Thursday, August 18, 2016

Dear Governor Brown, Please Support Ethnic Studies (AB 2016) — Hmong Innovating Politics

Dear Governor Brown, Please Support Ethnic Studies (AB 2016) — Hmong Innovating Politics:

Dear Governor Brown, Please Support Ethnic Studies (AB 2016)












Dear Governor Brown,

On behalf Hmong Innovating Politics (HIP), we join with State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, educators, students and community members across the state to urge you to sign AB 2016 into law. Unlike last year’s AB 101, this year’s bill, AB 2016 was developed in coordination with the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) and would provide additional information and resources to educators to teach ethnic studies courses to their students.  Specifically, AB 2016 would allow the IQC to develop model curriculum as a guide for school districts and schools that choose to offer an ethnic studies course to reflect the unique experiences of the students in their communities.

California is home to one of the largest Hmong American populations in the United States and largest resettlement of refugees in the world. Unfortunately, the current high school curriculum does not even mention the role Hmong and other Southeast Asians played in aiding the United States Military during the Vietnam War and the Secret Wars in Laos and Cambodia. Moreover, the current curriculum makes no mention about the massive exodus of Hmong, Mien and other Southeast Asian refugees to the United States as a result. In line with your veto message for last year’s AB 101, we made several attempts to provide guidance and feedback to Signing AB 2016 would allow students to learn from a curriculum that reflects their own histories and help them gain a better understanding of about their respective culture in the context of California’s history.

Developing ethnic studies programs in all public high schools is an integral part of cultivating a classroom environment that is accepting of diverse cultures. It is vital for young people to learn about their history, but also important for them to feel like they can change their communities in positive ways. This bill will help close the achievement gap by reducing student truancy, increasing student enrollment, reduce dropout rates and better prepare Californian youth to be college-prepared and career-ready.

Hmong Innovating Politics (HIP) is a grassroots-organizing group whose mission is to strengthen the political power of Hmong and disenfranchised communities through innovative civic engagement and strategic grassroots mobilization. We envision a Sacramento of empowered communities that thrive in a socially and economically just democracy.

If you have any questions regarding AB 2016 and communities it would affect, please do not hesitate to contact Hmong Innovating Politics at hmonginnovatingpolitics@gmail.com.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Respectfully,
Nancy Xiong

I Teach The Toughest Kids, and I Love It | gadflyonthewallblog

I Teach The Toughest Kids, and I Love It | gadflyonthewallblog:

I Teach The Toughest Kids, and I Love It

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 2.29.55 PM
It was rarely a good thing when LaRon smiled in school.
It usually meant he was up to something.
He was late to class and wanted to see if I’d notice. He just copied another student’s homework and wondered if he’d get away with it. He was talking crap and hoped someone would take it to the next level.
As his teacher, I became rather familiar with that smile, and it sent shivers down my spine.
But on the last day of school, I couldn’t help but give him a smile back.
A few minutes before the last bell of the year, I stood before my class of 8th graders and gave them each a shout out.
“I just want to say what an honor it’s been to be your teacher,” I said.
They shifted in their seats, immediately I Teach The Toughest Kids, and I Love It | gadflyonthewallblog:

‘We can no longer teach a whitewashed history’ - The Washington Post

‘We can no longer teach a whitewashed history’ - The Washington Post:

‘We can no longer teach a whitewashed history’

A march against police brutality arrives at the Capitol after starting near the White House on July 7 in Washington. (Paul Holston/AP)

