I would never, never Name a child a KILLER!
In 2004, Cyntoia Brown was arrested for murder. There was no question that a 43-year-old man is dead and that she killed him. What mystified filmmaker Daniel Birman was just how common violence among youth is, and just how rarely we stop to question our assumptions about it. He wondered in this case what led a girl — who grew up in a reasonable home environment — to this tragic end?Me Facing Life: Cyntoia’s Story explores Cyntoia’s history and her future. Without attempting to excuse her crime as youthful indiscretion nor to vilify her as an example of a generation gone off the rails, Birman simply follows Cyntoia through six years of her life after the crime, and searches for answers to persistent questions.The camera first glimpses Cyntoia the week of her arrest at age 16 and follows her for nearly six years. Along the way, nationally renowned juvenile forensic psychiatrist, Dr. William Bernet from Vanderbilt University, assesses her situation. We meet Ellenette Brown, Cyntoia’s adoptive mother who talks about the young girl’s early years. Georgina Mitchell, Cyntoia’s biological mother, meets her for the first time since she gave her up for adoption 14 years earlier. When we meet Cyntoia’s maternal grandmother, Joan Warren, some patterns begin to come into sharp focus.Cyntoia wrestles with her fate. She is stunningly articulate, and spends the time to put the pieces of this puzzle together with us. Cyntoia’s pre-prison lifestyle was nearly indistinguishable from her mother’s at the same age. History — seemingly predestined by biology and circumstance — repeats itself through each generation in this family.Cyntoia is tried as an adult, and the cameras are there when she is convicted and sentenced to life at the Tennessee Prison for Women. After the verdict, Cyntoia calls her mom to tell her the news.In the end, we catch up with Cyntoia as she is adjusting to prison, and struggling with her identity and hope for her future.
- The 16-Year-Old Killer: Cyntoia’s Story (patrickclarkeblog.wordpress.com)
- HERE IS A BRAND NEW PETITION FOR CYNTIOA BROWN! PLEASE, sign THIS NEW PETITION! (inprisonedwomen.wordpress.com)
- It´s in the social-media: The plea for Cyntoia Brown! (inprisonedwomen.wordpress.com)
- Petitioning Robert E. Cooper, Jr. Tennessee State Attorney General, Department Of Justice: Give Cyntoia Brown A New Trial (theobamacrat.com)
- “The 16 Year Old Killer” Cyntoia’s Story (full documentary) (theobamacrat.com)
- LIFE SENTENCES FOR JUVENILES … Cyntoia Brown (theobamacrat.com)
- It´s in the social-media: The plea for Cyntoia Brown! (childreninprison.wordpress.com)
- Another Child in Desperation: Life Sentence: Cyntoia Brown: PETITION (inprisonedwomen.wordpress.com)
- Another Child in Desperation: Life Sentence: Cyntoia Brown: PETITION (childreninprison.wordpress.com)
May 24, 2013
12-Year-Old Girl Hangs Herself After Being Cyberbullied By Classmates
See on Scoop.it – up2-21
Gabrielle Molina, 12, hanged herself in her Queens, New York home after being viciously cyber-bullied by her middle school classmates, reports the New York Post.
The pre-teen was found hanging by a belt from a ceiling fan, according to police.
See on newsone.com
by Gerry Georgatos
I reblogged this article from (THANK YOU):
February 27th, 2013
Photo – Brian Cassey
2012’s total spend on Aboriginal communities reached $25 billion yet Australia’s Aboriginal youth suicide rates remain high – cruelly disproportionate to the rest of the Australian population.
This horror is played out the world over for Indigenous peoples but Australia’s Aboriginal peoples are at the top of this tragic list.
In 2011 the United Nations State of Indigenous Peoples report found that the World’s Indigenous peoples made up one-third of the world’s poorest peoples.
Some of the reports alarming statistics include, “In the United States, a Native American is 600 times more likely to contract tuberculosis and 62 per cent more likely to commit suicide than the general population. In Australia, an Indigenous child can expect to die 20 years earlier than his non-native compatriot. The life expectancy gap is also 20 years in Nepal, while in Guatemala it is 13 years and in New Zealand it is 11. In parts of Ecuador, indigenous people have 30 times greater risk of throat cancer than the national average. Suicide rates of indigenous peoples, particularly among youth, are considerably higher in many countries, for example, up to 11 times the national average for the Inuit in Canada.”
