When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
— Gospel of John 19:26-27
In current situations around the world and specifically in the United States, the statement heard is “Where is my mother?” as policies of family separation have been enforced leaving parents and children separated from each other.
As persons suffering from Alzheimer’s fail to recognize their family present and ask for their mothers and children.
As incarcerated women wonder about the fate of their children and children wonder where their mother is.
The Gospel of John gives us a glimpse to the pain and suffering of a mother witnessing the suffering of her son, and even when the son – Jesus- leaves her mother to be cared for a trusted and loved disciple the loss of a child even and adult child leaves suffering and anguish
The following list includes but is not limited to organizations and information relating to places where persons- both children and adults- are asking “Where is my Mother?
CASA Court Appointed Special Advocates- https://bigcountrycasa.org/about-us/
Family Separation- https://www.npr.org/2018/06/19/621065383/what-we-know-family-separation-and-zero-tolerance-at-the-border
Documentary – Virtual Zoom Premier, Thursday. Feb. 25th, 2021 from 5 PM- 6PM EST https://www.ohmercyfilm.com/?fbclid=IwAR0rIXbsQaYZSszus-kSiK_Wf9xfEIlV050O9L2mNYHrRv2Wcf4USdJEzjU
Incarcerated Women- https://www.ncchc.org/womens-health-care
Women’s Health- https://www.cdc.gov/women/index.htm
Safe drinking-water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) are crucial to human health and well-being. Safe WASH is not only a prerequisite to health, but contributes to livelihoods, school attendance and dignity and helps to create resilient communities living in healthy environments.
Drinking unsafe water impairs health through illnesses such as diarrhea, and untreated excreta contaminates groundwaters and surface waters used for drinking-water, irrigation, bathing and household purposes.
Chemical contamination of water continues to pose a health burden, whether natural in origin such as arsenic and fluoride, or anthropogenic such as nitrate.
Safe and sufficient WASH plays a key role in preventing numerous tropical diseases such as trachoma, soil-transmitted helminths and schistosomiasis. Diarrheal deaths as a result of inadequate WASH were reduced by half during the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) period (1990–2015), with the significant progress on water and sanitation provision playing a key role.
Evidence suggests that improving service levels towards safely managed drinking-water or sanitation such as regulated piped water or connections to sewers with wastewater treatment can dramatically improve health by reducing diarrheal disease deaths.
— from the World Health Organization: Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) (who.int)
Millions of people spend almost every moment of their lives seeking water. Millions more do not give it a second thought. Which category you are in depends a great deal on where you were born.
More than 750 million people around the world do not have reliable water access and even fewer have access to water for agriculture and household tasks, according to United Methodist Global Ministries. The job of collecting the water for drinking, cooking, bathing and laundry often falls to women and girls, who may walk for miles with water from ponds, wells or rivers carried in buckets on their heads. The heavy containers sometimes weigh as much as 40 pounds. According to the United Nations, 80% of households without piped water rely on women and girls for water collection.
Contaminated water and poor sanitation are linked to transmission of diseases such as cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid, and polio, according to the World Health Organization which says 829,000 people are estimated to die each year from diarrhea as a result of unsafe drinking-water, sanitation, and hand hygiene.
— from United Methodist News: Water is Life | The United Methodist Church (umc.org)
From the United Methodist Church Social Principles:
Health care is a basic human right. Providing the care needed to maintain health, prevent disease, and restore health after injury or illness is a responsibility each person owes others and government owes to all, a responsibility government ignores at its peril.
We believe it is a governmental responsibility to provide all citizens with health care.
We encourage hospitals, physicians, and medical clinics to provide access to primary health care to all people regardless of their health-care coverage or ability to pay for treatment.
Social Principles: The Social Community | The United Methodist Church (umc.org)
And this is further emphasized in the UMC Book of Resolutions:
In the United States today, however, despite the passage and implementation of the Affordable Care Act, fulfillment of this duty is thwarted by simultaneous crises of access, quality, and cost. The result of these crises is injustice to the most vulnerable, increased risk to health care consumers, and waste of scarce public and private resources.
In today’s United States, health-care access continues to be disproportionately afforded to the affluent, the employees of government and large corporations, the very poor, and many receiving adequate pensions plus Medicare. While numbers of Americans have now obtained through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) insurance they previously could not access, uneven application of the law from state to state means that many continue to be uninsured.
Lack of health-care access affects minorities disparately, and the results of the devastating expense of a long-term or terminal illness, inadequate care in general, and the extraordinary cost of insurance all contribute to keeping many minorities in the poverty cycle, dependent on welfare and other forms of assistance, and imprisoned in struggling and dangerous communities.