Twenty-three-year-old Leanna Diggs grew up in Silver Spring, Md., and attended James Hubert Blake High School in Silver Spring and Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa., double-majoring in political science and law and policy, focusing her studies on systemic inequity. In May 2015, she joined Teach For America and was placed in Miami-Dade County Public Schools as a ninth-grade algebra teacher at Miami Edison Senior High School. With an interest in the law, she interned this summer with Judge Thomas Logue of the Third District Court of Appeal in Florida, and she hopes to begin law school in a year, after fulfilling her two-year requirement with Teach For America.
Diggs says that Logue encouraged her to write the following post about her belief that educators cannot pretend society is colorblind but, rather, should find valuable ways to address the racial tensions and fear among students that are heightened by mass media coverage. In this post she makes a call for teachers to discuss #BlackLivesMatter in class as part of a long-overdue and difficult conversation about social, political, and economic inequality based on race.
By Leanna Diggs
As I scroll through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as well as conventional new media outlets, I am forced to reconsider my role as an educator.
In July, a new hashtag surfaced, #AltonSterling, followed by a video of a police officer shooting a black man. A day later, another hashtag, #PhilandoCastile, appeared on my news feed also accompanied by a video. And most recently, in the streets of North Miami,  Charles Kinsey with his hands raised in the air was shot by police while attempting to help a patient with autism. Three more black men shot for no apparent reason except the color of their skin. The same color as my skin and as the skin of my students.
As part of Teach For America corps, I teach ninth-grade Algebra at Miami Edison Senior High School. The students at Edison are 99 percent minority. Eighty-seven percent of those students receive free or reduced meals. Historically low performing, surrounded by gangs and violence, Miami Edison Senior is a product of hyper-segregation. Miami Edison Senior is an example of how urban ghettos continue to systemically limit spatial mobility of blacks, which obstructs social mobility.
As a millennial, I understand my student’s connection to their phones and social media. As a person of color, I understand the feelings of despair and fear as I scrolled through my Facebook news feed this summer. As a teacher, I have a duty.
School curriculums and texts operate from a place of colorblindness. But our students do not ‘We can no longer teach a whitewashed history’ - The Washington Post:

CURMUDGUCATION: No, CAP-- CCSS Is Not the Path to Better Reading

CURMUDGUCATION: No, CAP-- CCSS Is Not the Path to Better Reading:

No, CAP-- CCSS Is Not the Path to Better Reading


At this point, there is nobody-- absolutely nobody-- who can match the Center for American Progress in senseless devotion to the Common Core State [sic] Standards. CAP, the left-tilted thinky tank founded by Hillary Clinton's campaign chief John Podesta, has remained absolutely unflinching in their support of the standards, no matter how little sense they are making.

For instance, yesterday we get this piece from Melissa Lazarin, a CAP policy advisor with no actual background in education. Her piece is entitled "Reading, Writing, and the Common Core State Standards" and does not include the sub-heading "One of These Things Is Not Like the Others." She then goes on to demonstrate a lack of understanding about English language instruction.

She opens with the uncredited (but credible) data point that more high school students read The Fault Is in Our Stars and Divergent than read MacBeth or Hamlet. Yes, that could well be true.

Lazarin is bothered because the popular teen lit books do not have complex texts. In fact, she's worried that the lack of complexity in their reading and writing will make them unprepared for college. And she goes on to demonstrate how thoroughly she misunderstands the nature of reading and reading instruction:

Three of the top five most commonly assigned titles in grades 9 through 12 are To Kill a Mockingbird, The Crucible, and Of Mice and Men. All three books, while classics, are not particularly challenging in terms of sentence structure and complexity. 

Yes, so? This is the great reading fallacy of the standards-- the notion that reading is somehow a series of discrete tasks, skills that can exist independent of any content, and that in fact content is irrelevant, even unnecessary. This is nonsense, like trying to learn a language without learning the 
CURMUDGUCATION: No, CAP-- CCSS Is Not the Path to Better Reading:




