Recently, the United Kingdom appointed a Minister of Loneliness to attend to the growing public health crisis of loneliness reported by 9 million people in their country

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”

-Luke 15:20

Recently, the United Kingdom appointed a Minister of Loneliness to attend to the growing public health crisis of loneliness reported by 9 million people in their country. Our culture has mastered the art of relational distance. Too many of us are content to view one another from a long way off. Our past hurts, pains, disappointments and biases keep us so isolated and alone. But like this father who saw his son and became proximal to him, we are being nudged to close the chasm of difference and remember our shared humanity.

Pastor Michael McBride (known as “Pastor Mike”) is a native of San Francisco and has been active in ministry for over 20 years. Pastor McBride’s commitment to holistic ministry can be seen through his leadership roles in both the church and community organizations. A graduate of Duke University’s Divinity School, with a Master of Divinity with an emphasis in Ethics and Public Policy, Pastor McBride founded The Way Christian Center in West Berkeley, where he presently serves as the Lead Pastor.

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Stephen King on Trump’s Fanatics:“Jesus, man ….You act like the Red Chinese army was invading.”– “They’re just a bunch of scared and hungry people…”

From Stephen King {MID-320340}
Stephen King
(Image by
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Bestselling author Stephen King on Monday weighed in on President Trump’s recent warnings to the migrant caravan moving through Mexico toward the United States. King’s criticism came in response to a tweet Trump shared on Sunday stating that “full efforts are being made to stop the onslaught of illegal aliens from crossing our Souther (sic) Border.” “Jesus, man,” King said in response to the tweet. “You act like the Red Chinese army was invading.” “They’re just a bunch of scared and hungry people,” the author said.

Read the rest of the story HERE:

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A Dad’s Work to Stop Superbugs

The Pew Charitable Trusts
Antibiotic Resistance Project
Inside NIH’s Fight Against Superbugs
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, addresses some of the greatest superbug threats—and what the agency is doing about them.
In Superbug Fight, ‘Victory Is Not at Hand’
“It’s a long road from exciting things happening in the lab to getting through a clinical process to the patient’s bedside,” Kathy Talkington, director of Pew’s antibiotic resistance project, explains in a Chicago Tribune editorial.
A Dad’s Work to Stop Superbugs
For Men’s Health Month—June—get to know Chris Linaman. After his heartbreaking superbug experience, he’s working to help others avoid the trauma he endured.
Antibiotics Weren’t Used to Cure These Patients. Fecal Bacteria Were.
Superbugs Could Render Even the Most Routine Procedures Deadly, Warns Chief Medical Officer
Stanley Falkow, Microbiologist Who Studied Bacteria and the Diseases They Cause, Dies At 84
Antibiotic-Resistant UTIs Are on the Rise Around The World
Antibiotics May Raise the Risk for Kidney Stones
Was this forwarded to you? Don’t miss the next email!
Antibiotics are fundamental to modern medicine, essential for treating everything from routine skin infections to strep throat, and for protecting vulnerable patients receiving chemotherapy or being treated in intensive care units.

Pew’s antibiotic resistance project is working to ensure both the prudent use of existing drugs and a robust pipeline of new drugs in order to meet current and future patient needs.

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Even if John Stewart is Gone, We all Need to Keep taking on FOX and all the Media

I am going to put a lot of John Stewart videos in the comment section, like this one:

You probably heard the great news – after a few years of progressive activism, FOX finally cancelled Glenn Beck’s show–but the Boycott Must Go On!!

Ten years ago, Media Matters launched with a revolutionary mission: to systematically monitor the U.S. media for conservative misinformation every day, in real time. We’ve been calling out right-wing lies for a decade — and we’re not done yet. Will you contribute now to help us raise $10,000 for our 10th anniversary?

Media Matters Timeline

For ten years, we’ve successfully fought back against the bad actors that poison our media with right-wing lies and smears. It’s been an amazing beginning, and we couldn’t have done it without your support.

We’re in this for the long haul. Make an anniversary gift today to kickstart the next ten years of media accountability.

Dear Kevin,
You probably heard the great news – after two years of progressive activism, FOX finally cancelled Glenn Beck’s show.
Beck was targeted after he slandered President Obama by saying, “This president has exposed himself as a guy, over and over and over again, who has a deep-seated hatred for white people, or the white culture, I don’t know what it is… This guy, I believe, is a racist.”
Activists at ColorOfChange, Media Matters, StopBeck, FoxNewsBoycott, and of course responded with a boycott of advertisers on Glenn Beck’s show. Ultimately over 300 advertisers pulled their ads from Beck, costing FOX over $40 million.
Advertiser boycotts work! And it’s time to boycott all FOX News advertisers:
We’re starting our boycott of all FOX News with Proactiv, which sells acne medicine to teenagers and young adults. Why?
First, there are lots of other acne treatments. Second, young adults above all are hurt by FOX News, which promotes right-wing policies on race, education, healthcare, the environment, and war. Let’s get our future leaders to lead the fight against FOX News!
Sign the petition to Proactiv and enter the email address of every young adult over 18 you know:
Beyond President Obama, FOX regularly slanders nearly everyone: Democrats, unionized workers, the unemployed (including veterans and 99ers), environmentalists, feminists, blacks, Hiics, Jews, Muslims, progressives, scientists, and any other group it disagrees with.
FOX News broadcasts rightwing extremist slander, incitement to violence, political propaganda, and outright lies to promote its rightwing political agenda. This is not “news,” but rather a never-ending “war on news” – and it’s all documented in our petition.
Why would any decent company want to fund it? Tell Proactiv to stop advertising on FOX News:
Thanks for all you do!
Bob Fertik

GLEN BECK ADMITTED in 2007, “I Am RACIST and Barack Obama is very White” THIS MAKES Boycotting FOX NEWS needed NOW

By Kevin Stoda

Dear, American supporters of the Fascist Oddball Xenophobic (FOX) news networks.

AMERICANS are getting less tolerant of your racism and stronghold on our major media.

For example, we have noted that in his 2007 TV program from FOX (See on You-Tube), Glen Beck admitted he himself was racist. Further, Beck then, in contrast to 2009, called Barrack Obama much more white than black. (Apparently, Beck now he has other nonsense to mush men’s minds.)