Disparities in access lead to disparities in treatment. The poor, the aging, women, children, people with disabilities, and persons of color are most at risk. The infant mortality rate in the United States is the worst among the “developed” countries. African-American women die from cervical cancer at three times the rate of Caucasian women. African Americans have a significantly lower life span than Caucasians, and Hispanics have the least access to the health-care system of any group. Native Americans, besides suffering greatly from alcoholism, have a substantially higher diabetes and tuberculosis rate than average US rates. Recent immigrants who experience health problems find the healthcare system poorly equipped to meet their needs.
We believe it is unconscionable and abhorrent that any human being should ever be denied access to adequate health care due to economic, racial, or class barriers (United States Bureau of the Census, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and US Department of Health and Human Services—Office of Minority Health).
The United Methodist Church is committed to health care for all in the United States, and therefore advocates for a comprehensive health-care delivery system that includes access for all, quality care, and effective management of costs.
Read more: Book of Resolutions: Health Care for All in the United States | The United Methodist Church (umc.org)
From the World Health Organization:
– Between 5.7 and 8.4 million deaths are attributed to poor quality care each year in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), which represents up to 15% of overall deaths in these countries.
– Sixty per cent of deaths in LMICs from conditions requiring health care occur due to poor quality care, whereas the remaining deaths result from non-utilization of the health system.
– Inadequate quality of care imposes costs of US$ 1.4–1.6 trillion each year in lost productivity in LMICs.
– It has been estimated that high quality health systems could prevent 2.5 million deaths from cardiovascular disease, 900 000 deaths from tuberculosis, 1 million newborn deaths and half of all maternal deaths each year.
– Globally, the essential structures for achieving quality care are inadequate: one in 8 health care facilities has no water service, one in 5 has no sanitation service, and one in 6 has no hand hygiene facilities at the points of care.
– An estimated 1.8 billion people, or 24% of the world’s population, live in fragile contexts that are challenged in delivering quality essential health services. A large proportion of preventable maternal, childhood and neonatal deaths occur in these settings.
Read more: Fact sheet: Quality health services (who.int)
In 2019, 6.1 million children and young adolescents died, mostly from preventable causes. Children under the age of 5 accounted for 5.2 million of these deaths – nearly half of whom were newborn babies. Every six seconds, a child under the age of 5 dies somewhere in the world. What’s more, some 810 women die each day from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.
Many of these deaths can be avoided. But inadequate access to quality health care and life-saving supplies still contributes significantly to preventable maternal and child deaths. Adolescents are more exposed to accidents and injuries, unintended pregnancies and the physical, mental and economic repercussions of birth defects, HIV and AIDS, and non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and chronic lung disease.
For children and adolescents in emergency and humanitarian settings, health risks escalate. Life-saving health services are often unavailable or inaccessible, making newborns, children, adolescents and mothers particularly vulnerable to harm.
Nearly 40 per cent of the global under-five deaths occurred in countries suffering humanitarian crises.
In the coming decades, demographic changes threaten to strain global health systems. Some 2 billion births are projected worldwide between 2018 and 2050. Africa remains the world’s only region anticipating a substantial increase in births, with repercussions for thinly stretched health systems. In Asia, ageing populations are also expected to put pressure on health systems.
— from: Health | UNICEF
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for 60% to 80% of cases. Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative brain disease, becoming worse with time. Alzheimer’s disease is thought to begin 20 years or more before symptoms arise, with changes in the brain that are unnoticeable to the person affected. Only after years of brain changes do individuals experience noticeable symptoms such as memory loss and language problems.
Symptoms occur because nerve cells (neurons) in parts of the brain involved in thinking, learning and memory (cognitive function) have been damaged or destroyed. As the disease progresses, neurons in other parts of the brain are damaged or destroyed. Eventually, nerve cells that enable a person to carry out basic bodily functions, such as walking and swallowing, are affected. Individuals become bed-bound and require around-the-clock care.
Alzheimer’s disease is ultimately fatal.
Parkinson’s Disease is another common cause of dementia. Problems with movement (slowness, rigidity, tremor and changes in gait) are common symptoms of PD. Cognitive symptoms develop either just before movement symptoms or later in the disease.
It is critical to note that while the field of Alzheimer’s research has made great gains over the years in understanding the brain changes associated with the disease and how the disease progresses, much of the research to date has not included sufficient numbers of blacks/African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders and Native Americans to be representative of the U.S. population. Moreover, because some studies find blacks/African Americans and Hispanics/Latinos to be at increased risk for Alzheimer’s, the underrepresentation of these populations hampers the conduct of rigorous research to understand these health disparities.