I Don't Belong To Any Organized Party: I'm A Democrat

I Don't Belong To Any Organized Party: I'm A Democrat 


I wish the leaders of United Opt Out luck in their endeavors. They are seasoned dedicated activists who have earned everyone's respect. I am not writing them off because I am upset by the departure of friends who once ran the organization. I believe, along with Jesse Turner, that we need all hands on deck on this struggle. However, I reserve the right to remain skeptical of the role that the Democratic Party and the national teachers union leadership are playing in influencing the policy of activist groups which have become non profit organizations- whether the organization be BATs, UOO, SOS, or Network for Public Education. Raising questions about that role, at this historic juncture, is not divisive. It is essential in keeping our struggle honest and independent
Once an activist group becomes a non profit organization and starts raising funds, the source of that funding becomes a legitimate target of inquiry, whether the organization is seeking to fund day to day operations or a national event.
Trying to silence that kind of inquiry does not speak well for those doing the silencing.
The best way to answer criticism is to do great work. I fully expect that to take place in the case of United Opt Out. Their leaders deserve our support and our respect- but NOT our silence about the political climate in which they are working

Mark Naison | Facebook


Big Education Ape: Badass Teachers Association: Am I Radical Enough? Thoughts on Being a Black Education Activist Surrounded by White Liberals - http://bigeducationape.blogspot.com/2016/08/badass-teachers-association-am-i.html

Big Education Ape: Schools Matter: Weingarten Coopts United Opt Out National - http://bigeducationape.blogspot.com/2016/08/schools-matter-weingarten-coopts-united.html

Seattle Schools Community Forum: 100 Black Parents' Survey

Seattle Schools Community Forum: 100 Black Parents' Survey:

100 Black Parents' Survey


In advance of the meeting tonight at Mt. Zion Baptist Church at 6 pm with Garfield principal Ted Howard and black parents at GHS,  I thought I would put up their short survey. 

I'm putting it up for two reasons.

One, if there are any black Garfield parents who haven't seen it, they might want to weigh in.

Two, I note the list of items that is their wish list of 17 items.  Know what's NOT on it?  Blended classes.  It's a long list and that's not on it.  What they do say on honors is this:

Increase of black students in Honors and AP classes

Now I asked public education activist and Garfield teacher Jesse Hagopian about this issue of drawing more students of color into Honors/AP.  I asked if there couldn't be encouragement for kids to go into these classes and supports for those who need it.  He had no real answer except that there wasn't enough of a cohort of these kids for a comfort level for them. 

A cohort.  Yes, that's a term used a lot at Garfield but usually HCC students.  It apparently matters to many groups of students.

What the list DOES include are supports like:

- academic supports like tutoring
- college/career opportunities
- resource list for testing, AP, etc and supports for tests like SAT/ACT, AP

I think the entire list is valid and quite interesting.

As well, you may remember that I posted an article earlier this year from The Atlantic on more black parents who are homeschooling.  Here's another interesting one on that same topic from the Christian Science Monitor.


While some parents cite religious and moral reasons, others say they are keeping their kids out of public schools to protect them from school-related racism.Seattle Schools Community Forum: 100 Black Parents' Survey:

If California wants better compliance from charter schools, it must fix its oversight system - LA Times

If California wants better compliance from charter schools, it must fix its oversight system - LA Times:

If California wants better compliance from charter schools, it must fix its oversight system



 California needs reasonable, clearly defined and well-enforced rules for charter school oversight, a point driven home by a recent report issued by the Southern California chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and the nonprofit law firm Public Advocates. The study concluded that 253 California charter schools may have been in violation of state law because of discriminatory admissions policies.

The best way to address this situation is to make a structural change in the state's oversight process.
California’s system for authorizing charter schools — that is, approving charter schools and monitoring them — is splintered among more than 320 local, county and state agencies. This is far too many — we know that too many authorizers mean that schools are subjected to a patchwork of differing standards and practices. Most authorizers are school districts, but charter school organizers may also approach county offices of education for authorization, and the state Department of Education sometimes plays a role as well.


Charter schools are not the primary focus of any of these agencies. Instead, school districts and county education offices were mandated to oversee charter schools by the state Legislature and they are now stuck with a complex task many never wanted to begin with. School districts in particular, working within tight budgets, often don't have the capacity or staffing to deal effectively with charter schools. Most districts must direct the majority of their time and energy into operating traditional public schools.
What’s the result?
The ACLU/Public Advocates report reviewed the websites of 1,000 of the state's 1,200 charter schools, and found that a quarter of them had admissions policies that erected barriers to some children, including low-income students and English learners. Some schools required elaborate essays or auditions, or mandated volunteer work by parents. By law, charters, which are taxpayer-funded public schools, must be open to all California schoolchildren. Although the report makes it clear that a majority of California's charter schools meet their obligation to all the children in their communities, too often, no one is paying attention when an individual charter school does something wrong.
It is time to end California’s splintered system of oversight.  


