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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Detaining immigrant kids is now a billion-dollar industry

Here is the latest status update on the extent of immigrant children detention. It's sickening to say, but this is BIG business for the immigrant-detention-industrial complex, with large sums going to Southwest Key and Baptist Child & Family Services.

Friends, we as taxpayers with our taxpayer dollar are paying for this institutionalized cruelty with predictably troubling lifelong effects to children to the tune of more than $1 billion, annually.  Why go this route when there are humane alternatives, as presented by Sonia Nazario?

This is racist, fascist policy.  We would never contemplate such action toward Canadian parents and children if for some reason they had to make their way en masse across the U.S.-Canadian border.

Let's stop this madness.

-Angela Valenzuela

#FamiliesBelongTogether
#familiestornapart 
#AbolishICE



Detaining immigrant kids is now a billion-dollar industry




By MARTHA MENDOZA AND LARRY FENN | AP News

Jul. 13, 2018


SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Detaining immigrant children has morphed into a surging industry in the U.S. that now reaps $1 billion annually — a tenfold increase over the past decade, an Associated Press analysis finds.
Health and Human Services grants for shelters, foster care and other child welfare services for detained unaccompanied and separated children soared from $74.5 million in 2007 to $958 million in 2017. The agency is also reviewing a new round of proposals amid a growing effort by the White House to keep immigrant children in government custody.
Currently, more than 11,800 children, from a few months old to 17, are housed in nearly 90 facilities in 15 states — Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
They are being held while their parents await immigration proceedings or, if the children arrived unaccompanied, are reviewed for possible asylum themselves.
In May, the agency issued requests for bids for five projects that could total more than $500 million for beds, foster and therapeutic care, and “secure care,” which means employing guards. More contracts are expected to come up for bids in October.
HHS spokesman Kenneth Wolfe said the agency will award bids “based on the number of beds needed to provide appropriate care for minors in the program.”
The agency’s current facilities include locations for what the Trump administration calls “tender age” children, typically under 5. Three shelters in Texas have been designated for toddlers and infants. Others — including in tents in Tornillo, Texas, and a tent-and-building temporary shelter in Homestead, Florida — are housing older teens.
Over the past decade, by far the largest recipients of taxpayer money have been Southwest Key and Baptist Child & Family Services, AP’s analysis shows. From 2008 to date, Southwest Key has received $1.39 billion in grant funding to operate shelters; Baptist Child & Family Services has received $942 million.
A Texas-based organization called International Educational Services also was a big recipient, landing more than $72 million in the last fiscal year before folding amid a series of complaints about the conditions in its shelters.
The recipients of the money run the gamut from nonprofits, religious organizations and for-profit entities. The organizations originally concentrated on housing and detaining at-risk youth, but shifted their focus to immigrants when tens of thousands of Central American children started arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border in recent years.
They are essentially government contractors for the Health and Human Services Department — the federal agency that administers the program keeping immigrant children in custody. Organizations like Southwest Key insist that the children are well cared for and that the vast sums of money they receive are necessary to house, transport, educate and provide medical care for thousands of children while complying with government regulations and court orders.
The recent uproar surrounding separated families at the border has placed the locations at the center of the controversy. A former Wal-Mart in Texas is now a Southwest Key facility that’s believed to be the biggest child immigrant facility in the country, and First Lady Melania Trump visited another Southwest Key location in Phoenix.
Advocates on both sides of the aisle criticize the growing number of kids housed in government shelters, but they have different reasons — and they blame each other.
“You can’t put a child in a prison. You cannot. It’s immoral,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a New York Democrat who has been visiting shelters.
Gillibrand said the shelters will continue to expand because no system is in place to reunite families separated at the border. “These are real concerns that the administration has not thought through at all,” she said.
But President Donald Trump says cracking down on immigration ultimately can lead to spending less money and having fewer immigrants in government custody.
“Illegal immigration costs our country hundreds of billions of dollars,” he said at a recent rally. “So imagine if we could spend that money to help bring opportunity to our inner cities and our rural communities and our roads and our highways and our schools.”
In April, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a “zero tolerance policy” directing authorities to arrest, jail and prosecute anyone illegally crossing the border, including people seeking asylum and without previous offenses. As a result, more than 2,300 children were turned over to HHS.
In a recently released report, the State Department decried the general principle of holding children in shelters, saying it makes them inherently vulnerable.
“Removal of a child from the family should only be considered as a temporary, last resort,” the report said. “Studies have found that both private and government-run residential institutions for children, or places such as orphanages and psychiatric wards that do not offer a family-based setting, cannot replicate the emotional companionship and attention found in family environments that are prerequisites to healthy cognitive development.”
Some in the Trump administration describe the new policy as a “deterrent” to future would-be immigrants and asylum-seekers fleeing violence and abject poverty in Central America, Mexico and beyond.
But Steven Wagner, acting assistant secretary for the Administration for Children and Families — an HHS division — said the policy has exposed broader issues over how the government can manage such a vast system.
“It was never intended to be a foster care system with more than 10,000 children in custody at an immediate cost to the federal taxpayer of over $1 billion dollars per year,” Wagner said in a statement.
The longer a child is in government custody, the potential for emotional and physical damage grows, said Dr. Colleen Kraft, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
“The foundational relationship between a parent and child is what sets the stage for that child’s brain development, for their learning, for their child health, for their adult health,” Kraft said.
“And you could have the nicest facility with the nicest equipment and toys and games, but if you don’t have that parent, if you don’t have that caring adult that can buffer the stress that these kids feel, then you’re taking away the basic science of what we know helps pediatrics.”
A judge in California has ordered authorities to reunite separated families within 30 days — and the government has completed more than 50 of the reunions of children under 5 by Thursday.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Eugene Robinson of WaPo: “The Trump administration kidnapped children. Someone should go to jail.”