Using a major news platform to promote racism and to tell people to disrespect a whole presidential administration through mixed truths, outright lies, and xenophobia, is not to be tolerated any more.

On Democracy Now today, Amy Goodman asked Benjamin Jealous of the NAACP what he thought of Wal-Mart’s pull-out from advertising on the Glen Beck program on FOX.

NOTE: Goodman had simply asked , “The whole attack by Glenn Beck that drove this (resignation)? In your response from the NAACP to Van Jones, it says, ´The only thing more outrageous than Mr. Beck’s attack on Van Jones is the fact that there are sponsors that continue to pay him to provide this type of offensive commentary.` Do you support the continued boycott of companies like Wal-Mart of Beck’s show on Fox?”

This is a particularly important point because Glen Beck´s HATE CAMPAIGN ON THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION led recently to a great American policy maker, Van Jones, quitting the government this week.

Mr. Jealous said, “We certainly support them (Walmart) choosing with their dollars who they’re going to support. I mean, it’s—Glenn Beck is somebody who’s told a seven-year-old girl, a seven-year-old black girl, that he would buy her a ticket back to Africa, that she needed to go back to Africa. And then he comes out, and he says that healthcare is the beginning of reparations. I mean, this guy plays the race card on a weekly basis. He does it very aggressive—you know, in a very hateful way.”

Recall, first, that Van Jones is one of the most important and thoughtful men in America—however, the FOX (Fascist Oddball Xenophobic) news network chose to support a man, like Glen Beck, rather than seeing that tens of millions of Americans need to get health care from promoters like Jones and that our America economy needs to move starting today to the kind of economy that its competitors worldwide are already doing.

Let’s quote the wisdom and influential words of Van Jones on the absolute necessity to green the American economy NOW!

“I think it’s really important to point out that we’re sort of at the end of an era of American capitalism, where we thought we could run the economy based on consumption rather than production, credit rather than creativity, borrowing rather than building, and also, most importantly, environmental destruction rather than environmental restoration.”

Jones continued, “We’re trying to make the case in this book that that era is over. We now have to move in a very different direction. And key to that will be basing the US economy not on credit cards, but based on clean energy and the clean energy revolution that would put literally millions of people to work, putting up solar panels all across the United States, weatherizing buildings so they don’t leak so much energy and put up so much carbon, building wind farms and wave farms, manufacturing wind turbines. We argue you could put Detroit back to work not making SUVs to destroy the world, but making wind turbines, 8,000 finely machine parts in each one, twenty tons of steel in each wind tower, making wind turbines to help save the world.”

Finally, Van Jones wisely noted, “So we think that you can fight pollution and poverty at the same time. We think that you can actually power our way through this recession by putting people to work, but we’re going to have to start building things here and re-powering, retrofitting, retooling America, and that that’s the way forward both for the economy, for the earth and for everyday people.”

Note: These statements came from a program on DN from October of last year:

Van Beck has written a book of the same title, The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems.

America needs such voices as Van Jones in government leadership in America—not Fascist Oddball Xenophobic (FOX) types.

Clean up the American airwaves of all its fascism and racism, today.

NOTE: One way to change the noise of Fascist Oddball Xenophobic (FOX) media moguls is to support alternative media organizations

and alternative monitoring websites.

Another way, is to demand that local radio and TV channels put better programming on, such as Democracy Now or news sources promoted by serious progressive journalists:

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How Restorative Practices Work for Students and Educators


restorative practices in schools

A few Mondays ago, a Denver third-grader named Luca sat down in a circle with his classmates and started a conversation like this: “If you were an animal for a day, based on your mood and feelings today, what animal would it be?”

It was the best conversation, say classmates Ellie and Lina. “I said I’d be a monkey because I was feeling silly,” says Ellie. “And I said I’d be a panda!” says Lina. “Because I was feeling lazy and hungry, and pandas are lazy and they eat all the time!”

Funny! But the point of the circle conversations, also known as “peace circles,” which take place every Monday morning in every classroom at the K-8 Dora Moore School in Denver, isn’t giggles. It’s to build community and to foster the kind of student-to-student and educator-to-student relationships that lead to supportive classrooms.

“When you go to school here, you get to know each other,” says fifth-grader Trinity. “At my old school, we never got to know each other — or to understand each other.”

Classroom circles are just one of the restorative practices that Dora Moore’s educators have adopted over recent years. Many of their students also practice their conflict-resolution skills in “peace walks,” and get regular, positive feedback through daily, one-on-one check-ins with dedicated, full-time restorative practices specialists on their campuses.

Often, this all takes place under the eyes of visiting educators who want to see and hear what happens in public schools where educators care more about creating a community built upon kindness, not consequences.

Dora Moore’s schoolwide enthusiasm and experience with restorative practices has made it one of three model schools in Denver, which, thanks to a three-year, $663,000 NEA Great Public Schools grant to the Restorative Justice Partnership (RJP), have welcomed hundreds of visiting educators from Minnesota to Mississippi.

In addition to NEA, the partnership includes the national Advancement Project and a local advocacy group called Padres y Jóvenes Unidos that in 2008 won a historic commitment from Denver Public Schools to eliminate racial disparities in discipline and focus on keeping kids in schools, plus the Colorado Education Association, the Denver Classroom Teachers Association, the University of Denver, and Denver Public Schools.

Sandra Lins leads her students in deep breathing every morning. (PHOTO: DOUGLAS GRITZMACHER)

“These are organizations that haven’t always seen eye to eye,” notes RJP project manager Lindsay Lee. “But they are in agreement on this issue.”

As well as coordinating the school visits, RJP also has put together an online library of educator guides and resources, including webinars on restorative language and culture, how to align trauma-sensitive practices, and more.

Says Maryland high school teacher Erika Chavarria, who last year visited Denver’s North High School, another RJP model school: “The main thing that struck me, the thing that sums it all up, is the level of trust and respect in the building. It was very clear that students were trusted and respected [by educators], and it was very clear that—because the students received that level of trust and respect and love—they gave it in return.”