First, the state should intentionally reduce the number of authorizers by allowing school districts to opt out of the oversight role. Any district that wishes to remain an authorizer should be required to submit a detailed plan to the state showing how it will provide sufficient resources and attention to the work of overseeing charters. Give districts three years to submit an acceptable plan or lose their power to oversee charter schools.
But then the state must also create an alternative, dedicated oversight system for charter schools that want to open in districts that don’t authorize charters. These oversight boards could be set up at county offices of education, or consolidated into a statewide chartering board. In either case, the system could be funded through a fee deducted from each charter school’s revenue.
In states where charter oversight is consolidated and more closely regulated, the results have been notable. We’ve seen higher standards enforced and best practices increase in Minnesota, after the state required authorizers to apply for the privilege of overseeing schools. In Colorado, a statewide authorizing board was created in 2004, allowing districts to opt out of authorizing. The board now oversees 35 charter schools across 18 towns and cities in the state.
Finally, California should clarify the state rules that govern admissions policies at all public schools, traditional, magnet and charter. It should also set rules for charter authorizers' role in enforcing those policies.  
Hundreds of charter schools in California are delivering good academic results for students and treating students fairly. Where school districts have the desire, the budget and the personnel to adequately authorize charters, district-level oversight can work. 
However, where authorization and oversight are flawed, and where schools aren't abiding by the law, the state must establish a better system to ensure an equitable education to all.
Greg Richmond is the president and chief executive of the National Assn. of Charter School Authorizers.If California wants better compliance from charter schools, it must fix its oversight system - LA Times:
How Goldilocks Opened a Charter School That Nobody Wanted






Big Education Ape: Charter School Approval Flea Flicker: Three charter schools closed by CPS file appeals with stat... http://bit.ly/1QGhKNd


Big Education Ape: Glendale Unified board denies charter school plans; petitioners say they will appeal to county -... http://bit.ly/1P9tvbD

Big Education Ape: Flea Flicker: Rocketship appeals to state board to build school in Concord - ContraCostaTimes http://bit.ly/1RVCrnq

Big Education Ape: Flea Flicker: Should state be able to approve charter schools in Virginia? - Daily Press http://bit.ly/1QPtgEg
Big Education Ape: Washington Charter Schools Find Another Source Of Public Money | KUOW News and Information http://bit.ly/1QPtknC

Audit finds chaotic financial management at Tennessee's Achievement School District | Times Free Press

Audit finds chaotic financial management at Tennessee's Achievement School District | Times Free Press:

Audit finds chaotic financial management at Tennessee's Achievement School District

