagine myself trying to explain. “Well, I know it sounds like we Americans absolutely hate each other, but……”

But, what?

Do we hate each other? Do we really want each other to be humiliated, to be denied hospitality, to be spat upon?

How far away are we from violence in the streets, as rival groups hurl both insults and stones at each other?

How did we get here?

What do I say?

“I don’t know what has happened to us,” I might begin. “I remember when we used to argue at dinner, but keep on passing the dessert plate.”  Maybe I’ll point to the obvious issues with corporate media, and how that has lead to opposing viewpoints replacing factual news.

“I remember when we used to turn on the evening news, knowing that we’d get the same information no matter which channel we picked, but watching our favorite news reporters.”

Sigh.

How do I explain the sheer ugliness and vitriol and rage that has engulfed us all over here in the “land of the free”?

I don’t know.

I share that rage, and in some cases that ugliness and vitriol. There have been a boatload of moments in the past two years when I’ve wanted to strangle the life out of someone in the news.

How do I explain that to people who have lived through the violence and horrors of fascism and World War? What do I say? How do I describe my fervent desire to oppose what I see as immoral, without losing my own moral center?

I don’t know.

I truly do not know.

But before our plane lands on distant shores, I promise that I will have learned to say, “I love my fellow citizens” in at least two languages.

Maybe we should all be memorizing that phrase in English.

europe_4 pays

 

Remembering “My” Kids


I went into my daughter’s classroom for a visit last week. She teaches a loop, so she has her students for two years. Now it’s June of her second year with these lovely sixth graders, and everyone is tired, emotional, and ready to move on. I brought Kate’s kids in to the classroom to say goodbye.

Naturally, just stepping into the school building where I taught for more than two decades had me nostalgic.

All the way home that afternoon, I thought about “my” kids from over the years. Here are a few of the stories that have been on my mind.

The Bombs Below

One year I had a boy in my class who had spent about half of his ten years of life in his native Pakistan. His family had moved back and forth from the U.S. to Pakistan a couple of times, and were intending to return again. My student went through the year with one foot here and one over there.

In the early fall of that fifth grade year, we all went on a three day trip to the mountains. The trip included environmental studies and team building. It was hard work for this old teacher, but it was fun! One of the best parts was a hike up to a small mountain peak near the camp. We would all scramble through the woods for an hour or so until we came out to the summit, where the students would gather and gaze down at the camp, far below. Part of our tradition was to call out a greeting from the summit to the camp below. The kids below would hear us and call back.

That particular year, there was some construction going on at the camp. From the summit, we could hear distant hammers and faint booms as piles of wood were unloaded from trucks.

I stood with my Pakistani student, asking him if he could hear the kids calling up from below. He frowned behind his large glasses, squinting at the lake in the distance. “Listen carefully,” I told him. “We’ll yell and the kids on the athletic field will yell back.”

The kids gathered around me, giggling and clearing their throats.  “How, How!” we yelled. We waited, and then it came, “How, How!” from below. I turned to my student with a smile. “Did you hear it?”

He shook his head.

“All I can hear is those bombs down there.”

That’s what it’s like to leave a war zone. This poor kid heard distant hammering and simply assumed that bombs were going off.

He didn’t even react.

What grade am I in?

Many years ago, before I became a classroom teacher, I was the speech/language specialist in our school. I worked with kids who had communication disorders due to learning disabilities, hearing impairment, intellectual impairments and other challenges.

One year I was asked to evaluate a student who had recently immigrated to the U.S. from Brazil. The boy was tall, gangly armed in the way of pre-adolescent boys. He had a huge grin and sparkling brown eyes. Everything made him laugh.

His English was poor, but growing rapidly. He had a quick wit and warm charm that made him instantly popular with his classmates and teachers. He had very few academic skills, which was why I was doing my assessment. We weren’t sure if this young man had an underlying learning disorder that had held back his ability to read in his native Portuguese. We needed to find the best way to help catch up.

Although this student was old enough to be enrolled in our fifth grade, he had been placed in the fourth grade to give him time to catch up.

When I began my language assessment with a casual conversation, I learned why he was struggling so much.

“What grade were you in when you were in Brazil?”

“What grade? I don’t know. How do I know what grade I am in?”

“Honey, how many years of school did you do?”

“Oh. I don’t know.” I remember that he shrugged and grinned, looking up from beneath the brim of his cap. “I would go when there was a teacher. Sometimes I would go but there would be no teacher, so we just played or went home.”

I found out later, through an interpreter at a meeting with his Mom, that this boy had never completed a single year of school. There was no set curriculum, no continuity of lessons from year to year. Most troubling of all, teachers would come and go all year, often missing weeks of teaching time without replacements.

“This is why we left our country,” the Mom explained. “We wanted him to go to school.”

That handsome, charismatic, bright little guy was at our school for only a year. After that, we lost track of him as his family struggled to find a place to settle safely.

I think about him often.

book-112117_640

In honor of every single child who needs safety, education, and love.