Taking on the School-to-Prison Pipeline

Adopting restorative practices doesn’t mean no more suspensions, ever. Even at Dora Moore, North, or the third RJP school, Skinner Middle School, students still get suspended for serious offenses. But suspensions have decreased, as the petty disrespect that escalates into red-faced standoffs, or the squabbles that explode into violence, often are avoided or headed off by restorative practices.

More traditional punishments don’t work to change the root cause of misbehavior, or to keep students on a path to college and careers. “When I got here, the culture was to suspend and ‘kick ‘em out of my room,’” says Dora Moore principal Karen Barker, who arrived five years ago. But what do kids learn from that, she asked.

And who exactly is kicked out? “Zero tolerance” policies—suspensions, expulsions, and the more recent trend to police referrals or arrests—often are nourished byimplicit biases and institutionalized racism, and aimed unevenly at black, Latino male, and American Indian students, as well as students with disabilities.

For example, while black students accounted for 15 percent of students in 2016, they accounted for 31 percent of school-related arrest and referrals to law enforcement, according to federal data. This forced march by students of color—from classrooms into courtrooms—is what’s known as the “school-to-prison pipeline,” and NEA members have committed to dismantling it.

At the RP schools, suspensions are a last resort. And, as they have decreased, an Advancement Project report has found that “indicators of achievement” have increased.

Stephaun “Mack” Gaddis (above, right) is the restorative practices coordinator at North High School in Denver. (PHOTO: DOUGLAS GRITZMACHER)

Inside an RJP School

When visitors come to Dora Moore, the first thing they see is the “tone-setting” that takes place in all classrooms, says Lee. In fourth- and fifth-grade teacher Sandra Lins’ classroom, this looks like Lins pulling a chair to the front of her classroom, sitting down to face her students, and saying, “Let’s get ready for the day.” It sounds like the quiet huffs of deep, calm breathing and the faint strains of classical music.

Last year, Dora Moore’s restorative practices coordinator, Morgan Isaacs, drew footprints and conversation prompts onto butcher paper that she rolled up and toted around school. This was the first “peace walk.” Since then, her template has been printed on dozens of vinyl tarps and distributed to classrooms, the playground, and the cafeteria.

The way it works is both parties in conflict—either two students, typically K-3, or an adult and student—step onto the mat and engage in a guided conversation. It always begins with an “I feel” statement, and ends with an agreed-upon plan to avoid future conflict.

Says fifth-grader Bradley: “I’ve noticed a lot of people have the same feelings as me.”

Meanwhile, at North, visitors observe students entering school, walking past a Black Music Matters poster through the front office, where staff smile and greet every student, asking about their weekends, or after-school activities, or well-being. “They do that intentionally,” says Chavarria. “Right off the bat, you can see the level of love.”

She also observed trust: Every North student can leave campus for lunch, and has a longer-than-typical time for lunch. They also have free blocks of time that they can use as they see fit—maybe to visit North’s college center, or hole up in the art room with some therapeutic clay.

At North, students also have hands-on involvement in school discipline, doing peer-mediation and low-level restorative conferencing. They even sit on employee interview committees and if they feel like a job candidate wouldn’t be a good fit on their campus, they say so.

Sound too idyllic to be real? Both Dora Moore and North, as well as Skinner, have been engaged in restorative practices for several years. The changes to their school’s culture have not come overnight, and they require whole-school staff commitment—plus training, re-training, and funding for dedicated restorative practice coordinators. Building real relationships with students has to be top priority.

But it can be done, they say.Check out NEAEdjustice to learn moreabout restorative practices and get the RJP implementation guide.

Go to NEA EdCommunities and join one of the many groups of educators dedicated to improving their practices, such as the “Trauma-Informed Restorative Practice” group or the “Eradicating School to Prison Pipeline” group.

Also visit the RJPartnership site for links to the webinars and more.

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Threatened and Attacked By Students: When Work Hurts


students attacking teachers

Shannon Macaulay, teacher at Meadowbrook High School. (Photo: Luis Gomez)

The student was extremely upset about something. A paraeducator approached him to inquire. In response, the student kicked her squarely in the stomach. She fell to the floor gasping for air.

Fortunately, Danielle Fragoso and another teacher were in that cooking class last summer. The two teachers had no choice but to try and restrain the student. He began to scream, kick, and punch. Fragoso was hit in an eye.

It got worse. The student eventually grabbed a large chef ’s knife from the counter.

“I was able to grab hold of the hand with the knife right around the wrist area,” Fragoso recalls. “He kept trying to stab me and the other teacher.”

At one point, the student started screaming to no one in particular asking why it seemed so difficult to out-fight two women.

“He was also shouting that he wanted us dead,” says Fragoso, a special education teacher at Daniel Hand High School in Madison, Conn. “After 15 minutes, we finally got the knife away and he ran out of the room without cutting anyone.”

In her 15 years as a teacher, Fragoso was experienced enough to not panic at the sight of a knife-wielding student. She’d been there. A student once stabbed her in the back with a pencil, requiring Fragoso to seek medical attention.

“Luckily there were two of us or the outcome would have been much different,” she says. “My only thoughts were of my students and hoping none of them would get hurt.”

Many teachers, administrators, and education support professionals (ESPs) are at risk of being bitten, kicked, scratched, and punched while at work.

Some assaults are intentional acts of violence while others are the result of, for example, working with students who have mental challenges.

Whatever the circumstances, more and more educators are ending up in the emergency room. While some are forced to use their medical leave, others choose instead to resign.

“Student violence is not as rare an occurrence as most people might think,” Fragoso says.

Classrooms in Crisis

According to a government study on school crime and safety, 10 percent of public school teachers reported being threatened with injury by a student from their school and 6 percent reported being physically attacked by a student from their school.

Published in 2018, “Indicators of School Crime and Safety” was compiled by agencies from the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice.

“Being attacked or threatened in one’s workplace should not happen anywhere, especially in a classroom environment, where we want our students to feel safe and loved,” says Fragoso, who spoke earlier this year at a public hearing conducted by the Connecticut General Assembly.

