Pictured (left to right): Jane Addams, WILPF member Janet Capella, teacher honoree Nancy Godwin and kindergarten students holding books at the Centennial School on May 21. Photo by Janet Capella

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom – July 2018

LIBRARY COMMITTEE HONORS TEACHER NANCY GODWIN

Nancy Godwin, an outstanding teacher at Centennial School, is retiring after this year. Fresno WILPF, through its Library Committee, awarded her the 2016 Jane Addams Children’s Book Award collection. Nancy is honored for her 33 years of service with the Fresno Unified School District. She also is a WILPF member and sings with the Raging Grannies.

The seven books were given in Ms. Godwin’s name to the Centennial Elementary School Library. Each book features historical and current struggles for peace and justice from a child’s point of view.

The books are New Shoes by Susan Lynn Meyer; Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom by Lynda Blackmon Lowery; Mama’s Nightingale by Edwidge Danticat; The Book Itch by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson; Lillian’s Right to Vote by Jonah Winter; Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton; and House That Jane Built: A Story About Jane Addams by Tanya Lee Stone. All books are available from the Fresno County Library.

Since 1953, WILPF chapters across the nation have donated these award-winning books to local libraries. For more than 30 years, Fresno WILPF has given sets of these books to the Fresno County Central Library and, in the past four years, to branch libraries as well: Gillis, Betty Rodriquez, West Fresno and Central.

During the 2017–2018 school year, we visited Ms. Godwin’s class three times; we brought books, music and art projects. Always receiving more than we could ever bring, we shared bushels of love, smiles and happiness with these children. What an immeasurable gift—children read, listen and hear in their hearts and voices the words of peace and justice. As well, children see their own lives soar through artists’ visions, creating beautiful communities.

WILPF Library Committee: Ann Carruthers, Nancy Hatcher, Guruveer Kaur, Sandra Rios Balderrama, Donna Salwasser, Jean Hays, Janet Capella, Ellie Bluestein, Evonne Waldo, Gioia Frank, Leni V. Reeves, Maureen Walsh, Nancy Godwin, Patricia J. Bennett and Teresa Castillo.

—Janet Capella


FAMILY SEPARATION—WE NEED TO ACT NOW!

On May 7, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that all adults who arrive at the border would be prosecuted for illegal entry even if they attempt to seek asylum. This cruel new policy has resulted in parents being separated from their children—nearly 2,000 children in the six weeks it has been in effect. Prosecuting individuals who are seeking asylum might also violate U.S. obligations under international law, including the UN Convention on Refugees and its protocol.

We are shocked and angry about the policy of separating refugee children from their parents. This has become a worldwide shame for the United States. There is no credible due process for asylum seekers, although many of these families are fleeing violence and have legitimate claims to asylum.

There are secret detention centers for children where not even a U.S. senator can gain access to know what suffering is taking place. Parents and children are being forcibly separated, and there is no real process for reuniting them. This is a horror story that any moral person must understand as completely unacceptable. Congress must make ending this immoral policy its first order of business. We need to make this happen.

On June 6, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, together with 31 co-sponsors, all Democrats or independents, introduced S.3036, the Keep Families Together Act. The bill attempts to protect the welfare of children, allowing children to be separated from their parents only if they are being trafficked or abused by the parents.

The Keep Families Together Act was developed in consultation with child welfare experts to ensure the federal government is acting in the best interest of children. The bill is supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), the Children’s Law Center, the Young Center for Immigrant Rights and the Women’s Refugee Commission.

This bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. The chair of this committee is Chuck Grassley (R–Iowa), and the members are Orrin Hatch (R–Utah), Lindsey Graham (R–S.C.), John Cornyn (R–Texas), Michael Lee (R–Utah), Ted Cruz (R–Texas), Ben Sasse (R–Neb.), Jeff Flake (R–Ariz.), Mike Crapo (R–Idaho), Thom Tillis (R–N.C.), John Kennedy (R–La.), Dianne Feinstein (D–Calif.), Patrick Leahy (D–Vt.), Dick Durbin (D–Ill.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D–R.I.), Amy Klobuchar (D–Minn.), Christopher Coons (D–Del.), Richard Blumenthal (D–Conn.), Mazie Hirono (D–Hawaii), Cory Booker (D–N.J.) and Kamala Harris (D–Calif.).

Unless a Republican votes to move this out of committee, it will never get out. But no senator is interested in hearing from anyone who is not a constituent. Do you have any personal or WILPF contacts in Arizona, Texas, Utah, Iowa, North or South Carolina, Indiana or Nebraska? Would they contact their senator urging a vote to get this bill out of committee and to a vote in the Senate?

Will you act on this now?

The WILPF page is compiled and edited by Leni Villagomez Reeves (lenivreeves@gmail.com) or Patty Bennett.

  • The Community Alliance is a monthly newspaper that has been published in Fresno, California, since 1996. The purpose of the newspaper is to help build a progressive movement for social and economic justice.

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