Eugene Robinson got this right.  It's an "ongoing criminal conspiracy."  

-Angela 

#familiestornapart, #FamiliesBelongTogether, Trump immigration plan, #KidnappingAtTheBorder #AbolishIce #Fascism

 
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Washington Post syndicated columnist Eugene Robinson has authored a scathing condemnation of the Trump administration. He opens with this:
The Trump administration’s kidnapping — that’s the proper word — of the children of would-be migrants should be seen as an ongoing criminal conspiracy. Somebody ought to go to jail.
Under a federal court order, all 103 children under the age of 5 who were taken from their families at the border were supposed to be returned by Tuesday. The government missed that deadline, and I wish U.S. District Judge Dana M. Sabraw, who issued the order, had held somebody in contempt. One candidate would be Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, who on Tuesday had the gall to describe the administration’s treatment of immigrant children as “one of the great acts of American generosity and charity.”
Robinson continues:
Given that the intention from the beginning was clearly to frighten and intimidate would-be migrants from Central America, why should anyone believe that the administration is acting or speaking in good faith now? Why should we accept at face value that exactly 103 children under 5 were seized? How can we be sure there is only one case in which officials can’t find or identify the parents? Given that it has taken weeks to return just 57 children, what is the likelihood the government kept adequate records?
This is an administration, after all, that conducts immigration court proceedings, or travesties, in which children too young to know their ABCs are expected to represent themselves without the benefit of legal counsel. Imagine your 3-year-old child or grandchild in that situation. Now tell me how adopting child abuse as a policy is supposed to Make America Great Again.
And what about the children older than 5 who were taken from their families? Sabraw ordered that they be returned to their parents by July 26, but don’t hold your breath. We don’t even know how many there are, because the government doesn’t seem to know. Officials first gave the number as about 2,300, but the latest estimate is nearly 3,000. Why can’t they settle on a precise figure? What reason could there be for such vagueness, other than ignorance?
Kidnapping children. Failing even to account for them. Sending families home to be killed. Give us your huddled masses, this administration seems to say, and let us kick them in their little faces.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
Ripping families apart without a plan to reunite them and then, when reuniting only a fraction of them while under court order, taking credit for ‘generosity and charity?’ Puleeze. Azar, along with Trump, Miller, Sessions, and Nielsen, will go down in history as the culprits of the cruel separation of families. They should be in the dock answering questions before Congress, but the Republicans in charge evidently are more interested in attacking the FBI for investigating a Russian attack on our democracy than in demanding accountability for this morally reprehensible scandal. May the courts, the pressure from the public and a change in Congress this November compel changes in policy so that families seeking safety are kept together, given the chance to have their day in court, and given the freedom to do so without being separated or jailed.