NASHVILLE - It's in charge of turning around Tennessee's failing schools, but the state's Achievement School District now has its own flunking grade from state Comptroller watchdogs.
The just-released audit by the Division of State Audit provides a blistering critique into what auditors say the agency's lack of internal financial controls over basic functions.
So just how bad are things at the agency that directly manages five public schools and contracts with private charter groups to operate 24 other schools falling into the bottom five percent of schools statewide in terms of student performance?
Even as Division of State Audit accountants' examination was still underway this spring, the state Department of Education, which had allowed the ASD to operate independently, informed the Comptroller's office in April that it had staged an intervention and seized control over the ASD's "fiscal and federal processes."
As a result, the functions were transferred from Memphis to Nashville with a turnover of the ASD's financial staff. Education Commissioner Candice McQueen's staff told auditors they were hiring a fiscal director, fiscal manager, accountant, account tech, federal programs director and federal programs manager.
Problem areas cited by the Division of State Audit ranged from loose controls over spending, travel and credit cards to insufficient monitoring of the actual schools that ASD runs or contracts out.
Specific findings include:
1) The Achievement School District's management did not establish adequate controls over several key human resources and payroll processes
State law directs that it "shall develop written procedures, subject to the approval of the commissioner, for employment and management of personnel as well as the development of compensation and benefit plans." 
"During our audit," watchdogs wrote, "we found seven key areas where ASD did not establish processes over key human resources and payroll functions, including segregating duties; maintaining personnel files; verifying education credentials; documenting time and attendance; completing performance reviews; documenting approvals of bonuses and pay raises; and exiting employees.
2) The Achievement School District's management "failed to implement adequate internal controls over its expenditures, travel claims, and purchasing card purchases
"Based on our testwork," auditors wrote, "we found several deficiencies that indicate that ASD management did not establish adequate internal controls over expenditures and purchasing card purchases. Specifically, we noted that management did not properly approve expenditures, travel claims, and purchasing card purchases, nor did they provide adequate support for some transactions.
3) The Achievement School District's fiscal management "did not perform sufficient fiscal monitoring of its direct-run schools and charter management organizations
"Considering the problems identified in previous Tennessee Single Audits," auditors noted, "we inquired with management to determine if ASD management conducted fiscal monitoring of ASD's Achievement Schools and charter management organizations; we found that ASD's main office staff do not conduct such monitoring.
In one instance, auditors discovered there were payments of $5,895 to employees who no longer even worked for ASD.
Among other things, auditors also couldn't find six expenditure transactions for a dental insurance premium, donation, coffee supplies, and accrual calculations, totaling $131,637, and for three travel claims for a flight and expenses involving charter school operators. That totalled $4,734 and, the audit says, "management could not provide supporting documentation."
Auditors wouldn't even publicly cite specifics in one of their findings on "internal controls." Instead, they found refuge in an exclusion to the Tennessee Open Records Act. It deals, among other things, at ensuring sensitive information about security problems with information systems doesn't get out.
But according to the new audit, that's on top of a lot of other problems that both the state and federal government, which in addition to Tennessee provides funding, have found in previous audits.
On March 30, 2016, the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Inspector General, released an audit of Tennessee's Race to the Top grant, which included funds spent by the ASD.
"This federal audit identified similar internal control deficiencies and areas of
federal noncompliance with the Race to the Top grant at ASD," the latest Comptroller notes. "During our current audit, we continued to find similar issues relating to fiscal deficiencies and noncompliance, but we have also identified new areas of deficiencies related to human resources and purchasing cards."
It notes that ASD "did not have sufficient processes, procedures, and specific
critical controls in place to ensure compliance with federal and state requirements, including proper administration of federal and state funds. In some instances, we found that ASD had actually created or adopted procedures but had failed to follow them."
The audit said that the Comptroller's office has previously "reported deficiencies in ASD's internal controls and noncompliance with federal program requirements, resulting in approximately $721,000 of federal questioned cost."Audit finds chaotic financial management at Tennessee's Achievement School District | Times Free Press:

CURMUDGUCATION: AEI: Comparing Public and Charter Schools

CURMUDGUCATION: AEI: Comparing Public and Charter Schools:

AEI: Comparing Public and Charter Schools


The folks at the American Enterprise Institute have released a study comparing charter schools to public schools. "Difference on Balance: National Comparisons of Charter and Traditional Public Schools" announces in its title that AEI continues to support the modern charter school industry (charter schools are not public schools in any meaningful way except their willingness to accept public tax dollars).




That said, a quick scan of the end notes shows a broad assortment of articles and even some studies not from the usual suspects. So this could be interesting. We should never pretend that AEI is anything but a huge fan of charter schools as a tool in the invisible hand of free market economics, but AEI is also, on the whole, one of the more intellectually rigorous thinky tanks in the biz. They may be working to sell reformster PR, but at least its not flimsy thin baloney PR, and after you've read a hundred or so of these things, you start to appreciate people who at least do a little homework and don't just base their "research" on five "reports" from their own organization.