More than a dozen teachers and Connecticut Education Association (CEA) officials testified to education committee members, while more than 100 others submitted written testimony describing behaviors that create unsafe learning environments for students.

Fragoso, CEA officials, school counselors, and other educators urged lawmakers to address the crisis of violent student behavior which is occurring in rural, urban, and suburban schools. They asked legislators to support House Bill 7110: An Act Concerning Enhanced Classroom Safety and School Climate.

CEA President Jeff Leake (top) and CEA Vice-President Tom Nicholas testify before Connecticut state lawmakers about classroom and school safety.

The bill would require schools to help students exhibiting extreme behaviors, provide increased student supports and teacher training, and address children’s mental health and social-emotional needs. Gov. Dannell Malloy vetoed a similar bill last year, but the latest proposal has been updated with more specifics.

Students as young as five are biting, kicking, punching, throwing items, urinating on teachers, and lashing out in other destructive ways that put students and others in danger, Jeff Leake, CEA president, told the committee.

“They are coming to school with complex needs, and schools don’t have the resources to address the root causes of these incidents,” he explained.

“These pieces are key, as too many of our teachers have been pressured to not report or tell others of the incidents that are happening in their classrooms.”

Tom Nicholas is a school social worker and CEA vice president. He described how last school year, in just one month’s time, he had been hit and kicked about 15 times, had a student threaten to kill him with a gun, and fractured three vertebrae trying to protect a student who had run outside the building.

Fragoso testified that she felt supported by her school district administration and was encouraged to speak out to protect her students and colleagues.

“We need systems in place not only to help teachers who are fearful of reporting incidents of threats, and to ensure that they are protected and heard, but also to provide supports and treatment to the students who need help,” she told committee members.

Insufficient Resources

Members of the Bristol-Warren Education Association (BWEA) in Rhode Island organized a sick-out in February to get the attention of school board members as well as state legislators regarding the need for more school resources officers, counselors, and therapeutic services for students.

“For three years, we went through the grievance process asking for interventions for our most needy students,” says Michelle Way DaSilva, BWEA president.

“We do not have sufficient mental health services for students experiencing trauma and who lash out in unpredictable ways.”

DaSilva recalls a recent incident where a kindergarten student hit a teacher in the arm after the teacher asked for the student’s cell phone.
Violence Against Teachers – An Overlooked Crisis?

Violence against teachers is a “national crisis,” says Dr. Dorothy Espelage of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. And yet, the issue is generally ignored or at least underreported by the media and given inadequate attention by scholars – a deficiency that has widespread implications for school safety, the teaching profession and student learning.
Fortunately, at that age, they are not strong enough to do serious damage. But if they are not disciplined correctly, that behavior will continue as they grow and develop, says DaSilva.

“In middle school, the number of teachers being assaulted and disrespected is getting worse,” she says. “Some of our middle school students are bigger than some teachers, so it is very unsafe for all involved.”

As in schools across the nation, the discontinuation of counselors, paraeducators, social workers, and services for special education and other needy students has only exacerbated the issue.

Earlier this year, the Oregon Education Association (OEA) published, “A Crisis of Disrupted Learning: Conditions in Our Schools and Recommended Solutions.”

Some assaults are intentional acts of violence while others are the result of, for example, working with students who have mental challenges. Whatever the circumstances, more and more educators are ending up in the emergency room. While some are forced to use their medical leave, others choose instead to resign.”

According to the report, disrupted learning environments occur “when student behavior significantly interferes with instruction and/or school staff members’ ability to maintain a stable classroom or ensure student safety.” At times, students can become dangerous to themselves or the classroom as a whole. These incidents can often result in clearing a classroom of students to ensure everyone’s safety.

Over three years, OEA members shared stories of extreme behaviors in Oregon schools. According to the report: “These behaviors have made classrooms feel unsafe for students and educators, and everyone is feeling their impact. Student needs are going unmet and educators have very real concerns about whether they can provide safe, welcoming, and inclusive learning environments for all with the resources they have.”

“The issue was not being addressed,” says DaSilva, a teacher for 23 years, the last 21 at Kickemuit Middle School. “So, naturally, it was getting worse.”

In May, DaSilva and BWEA agreed to withdraw several grievances after school administrators signed a memorandum ensuring that viable plans would be put in place.

“We want to get students what they need to be successful,” DaSilva says. “We also want our schools to be safe.”

Reaching Out

In Minnesota, a bill introduced in 2016 would have required school boards to automatically expel a student who threatened or inflicted bodily harm on an educator for up to a year. The bill was introduced in part as a response to a 2015 incident in St. Paul in which a high school student began to strangle a teacher after slamming the teacher into a concrete wall. The teacher suffered a traumatic brain injury.

The bill died in committee after fierce opposition from Education Minnesota (EM) and other state education groups, which instead promote restorative practices as a response to student discipline.

James Parry is the supervisor of the REACH program at Stewartville Middle and High School. The acronym stands for: Relationships, Education, Accountability, Character, Hard Work. The REACH class at Stewartville is an elective for students in seventh through 12th grades. It follows a restorative practices model that helps students to understand and take responsibility for their actions, rather than be punished under zero-tolerance policies. For his part, Parry considers students who may suffer from adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), and the effects of poverty, such as housing or food insecurity.

James Parry supervises the REACH program at Stewartville Middle and High School.

“Just yesterday, I was in our school cafeteria for lunch duty when I heard one of the food service workers scream for help,” Parry recalls from a May incident. “I turned to see two boys in a physical fight, one of them from REACH.”

Parry calmly stepped in between the two students and said: “Really?”

The student in the REACH program later approached Parry.

“He apologized and said he knew he was wrong, but that he just “flipped his lid” in response to remarks from the other student,” Parry says.

“Sometimes conflicts like this are between students and sometimes a teacher is involved.”

The student eventually apologized to the service worker.

“This is unbelievable growth for this student,” says Parry, who was awarded the 2019 EM Human Rights Award. “In REACH, we (adults) focus on things like gratitude, compassion, acceptance, forgiveness, honesty, integrity, and perseverance as a way to connect with students about real life.”

For students, Parry stresses that all people, at whatever age, have stressors in their lives that sometimes get the best of them.