The Stringer has visited Aboriginal communities throughout north-western Australia –visiting the towns and communities with the worst suicide rates. The despair is evident throughout these communities.
In the Kimberley region – Western Australia’s tourist mecca, the Aboriginal homelessness rate is sky high – and in some of its towns the suicide rates are up to 100 times the national average.
In the Kimberley last year 40 young Aboriginal people took their lives.
Six of Mowanjum’s people took their lives – Mowanjum’s population is just under 300.
The tragedy is endemic throughout Australia – Last year a Northern Territory Select Committee on Youth Suicides tabled its report into youth suicide and found the obvious; that there are significantly higher rates of Aboriginal suicides when compared to the national average.
Between 2001 and 2006, the Northern Territory suicide rate for those aged 15 to 24 was 3.5 times that in the rest of the nation. The report highlighted the young ages at which Aboriginal youth were committing suicide – and the rise of young Aboriginal women suiciding.
“The suicide rate for Indigenous Territorians is particularly disturbing, with 75 per cent of suicides of children from 2007 to 2011 in the Territory being Aboriginal,” stated the report.
“For too many of our youth there is not enough hope to protect them from the impulse to end their lives.”
The suicide rate doubled for youth between ages 10 and 17 – up from 18.8 per cent to 30.1 per cent per 100,000 – in contrast to non-Aboriginal youth suicides which dropped from 4.1 per cent to 2.6 per cent.
The report highlighted the underlying causes to Aboriginal youth suicide as mental illness, substance abuses and sexual abuse trauma but failed to highlight acute poverty and a suite of rights denied to this day to Aboriginal peoples in many of these troubled communities – What is missing in many of these communities are the pathways and access to opportunities and to the benefits of education and hard work which the rest of Australia does have access to. These communities continue to be neglected by State and Federal Government jurisdictions and their agencies – services and layers of community infrastructure have not been grafted into these communities and instead they are dilapidated third-world environments.
The report found the rate of suicide among Aboriginal girls had increased- with girls now up to 40 per cent of suicides of children under 17.
Well known educationalist and researcher, Kabi Kabi Elder and Central Queensland University Bundaberg campus coordinator Cheri Yavu-Kama-Harathunian said she is devastated by the rising disenfranchisement of Aboriginal youth, and the world’s highest suicide rate – of Australia’s Aboriginal children.
“Across my desk came a study that reported ‘the number of completed Indigenous suicides (in the Kimberley) last year exceeded the Australian Defence Force fatalities in Afghanistan.’ I cannot comprehend this statement. It is too much,” said Mrs Yavu-Kamu-Harathunian.
Mrs Yavu-Kamu-Harathunian has a Bachelors in Applied Sciences, Indigenous and Community Health, with a major in mental health and counselling, and a Masters in Criminal Justice.
She asks what motivates our young people to disconnect from themselves and what motivates “our brothers and sisters to disconnect from themselves and then move into that helpless hope of perhaps finding themselves in their sleep of death.”
Western Australian Aboriginal communities, challenged only by communities in the Northern Territory and Queensland, have the highest suicide rates not only in the nation but in the world. Mowanjum and Derby have the highest Aboriginal youth suicide rates in Australia.
Mowanjum Council chairman, Gary Umbagai despairs at the rising death toll. “There is something dreadfully wrong in our community but what can we do?”
In Mowanjum alone, in January a 20 year old took his life while inebriated, and in March a 44 year old retrenched Aboriginal mine worker hung himself. Weeks later a young girl was found in the bush having taken her life.
In the Kimberley during those 12 months there had been 25 suicides, 21 in and around Derby and Mowanjum. More than the Australian Defence Forces fatalities in Afghanistan during the same period.
Mrs Yavu-Kamu-Harathunian said, “All around this community (Mowanjum) there is so much progress, production, affluence. What is this progress, this production, this affluence stealing from our people?”
“To read about this painful crisis, to recognise the layers of disconnection, the internal anguish, community sorrow, pain, trauma, suffering is like a microcosm of the inherent legacy of pain, torment, and suffering that our people are immersed in.”