At any rate, let's take a look at this thirty-two page paper. Once again (I believe this is the closest thing I have to a bloggy slogan) I've read it so that you don't have to. Here we go.

Our Author 

The paper is by Nat Malkus, a senior research analyst with AEI. From 2009 to 2015 he worked withAmerican Institutes for Research, the outfit that sounds like a research organization but is in the 
CURMUDGUCATION: AEI: Comparing Public and Charter Schools:

Jersey Jazzman: Inequity In Illinois School Funding: A Follow Up

Jersey Jazzman: Inequity In Illinois School Funding: A Follow Up:

Inequity In Illinois School Funding: A Follow Up

I want to add something to yesterday's post about school funding inequity in Chicago, and how the blame is being unjustly placed on the city's teachers and their union:

As I said, it's tricky to compare school spending across districts in any context. But Illinois is especially difficult because many of the state's districts are regional high schools: in other words, rather than comprehensive K-12 districts, many schools are organized into K-8 districts and separate high school districts.

For better or for worse, high schools tend to spend more per pupil than elementary schools. Which means comparing the spending at a K-12 district with that of a K-8 or 9-12 district can lead to a false comparison.

We can use regression-based adjustments to account for this disparity, but we really have to approach the differences between districts with some caution. That said, I think it's instructive to look at these adjusted differences in Cook County, IL (as we did yesterday) to see just how screwed Chicago's schools are.



Data is from the US Census Bureau's F33 school finance files, and the Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE). I've marked the districts with greater than 80 percent high school enrollment in dark blue. The spending figures have been adjusted to account for differences in high school enrollments.

A couple of things jump out right away. There is a clear downward slope in the relationship between spending and student poverty; in other words, in Cook County, as poverty goes up, spending is more likely to come down. This is exactly the opposite of what research on school funding suggests we should do.

Also notice that no high school district in Cook County has as high a student poverty level as Chicago. Yes, Chicago is a K-12 district, but keep in mind, as a pointed out yesterday, it is also a district where the overall average family income is significantly higher than the Jersey Jazzman: Inequity In Illinois School Funding: A Follow Up:



Las Madres de la Plaza, el pueblo las abraza - Lily's Blackboard

Las Madres de la Plaza, el pueblo las abraza - Lily's Blackboard:

Las Madres de la Plaza, el pueblo las abraza

La verdad que pensé que nos podían aplastar. Roberto Baradel, secretario general de SUTEBA, el sindicato de educadores en Buenos Aires, me tenía agarrada de una mano, y de la otra iba agarrada de mi esposo Alberto, mientras caminábamos entre los miles y miles de manifestantes en la Plaza de Mayo, cerca de la Casa Rosada, que mantiene barricadas contra este tipo de protestas. Sabíamos que si nos soltábamos nos perderíamos en el mar de manifestantes.
Estaba en Buenos Aires en una reunión regional de la Internacional de la Educación Soy una de sus vicepresidentes regionales y tuve el honor de formar parte de varias presentaciones. Pero esta marcha no estaba en la agenda oficial. Roberto me preguntó si sabía sobre Las Madres de la Plaza.
Claro que sabía quiénes son. En las décadas de 70s y 80s cuando Argentina estaba gobernada por los militares,los que criticaban el gobierno fueron “desaparecidos”. Fueron secuestrados, torturados y asesinados. Sus cuerpos fueron desechados en tumbas comunes sin identificación o lanzados al mar desde aviones en vuelos rutinarios de muerte. Más de 600 docentes fueron detenidos y desaparecidos.
En el 30 de abril de 1977, una docena de madres dirigidas por Azucena Villaflor llegó a la Plaza de Mayo y se pararon en frente al palacio presidencial. Llevaban colgados del cuello imágenes de sus hijos desaparecidos. Marcharon juntas frente a la Casa Rosada.
Fue un acto de valor inimaginable resultado de la indignación y de un dolor inimaginable. Estas mujeres comunes y corrientes sin fortuna, puestos importantes o incluso el derecho de hablar la verdad, salieron cada semana a marchar en protesta; para exigir justicia; y para avergonzar un gobierno sinvergüenza. Otras personas del pueblo se animaron y empezaron a ir a las marchas semanales para exigir justicia. Hicieron una colecta y compraron un anuncio en el periódico con los nombres de los desaparecidos.
La noche que salió el anuncio, Azucena Villaflor fue sacada de su casa, torturada y “desaparecida”al igual que su hijo Néstor.  El gobierno creyó que su muerte cruel serviría como ejemplo para que los demás desistieran y le pondrían fin a las marchas.
Pero no fue así. 39 años después, Roberto me estaba jalando de la mano para ver a las madres, (hoy en día también abuelas) porque había miles y miles de personas en solidaridad con ellas. Estaban preparando su marcha número 2.000, las 2.000 vueltas, una inmensa marcha. 
Mi foto favorita. Las rondas las hacían ellas, pero ahora las hacemos todos. Gracias a ellas 