“I identify roadblocks, triggers, and our responses to them,” Parry says.

“It is not any one trigger that makes one “flip their lid” and be aggressive or violent at school.”

It is when these triggers “pile on top of each other that it becomes difficult to control our emotions,” Parry explains.

In his own case, Parry shares with students that any combination of three or four of the following are too much for him: Tired, hungry, thirsty, rushed.

“I am good with one to two of those, but add the third and maybe a
fourth, … it is just too much,” he says.

“We (educators) need to regulate ourselves first if we really want to help our students do the same.”

When discussing restorative practices with teachers, Parry stresses that “when a student comes into the classroom agitated, it is rarely the teacher who has caused this. It is something that happened earlier in the day, at home last night, or something in their near future that they are worried about. We have the power to offer unconditional love and non-judgmental support. Combined, these allow us to put our students in a better mindset to be able to engage in the educational process.”
Inside a Trauma-Informed Classroom

Researchers have found that exposure to unrelenting stress and repeated traumas can change a child’s brain, making it easier to “fight or flee” from perceived dangers and harder to focus and learn. Understanding this neuroscience makes it possible for educators to create trauma-sensitive classrooms.

“It’s more than one or two children in your class of 28, it could be closer to 30 percent or more,” says John Snelgrove, head of guidance services for Brockton (Mass.) Public Schools. But even children who haven’t experienced trauma can benefit from the strategies that Brockton teachers and education support professionals have learned through years of training with the Massachusetts-based Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative, and their partnerships with local police, mental health, and child welfare agencies. Read more about their work and learn more about how trauma changes children’s brains.

And, take a look at how Delaware educators are adapting their classrooms to help reduce the impact of traumatic experiences.

Surveying the Landscape

Sonia Smith is president of the Chesterfield Education Association (CEA) in Virginia. When it comes to students assaulting teachers and ESPs, she fears that many suffer in silence.

“Many do not report assaults from students for fear of retribution from administrators,” says Smith, an English teacher on full-time release with CEA. “Our village is fractured and we need to heal the village.”

In April, a 15-year-old male student threw a backpack and two chairs at a teacher, hitting her in the face and breaking her glasses. She was rushed to the hospital. Days later, another teacher was hurt after a violent incident at another school.

Sonia Smith (Photo: Luis Gomez)

“After those two incidents, people reached out to me in private,” Smith says. “There are more incidents happening that go unreported. It’s systemic.”

The calls that Smith began receiving prompted her and three other CEA members to create an anonymous online survey to find out who in the district has experienced verbal abuse and violent assaults from students.

“We’re not asking for names,” Smith says. “The goal is to share the findings and collaborate with the school board on implementing solutions.”

The survey is composed of seven multiple-choice questions with text boxes that invite personal stories about past incidents and how administrators responded when told.

“That’s where people open up,” Smith says.

The survey can take as little as three minutes to fill out or more depending on the level of description and number of experiences revealed by the participant.

“I feel good about the survey,” says Shannon Macaulay, an English teacher at Meadowbrook High School. “It means that central office is listening to us.”

Macaulay would like to see more policies in place that are consistently enforced across the board.

“Most of my students are pretty mature and want to graduate so they know how to behave at school,” she says. “But there are some who stare you down, walk out of class when they feel like it, and disrespect you without any consequence from the front office.”

Earlier this year, a female senior student ripped up a quiz in dramatic fashion in one of Macaulay’s classes. After that, she removed a shoe and tossed it at the teacher.

“She reached into her backpack for another shoe and then threw that one at me,” says Macaulay. “It escalated with her kicking a trash can and threatening me.”

After Macaulay called the front office, two security guards restrained the student until the police showed up. The student was handcuffed and driven away.

“This student comes to us with a lot of anger,” Macaulay says. “I have sent emails to administrators out of concern, not blame. But nothing is done.”

In cases like this, Macaulay says the survey gives her hope that district officials will develop policies on how to consistently respond to students under these circumstances.

Smith is already getting calls from the media about when survey results will be released.

“We are going to deal with the data internally at first,” she says. “This is not a public shaming, but if the results will help legislators take action to help out students, then that would be a favorable outcome.”

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Fund the Movement to put Heat on Private Prisons

  Dear Kevin,

The private prison industry is feeling the heat. SunTrust Bank and PNB Paribas announced last week that they
will stop financing private prisons.1,2 

And just yesterday, Fifth Third Bancorp announced they will also no longer provide financing to companies that profit from detention centers! This makes for a total of SIX big banks to exit this business of family detention and human cruelty.3

Will you help bankrupt the private prison industry
with your contribution?Make it monthly.CoreCivic, one of the world’s largest private prison corporations said, “These banks have kowtowed to a small group of activists rather than engaging in a constructive dialogue.”4

 There is nothing small about our efforts.

This scale of change comes from more than a year of organizing with thousands of Presente members and hundreds of organizational partners mobilizing public sentiments outraged by escalated human rights violations. 

And these companies are feeling the impact of our
collective power. Our current data shows that the
campaign will pull more than $1.5 Billion in financing out of the industry. That’s huge!5

We are not done here! We’re very close to getting all major banks to stop financing this inhumane industry — let’s make sure we see to it! Support this work with a small donation today.Make it monthly.

Presente team members Kelly Ortiz, Matt Nelson, Erick Garcia, and Elisa

Last summer, our small and fearless team of leaders convened to best strategize on how to tackle the family separation and detention crisis.

 Our mission was to consider eliminating the political
and financial incentives in confining immigrant families that would overall dismantle this cruel business model. We shifted the culture in the way we saw and talked about this so-called Trumpian “immigration crisis” that not only existed on the U.S.-Mexico border, but in the very same cages” that locked up men, women, moms with babies, boys and girls who were seeking asylum in the United States. 
Real power comes from our communities, not from any one leader or organization. Our movements for justice and equality are strongest when we connect and unite, and stay Presente!Before we knew it, the campaign was born and we began to disseminate and target the corporations tied to criminalizing our communities. We could not have done this alone, this was a collective effort. From our members taking action and showing up to demonstrations outside of these banks, to the 100+ organizations that helped build this movement to what it is today. 