“This is a culturally collective crisis, and it impacts upon all of us who say we are First Nations peoples. To think that his tiny little community possibly has the highest rates of suicide not just in Australia but in the world is insanity,” she said.
“I remember a beautiful strong Aboriginal woman from up Bardi Country way, Wendy, I respectfully do not use her surname here, mid 1990s, who developed for the first time in my lifetime, a great understanding of alcohol and its use and abuse amongst our people.”
“I remember her words of warning then, that because of the use of alcohol amongst our people, alcohol users would begin using at a younger and younger age. Her gravest concern way back then was about the rise in suicide,” said Mrs Yavu-Kama-Harathunian.
“We are now picking up the pieces of our loved ones.”
“How many suicides, how many more deaths will it take to open our eyes, and open our ears to the silent screaming that is coming from the hearts, and souls of those who are gone, and of those who grieve and keep screaming ‘Help…’”
In NSW, with Australia’s largest Indigenous population, the youth suicide rate is one in 100,000. In the Northern Territory, the rate is 30 deaths in 100,000. In the Kimberley, with an Indigenous population at 15,000, the rate is at a rate of 1 death in 1,200, over 80 per 100,000.
Stephen Nulgitt is from the community of Mowanjum. He works with Mowanjum’s youth to deliver pride in their cultural identity despite the neglects of mainstream Australia towards them. Mr Nulgitt’s younger brother was one of those six who took their lives last year.
“He was a happy little boy. A beautiful smile.”
That night after another brother’s birthday party Darren was found hanging from a tree.
Such is the despair in Mowanjum that no-one can see who is suffering, who is next to die.
“When you hold a lot of things inside, and you hold things in and you don’t talk to anyone, it just builds up into depression and anger,” said Mr Nulgitt.
The tree Darren hung himself from was cut down.
“My uncle came with a chainsaw and just took it away, because it kept affecting my mother.”
The tragedies are not limited to the victims of suicides – for every suicide there many more suicide attempts and self-harms. In 2011 In nearby Derby there were more than 60 Aboriginal people from the town and nearby communities such as Mowanjum who were admitted into Derby Hospital after trying to hang themselves, who self-harmed and as a result of substance abuses.
Mowanjum’s Community Director Eddie Bear said every loss is felt right throughout the community. “Everybody feels hurt, we all go through it.”
He worries so much about Mowanjum’s youth that when his young grandson goes bush he’ll follow him.
“When he takes off into the scrub, I will follow him and have a talk with him, sit with him there and talk.”
“You got to live life. You are only a young bloke.”
Mowanjum and Derby are typical of many remote communities where many children are not in school – what they see around them is dejection and despair; joblessness and aimlessness among their young adults gives them little incentive to believe in a school education. What they see depicted on television about the affluent communities and cities around Australia is not what they see in their communities.
“Poverty is a big issue.”
Mr Bear often sees the communities youth out of school, including his grandson Angelo.
“I tell Angelo, come here, why are you not in school?”
Mowanjum Community CEO Steve Austin said more needs to be done by the Government.
“Family structures are breaking down and the government agencies are not here to help them.”
“We are doing what we can to employ our people.”
Government support is needed – but that support must include the full suite of funding that would rise communities out of third-word conditions. They do not need piecemeal funding or a Northern Territory Intervention – they certainly do not want Nanny State conditions.
Despite the deaths there is no effective suicide prevention strategy being funded and administered in the Kimberley. Mr Austin said that the West Australian Government last year spent $150 million on the Derby prison – an ‘Aboriginal prison’ – while applications by the organisation for a Youth Coordinator to work with Aboriginal youth have been rejected.
“We get no help,” said Mr Austin.
“It is as if the bureaucrats do not have any idea what we are up against. I wrote to Jenny Macklin (Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs) when we lost the CDEP (Commonwealth Development Employment Program) and we did not even get an acknowledgment letter.”
According to Mr Austin the CDEP cuts were followed by a spike in suicides. Aboriginal people employed fell from 140 to 30. A direct appeal to Mrs Macklin to have the funds restored “fell on deaf ears.”