El miedo no podía intimidarlas. La violencia no podía callarlas. Incluso su propio dolor no las abatió. Estas luchadoras triunfadoras con pañuelos blancos, algunas apoyadas por andadores, esperaron con calma y paciencia en una pequeña tienda de campaña para apoyarse en los brazos de voluntarios y presentarse como los símbolos vivientes que la injusticia debe ser desafiada, y que la gente común y corriente tiene el poder para organizarse y ganar.
Debido a su incansable persistencia, se colocó la presión internacional sobre el gobierno en busca de respuestas.Una comisión recogió testimonios. Las pruebas de ADN comprobaron la identidad de muchos de los desaparecidos. Oficiales militares de alto rango fueron juzgados, condenados y sentenciados por sus crímenes. Algunas de los desaparecidas eran mujeres embarazadas. Los bebés que nacieron en las prisiones de tortura fueron robados y dados a familias escogidas por los militares luego de que sus madres fueran asesinadas. Las madres de la Plaza tuvieron éxito en la identificación de cientos de estos niños.
Roberto tuvo que convencer a los voluntarios que estaban de guardia con las madres que me dejaran entrar a la carpa donde estaban para conocerlas. Es testimonio de su propio activismo lo conocían y confiaban en él. Me dejaron entrar. Fue un increíble honor conocerlas. Tengo dos hijos. No me puedo imaginar lo que haría si mi gobierno se los llevara, si los desaparecieran. Se me salían las lágrimas pensando en el dolor, pero también de pensar con orgullo de la fuerza de estas magníficas mujeres. La más joven de las madres tiene ahora 87 años.
IMG_6359No habrá un aniversario número 3.000 donde marcharán las madres de la primera vez. Sin embargo, la Plaza de Mayo está repleta. Hijos e hijas y nietos y desconocidos como yo llegan. Las madres han construido una organización de luchadoras apasionadas por la justicia social. Sus hijos perdidos no regresarán a casa. Por eso concentran sus esfuerzos en abogar por los pobres y lo más débiles – por los niños de hoy.
El poder de las madres es una lección universal. Se levantaron mujeres que no tenían derechos; vulnerables y de luto por la pérdida más profunda posible. Su valentía inspiró a otros. Su persistencia llevó a los asesinos ante la justicia. Su visión es tan clara que su legado permanecerá.
Cuando salieron y comenzaron a marchar por la 2.000 vez en frente, la vuelta 2.000, miles y miles de hijos y nietos y amigos adoptados y desconocidos marcharon con ellas en la Plaza de Mayo. Gritamos en su honor:
Las Madres de la Plaza ¡el pueblo las abraza!
No es un simple lema. Es un recordatorio de lo que estamos llamados a hacer cuando las injusticias que enfrentamos parecen insuperables y las fuerzas en nuestra contra parecen omnipotentes.


Recordemos a las madres. Abracémoslas. Marchemos con ellas. Nos han mostrado el camino.Las Madres de la Plaza, el pueblo las abraza - Lily's Blackboard:


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