All together, our six bank wins represent an estimated $1.93 billion, or 72% of the total current financing available to private prison companies, CoreCivic and GEO Group.6 What an impact!We’re still fighting to end for-profit incarceration, and we need your support to keep the movement powerful, will you contribute?

Make it monthly.Victories like these show what is possible; what visionary and transformative progress looks like, in ending private prisons and beyond. 

When we are able to support universal causes and build power together, our vision of what our communities can achieve becomes possible. Real winning includes freeing our communities now and for generations to come. 

Change starts with us and we are who we organize. 


Thanks for all that you do y ¡Adelante!– Matt, Elisa, Erick, Kelly, Erica, Favianna, Reetu, Oscar and the team.

P.S. Can you donate $5 to support our work? We rely on contributions from people like you to see campaigns like this through.

[1] “SunTrust Joins Wave Of Banks Exiting The Private Prison Industry.” Forbes. Jul 8, 2019.
[2] “BNP Paribas backs away from U.S. private prison industry.” Reuters. July 12, 2019.
[3] “Fifth Third to Halt Future Financing to Private-Prison Firms.” Bloomberg. July 15, 2019.
[4] “SunTrust Is Latest Bank to Halt Financing of Private Prisons.” Bloomberg. Jul 8, 2019. 
[5] “French Bank Fifth to Pull Out of the Private Prison Industry.” Forbes. July 15, 2019.
[6] “As Wall Street Banks Sever Ties, Private Prison Companies Stand to Lose Over $1.9B in Future Financing.” Popular Democracy. July 17,2019. 

Text PRESENTE to 225568 and join Presente’s mobile alerts.
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Check out these ten less common, ‘silent’ disruptors of student academic performance

Every student deserves the best education possible.

This means that as educators we have to understand all of the potential barriers to both comprehension and classroom performance.

Check out these ten less common, ‘silent’ disruptors of student academic performance—factors that move beyond literacy, poverty, lack of technology access, and other admittedly powerful, but already widely disseminated, ideas.READ MORE >
Bonding With Hard-to-Reach Families

By Diane Postman, Teacher in Virginia

We all know how important it is to build relationships with the families of our students. But there are often factors that get in the way. Here are a few ideas to help you bond with hard-to-reach families:Offer to meet families on neutral ground. Some are uncomfortable coming to school and some don’t care for home visits. I have met at McDonald’s, the library, even at the park.Invite the family for an activity or event. They may be willing to come in to do something for the child and the class. Grab a few minutes to chat as you are thanking them for coming.Tell the family that you want their advice. This can level the playing field and make them feel valued.Ask a family member to share their hobby or job with the class. Chat afterwards.READ MORE TIPS >
Classroom Success with One-PagersShared by Racheal Haley, NBCT—NEA edCommunities K-12 Science Group

Need an inventive way for students to demonstrate deep understanding of a topic? Try using one-pagers. Students take what they’ve learned—from a history textbook, a novel, a poem, a podcast, a TED Talk, a guest speaker, a film, a math problem—and put the highlights onto a single piece of paper. The information they put down becomes more memorable to them as they mix images and information.

Students might include quotations, ideas, images, analysis, key names and dates, and more. They might use their one-pagers to make connections to their own lives, to art or films, to pop culture, or to what they’re learning in their other classes. Check out these tips for getting the most out of these visual student creations.READ MORE >
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Amazon Protectors Choose Renewable Energy

Power to the Protectors in Ecuador

Kichwa Communities Fight Fossil Fuel Expansion with Renewable Energy

  • JULY 11, 2019
Power to the Protectors in Ecuador

Across the Amazon, indigenous peoples are stepping up their efforts to defend their rainforest territories and rights from the extractive industry, agribusiness, and other industrial threats. To do this, they need to be able to communicate with the outside world from their remote territories, and have basic energy access to power their resistance, as well as implement sustainable solutions for management and protection of their territories. And what better way to stop the expansion of the fossil fuel frontier and protect Earth Defenders than with clean, renewable energy! 

This spring, we carried out the second install of our Power to the Protectors program in three Kichwa communities in the central Ecuadorian Amazon, all threatened by new oil expansion. The equipment and training provided will be essential tools to support the communities’ ability to monitor their territory, denounce rights violations, and share their vision and story with the world. 

Solar Comms install 02

The foundation for our latest install began when I first met Salome Aranda on International Women’s Day in 2018 on the streets of Puyo, the bustling Amazon jungle town and gateway to the remote rainforests of southern Ecuador. She had just addressed hundreds of women that had mobilized from deep inside their rainforest communities to highlight the unique role that women play in defending their forests, families, and our planet. They raised their voices to denounce the decades of damage oil extraction has caused and reject new plans by the government to open roadless, frontier forest and titled indigenous territories to new oil extraction.

Salome was the newly elected women’s leader of the Kichwa Community of Moretecocha, and quickly found her voice as an outspoken critic of the oil industry. Moretecocha, along with other surrounding communities have endured almost two decades of oil extraction by ENI, in a project hailed by the oil industry as the epitome of ‘best industry practice’. However, contamination, deforestation, rights abuses, and even cases of sexual violence have been reported by women as endemic since the project’s inception. Now, the government is hoping to expand production into three major new oil fields. 

Not long after I met her, Salome traveled to Italy to denounce ENI’s legacy in the region and reject new drilling plans at the company’s annual shareholder meeting. But two months later, unknown assailants attacked her home, hurling rocks at her house and threatening her and her family. In the aftermath of the attack, she reached out to Amazon Watch to support her communities’ efforts to stop new extraction and protect the lives of leaders who have been vocal. The threats against Salome ultimately resulted in greater unification of the Kichwa of Moretecocha against oil extraction.

Moretecocha, along with neighboring Piwiri and Tarapoto, face grave impacts from a major expansion of the oil concession known as Block 10, operated until now by Italian oil giant ENI and recently sold to Argentinian company Pluspetrol. Moretecocha is home to nine communities and covers 37,600 hectares of primarily pristine forest. The government and industry view expansion in this block as the gateway to opening of the rest of Ecuador’s intact Amazon, because expansion here will allow oil infrastructure build out and provide easier access to pipelines for any future exploration. The company is seeking to open up three major new oil fields, with no Free, Prior Informed Consent (FPIC), and no new environmental impact assessment. This is a story that is repeated throughout the Amazon, and leaders, especially women, who are critical of the oil expansion, have received death threats, and the government and company have taken punitive action against neighboring communities.

