Rhode Island State House
Rhode Island State House
Congress: Let all children of U.S. military service members unite with their families!
I’m Jenifer Bass, a U.S. Navy veteran, who served for 10 years, one-third in the Asia-Pacific region. It was due to my travel between ports in countries like Japan and Thailand that I first encountered amerasian children, and descendants, of U.S. service members and civilian contractors previously stationed overseas. Filipino Amerasians are abandoned and neglected biracial children of Filipino mothers and American fathers (mostly members of the US armed forces). In the Philippines alone, more than 52,000-plus children were born and left behind after the U.S. Navy withdrew the last of its military personnel in 1992. Right now, the U.S. government won’t legally recognize them as U.S. citizens, despite having been born to an American parent. The Philippine Embassy won't help them either. As a former US colony between 1898 and 1946, the Philippines was home to millions of US soldiers and their dependents, even after its independence. Until 1992, the country hosted two of the largest US military facilities outside the US – Clark Air Base and Subic Naval Base, which played major roles during the Vietnam and first Gulf wars. In 1982 US Public Law 97-359, or the Amerasian Act of 1982, allowed children from Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Kampuchea, or Thailand to move to the US and eventually become American citizens, but those who were from the Philippines were excluded from the law, an exclusion which was upheld by the US Senate on the basis that many Filipino Amerasians were “conceived from illicit affairs and prostitution”, and were born during peacetime. Today, there are estimated to be more than 250,000-plus children. Many amerasians are caught in a no-man’s land of discrimination and poverty -- most left behind by U.S. service members who are unaware that they’ve fathered children overseas. My friend John Haines is one of these sailors. In 2011, John discovered he was the father of a half-Filipino daughter, Jannette. He attempted to unite with her through the American Homecoming Act -- but was frustrated to learn that the Act did not apply to Filipino children of U.S. service members. Today, all John wants is to be united with his daughter and grandchildren. He, like so many other veterans are living with a “hole in their hearts” as they search for ways to unite with their children. There is hope. The Uniting Families Act of 2018, HR 1520, creates a specialized visa allowing military veterans and eligible civilian contractors to sponsor their children and grandchildren for U.S. citizenship. Currently, blood relationship must be proven by DNA test and the total number of visas granted will be capped at 5,000 each year. The issue takes on more urgency as so many of our veterans from our wars in Southeast Asia are getting older and dying each day -- without the chance to connect, or in some cases, reconnect with their own children. John’s daughter Jannette has already undertaken the DNA testing process, conclusively proving her relationship to her American father. All she’s waiting for is the opportunity to permanently unite with her father. There is a PBS documentary, "Left by the Ship" (2010), documenting a day in the life and the personal struggles as a Filipino amerasian on the never ending search for identity and their struggles to connect to their American military families. Please sign this petition to tell Congress that these families cannot wait another day. Pass the Uniting Families Act of 2017, HR 1520, now!
Justice for Julian! Insist RI DCYF respect the wishes of his murdered mother.
In January 2019, Rachael Rene became a well known name in Rhode Island for being the first domestic violence death in the state. She was brutally stabbed to death by her baby’s father, Luis Matta. Just a day before Rachael’s life was taken, she was awarded sole custody of their eight month old son, Julian. Luis brutally attacked Rachael with their son in the home. He stabbed Rachael 28 times leaving her unrecognizable, mutilated her body, and with a broken arm and hand. After murdering Rachael he brought Julian to his parents' home. Julian has remained in the Matta home ever since. Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) has made little to no effort to work with Rachael's family since she was murdered. Instead, DCYF has been cooperatively working with the Matta family. Although just a short time before the murder a judge had found Luis unfit to be a custodial parent for Julian, DCYF has chosen not to terminate Luis's parental rights but allow him to consent to his parents adopting Julian. DCYF is allowing Luis to make decisions for Julian's future while he had no regard for his son's future when he decided to murder Rachael. DCYF failed to contact anyone in Rachael's family in order to notify them on the whereabouts of Julian. They eventually told Lisa Rene, Rachael's mother, that Julian would NOT be placed with the Matta family, but ultimately he was. Rachael had a very close relationship with her mother who was devastated to find out through the news, that Julian was placed with the Matta family. Both Lisa and I were in the delivery room when Julian was born. The Matta Family was not present that day. Lisa had been a major part of Julian's life since day one. At one point during Rachael's tumultuous relationship with Luis, Rachael told Lisa that she feared Luis would kill her; Rachael asked Lisa to promise that she would take care of Julian. DCYF kept Julian away from Rachael's family for more than two months. DCYF never reached out to anyone in Rachael's family to ask about any of their history with Julian. DCYF said that because the baby had belongings at the Matta residence they thought he had been staying there before Rachael was murdered and didn't want to disrupt his routine. Julian had been there, in November of 2018, for about a month when Luis refused to return Julian to his mother after a visit. Their reasoning for placing Julian with the Matta's was not fact based, it was easy for DCYF. On December 11th of 2018, after making several attempts to get Julian back (even with police present), Rachael obtained an emergency court order to remove Julian from the Matta's home. She was relieved and ready to move on with her life with her baby and without Luis. DCYF has disregarded Rachael's family, more specifically Lisa's efforts to communicate with them and be considered as an option for placement of Julian. Lisa has provided DCYF with everything they have asked of her; a beautiful, stable home for her grandson, proper counseling etc. and yet no call backs, no answers, and no Julian. Lisa is not being given the chance to uphold the promise that she made to Rachael. Over the last nine months Lisa has been treated as though she did something wrong, and that nothing she has done is good enough. DCYF has treated the Matta family as though they are the victims in this tragedy. It was Lisa’s daughters' life that was taken. Where is the justice for Rachael? For Julian? DCYF has stated that Julian was only in temporary custody, yet nine months later no changes have been made and no explanations as to why. Lisa sees her grandson two days a week for seven hours a day, with no overnights, and many last minute cancellations from the Matta's. Lisa is in regular contact with the Mattas, as DCYF told them to figure out a schedule that works for them. Unfortunately, communication with the Matta's is difficult as they are Spanish speaking family and need a translator to communicate back and forth with Lisa and her family. Lisa's requests to DCYF for help with more time with Julian have been ignored. The Matta's have refused her overnights and more time with her grandson and when asked why, no reasonable explanation is provided. How is this okay? The injustice of this system, the ignorance to Lisa and the Rene family, and the improper placing of Julian by DYCF has gone on far too long. We can no longer stand back and let these behaviors occur any longer! Lisa deserves to have her only grandson back in her home where he belongs! Rachael deserves JUSTICE! Julian needs to be in a home, surrounded by family and friends who want him to remember his mother. He should grow up knowing what an amazing woman his mother was and just how much he meant to her. He deserves to grow up in a household where his mother's memory will be carried on. Julian deserves this! Lisa and her family deserve this! Please help to take a stand against Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Family. Until an adoption happens in December 2019 Julian remains in DCYF custody and they have the power to make this change, to make things right for Rachael, Julian and Lisa. Please sign this petition and help take a stand for the victims!