President Trump Talks Baby Blimp, Criticizes British PM In New Interview...



Trump insults Theresa May during his state visit where he also praises adversarial dictators and he wonders why people don't like him, including by saying that Boris Johnson would be a great prime minister.  No wonder he has an 11% approval rating in the United Kingdom and that the people are marching right now.  It's also embarrassing for him to say that he polls higher than Abraham Lincoln when polling didn't even exist back then!

Angela

Trump Baby Blimp Organizer: Moral Outrage Doesn’t Work On Trump | The Be...







The Trump baby blimp is flying above Trafalgar Square in London at a march attended by thousands of people.  Check out this interview for the president who is a poster boy for "fragile masculinity." So much for his self-perceived "tough masculinity." My only complaint is that the blimp doesn't exemplify his actual cruelty. 

-Angela
#FreeTheChildren #FamiliesBelongTogether


Thursday, July 12, 2018

PROPOSAL: Let's Form a Texas Children's Legislature by Angela Valenzuela, Ph.D.

I got this idea for a Texas Children's Legislature (TCL) many years ago after learning about the Texas Silver Haired Legislature (TSHL), already with an organized presence in 31 states.  Imagine that?! 

Even though, by definition, the vast majority of TCL participants will not be of voting age, they certainly have a voice and an interest.

At this proposed TCL, children from across the state, from every corner, can convene annually or biennially (our legislature convenes every other year) at our state capitol here in Austin, Texas, and draft legislation, review bill proposals, as well as current laws that do and do not serve their interests, needs, or concerns—and that may even be harmful to them.  And like the TSHL, they could do this in anticipation of the regular sessions of the Texas State Legislature.  And how amazingly powerful an experience this would be for their personal, professional, and intellectual development! 

Establishing this could consist of a collaborative effort involving K-12 student organizations working with the non-profit sector, civil rights organizations, university students and faculty who teach and do research in policy-related fields, and any organization concerned about children's welfare, voice, and civic engagement. 

Maybe the TSHL could lend a helping hand, too.  After all, we need our elders.  

Plus, children can reciprocate by weighing in and supporting a Convention on the Rights of Older Persons.  The TSHL can also support the creation of an independent Commissioner for America’s Children and while they are at it, they can also support the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child that the U.S. still has not signed!

Maybe joint TSHL and TCL statements could get written and delivered.  Proposals in hand, this could even result in eye-catching, press conferences throughout the state wherever TSHL and TCL members can join together to support a progressive, elder- and child-friendly agenda.  Districts could weigh in, too, and regularly send students from all grade levels to participate.  These are just ideas...however, the sky is the limit in terms of what we could envision and co-construct.

Do check out the TSHL website on your own to learn what they're about.

Sí se puede!  Yes we can!

Angela Valenzuela


OPEN LETTER to America from America's Children, by Dr. Ron Harris


Brace yourself. This is gut-wrenching. We all need to read this Open Letter to America and pin it to the top of your Twitter accounts, as well as to our refrigerators as a daily reminder of just how anguished and deprived so many of our children are right now as a result of horrific policies, practices, and neglect.
Thanks to Bruce Lesley @FirstFocus, who also advocates for an independent Commissioner for America’s Children, another piece that he recently penned.

To give children a voice in their democracy and government, we propose that the Congress pass legislation to create an independent Commissioner for America’s Children. The creation of such an office has a proven track recordin nations all across the world, as the role of children’s commissioner has been established in more than 40 countries, among them the UK, Sweden, and New Zealand. The strategy has improved children’s wellbeing and awareness as to the unique issues of importance to children.