Coordinator of the Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre (KALACC), Wes Morris, said there had been two key Coronial investigations into suicide, with one in 2008 after 22 deaths at Balgo and the other inquiry in 2011.
Photo – Gerry Georgatos
Balgo endured a youth suicide rate 89 times the State average.
The 2011 Coronial inquest into the string of deaths in Balgo heard that 43 per cent of children in the town missed school during 2010.
Solvent abuse and alcohol abuse were found as contributing stressors and factors and linked to domestic, sexual and public violence. Treatment centres for solvent abuse did not exist in some of these communities. Alcohol bans have been suggested as solutions.
Since 1979, more than 100 Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory have banned or restricted the consumption and proliferation of alcohol in their communities. Despite the alcohol dry communities most of them still continue impoverished and without adequate local job prospects and with low expectation values.
State Coroner Alastair Hope ripped into government agencies and the lack of provisions to disadvantaged communities.
260 School Children Killed in Chicago in 3 Years — Where Are the Tears for Them?
Like President Obama and many others across the country, I too wiped away tears as I watched the horrifying news coverage of the tragic shootings in Newton, Conn. I immediately called my children who were still in school. I sat watching the television trying to fathom how I would respond if I got a call that a shooting had occurred at my children’s school. This brought on more tears. But for the parents of 20 children and six other families in Newton, it wasn’t an exercise; it was an excruciating reality.
I then watched and listened to our President, and like parents around the world, the shooting had affected him emotionally as well. Twenty children gunned down. He struggled to hold back tears.
It was then that my phone buzzed. I quickly grabbed it to see if it was one of my children calling back. But it wasn’t. It was a colleague in Chicago. I had emailed her the day before asking for research into one of the mentoring programs in the city’s schools for youth with the highest risk of being shot.
She provided me with the information I was seeking. Then she included a P.S.: “What a devastating horrible day in CT. But frankly I wish people cared this much when it was children on the south and west sides of Chicago.”
I was snapped back into reality with the email. The tragedy in Newtown was truly horrific. But there is similar carnage carried out every day in the streets of America’s cities, especially in the President’s hometown of Chicago, where I work in Oakland, in Philadelphia, and many other cities across the nation.
In 2010, nearly 700 Chicago school children were shot and 66 of them died. Last year, Mayor Rahm Emanuel attended a memorial for 260 school children who had been killed in just the previous three years. On several occasions in the past year, tens of people have been shot in a single weekend on the streets of the city. The worst three-day stretch saw 10 killed and 37 wounded in gun fire. But Google the term “Chicago weekend shootings” and the results are far too many deadly weekends to count.
Oakland, Calif. has seen a huge increase in shootings. Last year, three small children were murdered in shootings. The youngest victim hadn’t yet turned 2. Oakland has become the first city in the country to have its police force taken over by a federal court. Because of a lack of resources, the city has one of the lowest police to resident ratios in the country.
Gun violence in America is a pandemic, but there is no round-the-clock news coverage. No national address from the President with tears. No pledge for urgent change.
Why? Is it because the children who die on the streets of America’s cities are black and brown? Is it because they are poor? What makes the victims of everyday inner-city gun violence expendable?
Like the horrendous shooting in Newton, easy access to guns and the challenges of mental illness contribute to the violence on America’s streets. Like the calls for change in guns laws that have been heard following this massacre, so too do we need tighter gun control because of the death and destruction that touches the hearts of mourning mothers in American cities every day.
Speaking at a prayer vigil in Newton, Obama said, “Can we honestly say that we’re doing enough to keep our children, all of them, safe from harm? The answer is no, we’re not doing enough. And we’ll have to change.”
Mr. President, this is so very true. But it is not only these one-day mass shootings that cause us to cry out for the need to change, but also the daily gun violence that plagues our cities.
“We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true,” Obama said. “No single law, no set of laws, can eliminate evil or prevent every act, but that can’t be an excuse for inaction. Surely, we can do better than this.”
We can do better in Chicago, in Oakland, in Philadelphia, and in every city in America.
(David Muhammad is the former Chief Probation Officer of Alameda County in California and the former Deputy Commissioner of Probation in New York City. He now consults with philanthropic foundations on juvenile justice issues)