— From: Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures Report
When a child is removed from their home for their own safety, it is a chaotic and confusing time in their life. Between new foster parents, lawyers, Child Protective Service agents, judges, the child needs one constant face, a confidante, when they feel like they have no control. Advocates represent children and their best interests in the child protection system, giving that child or sibling group the individualized advocacy and attention they need, serving as the “eyes and ears” for the judge in child welfare cases, researching each child’s situation, and making objective recommendations to help them reclaim their childhoods from abuse and neglect. Advocates are frequently the only stable presence in these children’s lives as they navigate the foster care system. This allows them to bring a unique perspective to the court case, and their sole objective is representing the best interests of the child.
— from: Home – Big Country CASA
Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs) provide a coordinated team of experts in medicine, law enforcement, victim advocacy, mental health, and other disciplines hold offenders accountable and help children and families heal in a comprehensive, seamless way so no future is out of reach.
To understand what a Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) is, you must understand what children face without one. Without a CAC, the child may end up having to tell the worst story of his or her life over and over again, to doctors, cops, lawyers, therapists, investigators, judges, and others. They may have to talk about that traumatic experience in a police station where they think they might be in trouble, or may be asked the wrong questions by a well-meaning teacher or other adult that could hurt the case against the abuser.
When police or child protective services believe a child may be experiencing abuse, the child is brought to the CAC—a safe, child-focused environment—by a caregiver or other “safe” adult. At the CAC, the child tells their story once to a trained interviewer who knows the right questions to ask in a way that does not not retraumatize the child. Then, a team that includes medical professionals, law enforcement, mental health, prosecution, child protective services, victim advocacy, and other professionals make decisions together about how to help the child based on the interview. CACs offer therapy and medical exams, plus courtroom preparation, victim advocacy, case management, and other services. This is called the multidisciplinary team (MDT) response and is a core part of the work of CACs.
— from: How the CAC Model Works – National Children’s Alliance
Some National Children’s Alliance statistics for 2020 in NY State:
Total number of children served at CACs: 14,917
Primary types of abuse reported: Sexual Abuse 10,067; Physical Abuse 2,702
Race/Ethnicity of children: White 6,295; Black/African American 2,368; Hispanic/Latino 2,499; other/undisclosed: 4,143
See more: New-York-1.pdf (live-nca-2018-wp.pantheonsite.io)
Globally, advocates support basic Children’s Human Rights:
United Nations educational guides for children classify the rights outlined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child as the “3 Ps”: Provision, Protection, and Participation. They may be elaborated as follows:
Provision: Children have the right to an adequate standard of living, health care, education and services, and to play and recreation. These include a balanced diet, a warm bed to sleep in, and access to schooling.
Protection: Children have the right to protection from abuse, neglect, exploitation and discrimination. This includes the right to safe places for children to play; constructive child rearing behavior, and acknowledgment of the evolving capacities of children.
Participation: Children have the right to participate in communities and have programs and services for themselves. This includes children’s involvement in libraries and community programs, youth voice activities, and involving children as decision-makers.
In a similar fashion, the Child Rights International Network (CRIN) categorizes rights into two groups:
Economic, social and cultural rights, related to the conditions necessary to meet basic human needs such as food, shelter, education, health care, and gainful employment. Included are rights to education, adequate housing, food, water, the highest attainable standard of health, the right to work and rights at work, as well as the cultural rights of minorities and indigenous peoples.
Environmental, cultural and developmental rights, which are sometimes called “third generation rights,” and including the right to live in safe and healthy environments and that groups of people have the right to cultural, political, and economic development.
Other issues affecting children’s rights include the military use of children, sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.
— Read more: Children’s rights – Wikipedia
The previous administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy separating immigrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexican border can be considered a form of child abuse. Family separation causes irreparable harm to children and this type of highly stressful experience can disrupt the building of children’s brain architecture. Prolonged exposure to serious stress—known as toxic stress—can lead to lifelong health consequences.
These children have already undergone a traumatic process of leaving their country and arriving here. Now, they are separated from their caregivers. When a child has been traumatized, they should be surrounded by support and resources, including counseling and restored security. Unfortunately, many will not have these support resources and will not be in conditions that will immediately help them move forward. They may be reunited with their families or sent elsewhere. They will be released into family systems that are already distressed.
Children who experience trauma are at a much greater risk of developing mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, addiction, ADHD and PTSD. Their physical health is also negatively affected. Young children tend to internalize trauma and negative experiences which can have devastating long-term effects on the psyche and can lead to self-destructive behaviors as an adult.