We have worked with Salome and community leaders over the last year in workshops and trainings that have allowed them to deepen their understanding of their legal right to self-determination and Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) and have provided technical support in their efforts to stop the expansion of oil infrastructure on their territories. This recent solar/ communications installation represents the next step in this collaboration. 

The Install

Solar Comms install 4

After months of preparation and coordination with the communities and Empowered By Light, our non-profit partner who provided much of the solar equipment, our ten day trip by car, plane, and canoe was set. I was joined by John Parnell, aka “Walkie Talkie”, a self described gringo radio ham who has been working with communities across Central and South America setting up communication systems for frontline communities since the 1980s. I was also accompanied by Yanda Ushigua, a young Sapara communications leader and founder member of the “Lanceros Digitales”, or Digital Spearthrowers–an indigenous media collective, to help provide training and document the trip. 

Solar Comms install 05

After several last-minute delays due to planes too heavy to fly with all of our gear, we finally made it to Moretecocha with three solar installers carrying nearly two tons of equipment: solar panels, storage batteries, radio equipment, tool boxes, and more. There, we installed four 270W 24V panels in parallel charging, with eight 6V 200 Ah batteries.

From there, we flew to Piwiri, where we installed two 270W solar panels in parallel, producing 540W of power and an inverter for AC power and took the boat to Tarapoto to install the same system. Along the way, we installed four solar-powered radio systems, distributed walkie talkies, and trained community members on how to use the devices. 

Solar Comms install 03

With the installation complete, these remote communities can communicate more easily with one another and with the outside world without relying on fossil fuels, a development that represents true energy independence and will quite literally save lives. 

“This project is essential support for our efforts to keep new oil extraction off our lands and help protect our forests, for our families, our way of life, and the world. We reject new oil extraction on our lands and denounce the violence the industry has brought upon us, especially the women.” – Salome Aranda, Kichwa leader

“The government says we’re ‘obstacles to development’ and calls us hypocrites for rejecting new oil extraction while using diesel generators. With this project, we’ve taken that accusation away from them, and are one step closer to truly having our autonomy as a people.” – Fidel Ushigua, President of Comuna Morete

This is the second solar installation we have completed in Ecuador as part of our Power to the Protectors Program. To learn more about upcoming projects and how to support this work, visit our Power to the Protectors program page.

Solar Comms install 06

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Stand up for Women Defenders of the Amazon!





More Pathetic Excuses from BlackRock’s CEOThe Chevron Way: Admit Nothing. Deny Everything. Make Counter-accusations.Terra Livre Propels Brazil’s Indigenous Movement to the Forefront of Bolsonaro Resistance


Tell GeoPark to Stay Out of Achuar Territory!Pledge Solidarity with Brazil’s Resistance!Join the Call to Protect Earth Defenders!

Yes, I will donate to protect the Amazon!

“The work you do is vital, and I am happy to support it.”
– Charlotte R. A.DONATE NOW

Amazon Watch is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1996 to protect the rainforest and advance the rights of indigenous peoples in the Amazon Basin. We partner with indigenous and environmental organizations in campaigns for human rights, corporate accountability and the preservation of the Amazon’s ecological systems.

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Have you had a conversion after being taken to the corners of your mind? heart?

“But I have prayed for you that your own faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

-Luke 22:32

I do believe life is all about conversions. Bishop Noel Jones preached that God will often allow you to be pushed to the edge of your mind in order to help you change your mind. To be converted is to be open to the surprising work of God. And while you may not choose the place you would start your faith journey, you indeed can surrender to conversion moments which impact how that journey unfolds. 

Pastor Michael McBride (known as “Pastor Mike”) is a native of San Francisco and has been active in ministry for over 20 years. Pastor McBride’s commitment to holistic ministry can be seen through his leadership roles in both the church and community organizations. A graduate of Duke University’s Divinity School, with a Master of Divinity with an emphasis in Ethics and Public Policy, Pastor McBride founded The Way Christian Center in West Berkeley, where he presently serves as the Lead Pastor.
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The PEN10 and Other Articles


The PEN Ten: An Interview in Translation with Carlos LabbéBy Lily Philpott“The biggest threat to free expression today is algorithm-based marketing, because it reduces subjectivity to a finite toolbox of variables.”
Read more »

Works of Justice: On Writing in PrisonBy Caits MeissnerWorks of Justice is an online series that features content connected to the PEN America Prison and Justice Writing Program, presenting challenging conversations about criminal justice in the U.S.
Read more »

The Language of Immigrant Writing: New Worlds, New WordsLore Segal, Bharati Mukherjee, and Eva Hoffman discuss what makes immigrant writing a distinguishable category and what are the benefits or disadvantages of writing in an adopted language. Moderated by Edmund Keeley. Read more » 

› The PEN Ten with Sophia Shalmiyev

› The PEN Ten with William Dameron

› The PEN Ten with Theresa Warburton and Elissa Washuta

› The PEN Ten with the 2019 Emerging Voices

› “Leaving the Light On” by Dare Williams

› Goodbye From This River by Romeo Oriogun
  Upcoming Events
› Race in the Public Dialogue, July 18

› 2019 Emerging Voices: The Final Reading, July 23

› Rotten Evidence: Reading and Writing in Prison, July 25

› Announcing the Fall 2019 PEN Out Loud Season!
  Coming upApply Now:
› Emerging Voices Fellowship

› PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship
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PEN America members are sharing reflections on the crisis surrounding the treatment of immigrants, asylum seekers, and those living in the United States without documentation. As we learn more about the conditions in immigration detention centers and as the federal government threatens mass deportations, these writers give expression to the sadness, anger, and despair engendered by the experiences of those seeking sanctuary in our country. Read more »

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3 letter word: OIL

“The Missing Three-Letter Word in the Iran Crisis: Oil’s Enduring Sway in U.S. Policy in the Middle East”
By Michael Klare,, posted July 11
Traces four decades of US determination to control the shipping lanes for the export of oil from the Gulf region.