TRUE JUSTICE FOR MY FOUR DAUGHTERS❤️❤️❤️❤️
There is so many family’s including myself that has been torn from their children and because of how certain workers Or SUPERVISORS feel about you you either get your children back or you don’t it’s just sad once a worker or supervisor don’t like you it’s no longer about the children it’s about hurting you with lies lies and more lies not realizing or caring about the true feelings of the children they hurt these precious children something has to be done Cases Need To be reopened social workers and SUPERVISORS need to be investigated and parents need to be giving a second chance to prove their truth so that they can be REUNITED with their children someone needs to stand with us in this fight for our loved ones or it’s gonna be a repeated cycle of dcyf runaways in search of their family’s as a teen FOR THE LOVE OF MY CHILDREN I will continue to search for someone that is willing to help break the hurtful cycle for the children as well as the parents yes some parents have problems dcyf is suppose to help not destroy and something needs to be done all workers and supervisors are not bad some are actually good all kids return home it’s just how they return home hurt confused raped drained and on to much meds.
U.S. FEDERAL GOVERNMENT: DECLARE A CLIMATE EMERGENCY NOW
The Earth has been around for almost 5 billion years, with us modern humans evolving only about 200,000 years ago. In the 0.004% of our planet's total lifetime that we have been around for, we have managed to rip up around 46% of the trees worldwide in our luscious forests, pollute our majestic oceans and the almost-extinct coral reefs, and drive countless species to extinction. In fact, before the evolution of humans, less than 1 species per million went extinct annually; today, a devastating rate of 100-1,000 species per million are lost every year. We are destroying our planet faster than we can process the changes. These deaths are directly linked to habitat destruction by the hands of humans and climate change. According to the International Panel on Climate Change, "To keep the rise in global temperatures below 1.5C this century, emissions of carbon dioxide would have to be cut by 45% by 2030." Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, founder of the Potsdam Climate Institute, states that the climate may become irreparable if we don't reduce carbon dioxide emmisions in the next 18 months. We must act now, if we have any hope of preserving this planet for future generations to come. Our climate is in a crisis. The U.S. federal government, one of the largest and most influential democratic governments in the world, must declare a climate crisis IMMEDIATELY. Chief executive of the World Wildlife Fund, Tanya Steele puts it clearly: "We are the first generation to know we are destroying our planet and the last one that can do anything about it." Sign this petition to stand alongside us, and our planet. We are the ones who must save our Earth. The time is now! Cover photo by NASA
MAKE SEXUAL CONTACT BETWEEN POLICE AND THEIR DETAINEE ILLEGAL
In 31 states, there is no law that explicitly defined any sexual contact between a detainee and officer as non-consensual. This means #police have explicit permission to have intercourse with people in custody. Our governor here in #NewYork @nygovcuomo changed this law last year, and I hope other states follow his lead to pass a bill that is “common-sense reform,” closing an “egregious loophole.” Laws exist classifying any sex as non-consensual if one participant is on-duty in a position of power (such as a corrections officer or social worker). But in many states, the laws do not include “police officers” or “detainees.” #LOOPHOLE Out of 158 law enforcement officers charged since with “sexual assault, sexual battery, or unlawful sexual contact with a detainee,” at least 26 have been acquitted or had charges dropped based on the CONSENT defense. The two detectives who raped Anna Chambers in Brooklyn two years ago after detaining her for no reason, received NO jail time. When reforming the police system, we have to address this issue too. Here’s a list of the states that allow “consensual” sex between an officer and detainee. MINNESOTA PENNSYLVANIAVIRGINIAVERMONTMARYLANDDCCOLORADOMONTANAIDAHOTEXASNEVADALOUISIANARHODE ISLANDALABAMAARKANSASNEW MEXICOWYOMINGILLINOISMICHIGANSOUTH CAROLINASOUTH DAKOTANEBRASKAKENTUCKYMISSISSIPPIWEST VIRGINIAMAINEDELAWARETENNESSEE NEW HAMPSHIREWISCONSIN MISSOURI If you live in any of these states, please petition your local governor to pass legislation to make this ILLEGAL.