— Read more: Damage of Separating Families | Psychology Today
Health topics (who.int)
4 Principles for Improving Health Care Around the World (hbr.org)
WHO’s 10 most urgent health challenges for the 2020s | World Economic Forum (weforum.org)
Can we feed the world and ensure no one goes hungry? | | UN News
Women’s Health Care in Correctional Settings (ncchc.org)
Women’s Health – CDC
Accessible Health Care:
Health access and coverage: an issue of justice – UMC Abundant Health
Child Health | RAND
Children’s Health: Common Problems (webmd.com)
Children’s Environmental Health (nih.gov)
Home – Big Country CASA
Homepage – National Children’s Alliance
WHO WE ARE | PCANY (preventchildabuseny.org)
The Issues (missingkids.org)
10 Organizations defending children’s human rights | Human Rights Careers
Executive Order on the Establishment of Interagency Task Force on the Reunification of Families | The White House
United Methodists fight separation of immigrant families | The United Methodist Church (umc.org)
Faith leaders’ statement on family separation | The United Methodist Church (umc.org)
Family Separation Rule Never Should Have Happened, Rod Rosenstein Says As Report Reveals How He And Jeff Sessions Pushed Policy Forward (forbes.com)
Trump and Aides Drove Family Separation at Border, Documents Say – The New York Times (nytimes.com)
Family Separations at the Border: A Resource List | The McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research at New York University (nyu.edu)
Documentary – Virtual Zoom Premier, Thursday. Feb. 25th, 2021 from 5 PM- 6PM EST https://www.ohmercyfilm.com/?fbclid=IwAR0rIXbsQaYZSszus-kSiK_Wf9xfEIlV050O9L2mNYHrRv2Wcf4USdJEzjU
One of the most powerful ways to lose weight, stay healthy, and live longer is to put one foot in front of the other. Walking can do everything from lowering your blood pressure and reducing your risk of chronic diseases to making your brain sharper and your heart happier.
11 Biggest Benefits of Walking, Plus Health Tips From Doctors & Trainers (prevention.com)
Keeping social distancing in mind, ask a friend to join you!
Food security exists when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life and hinges on food availability, food access, and food use. Lacking one of these elements of food security, people face food insecurity, (Read more: What Is Global Food Insecurity? | The Borgen Project)
In Ulster County, a significant number of residents are living in poverty, suffering economic hardship, or experiencing “food insecurity.” We are living side-by-side in two worlds. Some of us shop for food regularly and conveniently in a range of venues, from full-service groceries to local farm stands. Others must obtain food wherever and however they can in a shadow system of food pantries, soup kitchens, and food distributions. Read more: CRREO.Hunger4.indd (newpaltz.edu)
Research some of our local organizations and find ways that you can volunteer and help. This is an extensive list of Ulster County food pantries and soup kitchens (note that due to COVID-19, some may have currently suspended operations):
Food Pantries | Food Banks | Food Insecurity | Ulster County (peoplesplaceuc.org)
UlsterCorps connects thousands of people with dozens of Ulster County agencies that provide food, clothing, shelter, emergency services, literacy training, child and elder care, animal welfare, and more to the area’s most vulnerable residents. For current volunteer opportunities to help with local food insecurity see Food Pantries & Soup Kitchens – UlsterCorps
Finally, you can support our NPUMC Supplemental Food Program which supplies groceries to seniors and families of the local Agri-Business Child Development Center.
The United Methodist Church is active in all areas of Global Health issues, supporting over 100 different projects specifically in this cause worldwide. UMC Global Ministries Advance ensures 100% of each gift is used for its intended mission or ministry.
Some specific projects that you may consider:
Global Ministries – Abundant Health (umcmission.org)
Global Ministries – Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Program (umcmission.org)
Global Ministries – Integral Ministry for Children, Ecuador (umcmission.org)
Global Ministries – Red Bird Clinic Community Health (umcmission.org)
Global Ministries – Imagine No Malaria (umcmission.org)
Read about the impact of Abundant Health for children across the world: Global Health initiative exceeds goal of reaching 1 million children – UMC Abundant Health
Signs of Hope…
When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him.
— Gospel of Luke 24:30-31a
Christ walks with us even when we fail to recognize or accept his presence. Nevertheless, he is ready to hear our woes and worries as well as comfort and set us on a journey to address the concerns that afflict us and our communities.
US government to reunite children separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border:
Efforts around the world to get the spread of COVID under control:
3/19/2021: 392,609,534 persons vaccinated World Wide and 43,000,000 US.
Progress has been made in addressing drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene:
Treatment and breakthroughs for Dementia as well preventive measures:
Progress on household drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, 2000-2017 – UNICEF DATA
Special thanks to Marisa Villarreal for researching this social justice issue
Each station was researched by one or more members of our church community to help provide the detailed information that has been presented. Are you interested in this social justice issue? Do you have additional information or action items that you would like to share? If so, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. These web pages are a dynamic, active work in process, just like the people of our community!