“Joe Biden: Protector of the Deep State”
By Jeremy Kuzmarov,, posted July 10
The author teaches history at Tulsa Community College.

“The Riptide of American Militarism: Lessons from the Natural World on Washington’s Unnatural Wars”
By William J. Astore,, posted July 9
The author is a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who has taught history in military and civilian schools.

“Burying the Nakba: How Israel Systematically Hides Evidence of 1948 Expulsion of Arabs”
By Hagar Shezaf, Haaretz, posted July 6
A lengthy account of the purging of national and local archives in Israel.

“Trump’s Reluctance to Bomb Foreign Countries Is a Strength, Not a Sign of Weakness”
By Andrew J. Bacevich, Herald News (Fall River, MA), posted July 2
The author is a professor emeritus of history and international relations at Boston University,

“The Supreme Court Is in Danger of Again becoming ‘the Grave of Liberty'”
By Eric Foner, The Nation, posted July 1
On the historical significance of the Court’s recent decision allowing extreme redistricting. The author teaches history at Columbia University.

“Here’s One Way Democrats Can Defeat Trump: Be Radically Anti-War”
By Mark Hannah and Stephen Wertheim, The Guardian, posted July 1
Stephen Wertheim is a visiting assistant professor of history at Columbi University.

“The Overlooked Story of ‘the Greater United States’: Historian Daniel Immerwahr Shares His Unique Perspective on American Empire”
Interview of Daniel Immerwahr by Robin Lindley, History News Network, posted June 30
The interviewee is the author of How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2019).

“In an Astonishing Turn, George Soros and Charles Koch Team Up to End US ‘Forever War’ Policy”
By Stephen Kinzer, Boston Globe, posted June 30
On the founding of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. The author is a veteran journalist and author of Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq.

“American Concentration Camps?”
By Henry Siegman,, posted June 28
The author,a former national director of the American Jewish Congress, defends use of the term “concentration camps” in relation to the Trump border policies.

Thanks to Rusti Eisenberg and an anonymous reader for suggesting articles included in the above list. Suggestions can be sent to

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Here’s what to know if ICE shows up at your door

Share our multilingual Know Your Rights guide on Facebook and Twitter. Everybody should know that we have rights that ICE cannot violate.

ICE Immigration Raids Expected To Begin In 10 Cities On Sunday ……/ice-immigration-raids-expected-begin-10-cities-su…

Jun 21, 2019 – Though federal immigration authorities are expected to begin sweeps … “They do theirthing, because they have their goals and priorities, which … RELATED: Trump Threatens To Deport‘Millions,’ As He Kicks Off Campaign For Reelection … Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of …ICE Moves to Expand Local Law Enforcement Participation in … – ACLU…/ice-moves-expand-local-law-enforcement-participation-deport…

May 6, 2019 – “ICE and the other agencies complicit in Trump’s deportation force may feel they areabove the constitution — but neither they, nor local police, are exempt … and stand by theircommitment to the communities they serve.” … New York, NY 10004 … Fight the Trump administration’s inhumane detention and …ICE Set to Begin Immigration Raids in 10 Cities Sunday…

Jun 21, 2019 – ICE Set to Begin Immigration Raids in 10 Cities Sunday … LOS ANGELES (CN) – This weekend, immigration agents will fan out into 10 cities across the … members will stand with these vulnerable families to ensure they are treated fairly … “I want Californians to know they have legal rights and protections, …Blog | Cultural Exchange
Federal Court Tells ICE to Stop Arrests in Massachusetts Courthouses. June 27 … World Refugee Day Reminders Us That We Must Do Better. June 18 … Here’s What to Expect From Trump’s NewImmigration Deal With Mexico …… Businesses Are Fighting Back Against USCIS’ Restrictive View of H-1B ‘Specialty Occupation’.Immigration Articles | Robert Brown LLC
I asked Latinos why they joined immigration law enforcement. … McAleenan Says Arrests of Migrants on Border Expected to Decline by 25 Percent in June ….. Trump administration asks Supreme Court not to kick citizenship question back to lower …… Here’s How Were Fighting To Prevent More Migrant Kids From Dying.Detainers, Detention and Deportation: From Presence to Personhood ……/detainers-detention-and-deportation-from-presence-to-person…

Apr 29, 2018 – “On January 10, 2018, ICE issued its first formal, public policy memo … are hearing from immigrants that they have a profound fear of going to court. … comprehensive guide and organizing resource to fight back against …. What to Do If You’re Stopped by Police, Immigration Agents or the FBI (ACLU 2016)Transcripts –

President Trump Fires Back to British Ambassador; Democrats Calls Alex Acosta to ….. Trump Says Immigration Raids to Start Soon Across Country; CBP Agent ….. That This Will Have A Positive Influence In All Of Our Discussions In The Future. ….. ICE Raids Targeting Migrant Families Set To Begin Sunday; Filthy Onesies, …[PDF]Media Coverage of the ICE Detention Bed Quota July 12, 2016 The ……/MediaCoverage_DetentionBedMandate_2016_07…

Jul 12, 2016 – The immigration detention bed quota, contained in U.S. Department of Homeland Security appropriations …. Stop the detention of immigrant families caught at the border, and … “At a time when we are spending $50 billion a year on our … that has nothing to do with private prisons: bring back federal parole.[PDF]Injustice for All – Racial Equity Tools

Dec 1, 2010 – An initiative of the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee … devastated and ICE deportations impact communities and the … residing in this country will continue to face lives of fear, uncertainty and … The roll back and end to the militarization of immigration control and …… This isconsidered, ironically,.[PDF]ICE Out of Courts Campaign Toolkit – Immigrant Defense Project…/IDPCourthouseToolkit.pdf
Aug 2, 2018 – a useful guide to campaigns blossoming across the country to end ICE … the Obama Administration, reports of courthouse arrests were far …. The work of a campaign to get ICE out of the courts can achieve …. If you know of an arrest or attempted arrest by immigration agents in …… backinto the community.

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