Keep up the great work, Bruce!

-Angela Valenzuela



A Letter from America’s Children
By By Ron Harris, NNPA Newswire
Published July 12, 2018
   

Dear U.S. Media, Democrats, Republicans, Independents and to the concerned Americans who poured out into the streets to protest Donald Trump’s cruel and faulty immigration policies,
What about us?
We understand and applaud your response to this administration’s malevolent separation of immigrant families from their children—policies and practices so un-American and shocking that they have come to dominate the national conversation. Your immediate, visceral response to evil spurred you into action.
But there is another evil, a pervasive, chronic and unrelenting wickedness that we, your children, live with every day. We are being shot down on the nation’s streets, locked away in juvenile facilities, poisoned by dangerous drinking water, threatened and harassed by neighborhood gangs, left homeless, either alone from abuse or with parents that cannot afford to put a roof over our heads. We live in neighborhoods bereft of adequate food sources and with fathers and mothers so wrought with financial and psychological instability they can’t provide our needs.
And because our nation has lived with this reality so long, it has become almost accepted. It has become quietly and unconsciously perceived as part of the norm, part of the landscape, like the air we breathe, until little by little it becomes so caustic that it kills us or chokes us into action. Unfortunately for us, your children, you haven’t reached that point.
There are 408,000 of us, American children, who also have been separated from our families and placed in the care of others, like the 2,000 immigrant children who you took to the streets to protect. Many of us languish in foster care with little hope of ever being united with our parents or extended families. As we watched the huge crowds that stretched across 700 U.S. cities Saturday. We saw the signs proudly held high that read, “Family Separations Are Cruel.” And we thought, “Yes, they are.” What about us? Where is our march? Where is our media coverage?

Half of us currently in foster will be homeless within six months after growing too old for the system. We are unprepared to live on our own. We have limited education and no social support. About a quarter of the rest will be homeless within two to four years of leaving the system. Some of us will become part of the 20,000 U.S. children annually forced into prostitution.
Another two million of us this year will separated from our families and placed behind bars and in juvenile custody. Many of us, like Clarice, one of twin 14-year-old sisters in Montgomery County, Md., can’t go home because there is no suitable home to go to. Her parents are homeless, and authorities can’t release her to an unstable home. Other parents are dysfunctional or can’t provide the guidance we need. So, we go behind bars because there are not enough treatment facilities for us.
We want a march, too, one for better schools for all, because you recognize how the hopelessness created by faulty education diminishes lives and leads to incarceration – that 32 percent of white males in juvenile custody dropped out of school, and that nearly half of African-American and Hispanic male youth behind bars also quit.
Media reported how families from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico are fleeing to the U.S. to escape gangs in their countries. Many of us live in gang-infested neighborhoods, too. In cities like St. Louis, Baltimore, New Orleans, Detroit, Cleveland, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Mo., Memphis, Newark and Chicago, the 10 U.S. cities with the highest murder rate, we have long understood their terror. We understand their fear.
In Chicago, a city rife with street gangs and where at least 16 children have been murdered in the first six months of this year, more than 50,000 people demonstrated for the rights of immigrants fleeing gangs in countries few of them have ever visited.
Ironically, they never marched for the children slain this year in a city they traverse every day: Maysia Woodard, 12 mos.; Damarcus Wilson, 16; Deshawn James, 17; Rhomel Wellington, 17; Mateo Nathan Aguayo, 2; Joseph Smith, 16; Jose Agular, 14; Jayton Jones, 17; Erin Carey, 17; She’Vaughn O’Flynn, 12; Jechon Anderson, 11; China Lyons-Upshaw, 17; David Thomas 16; Parris Purdis, 17; Kyle McGowan, 17, and Jazmyn Jester, 15, who was among four people murdered and 13 others shot over 17 hours on a Tuesday and a Wednesday in May.
Where do families like theirs emigrate to escape the violence?
Many of us live in poverty, one of every four children in Arizona, Georgia, California, Kentucky, Texas, Nevada, New Mexico and New York, one in three in the nation’s capital. At least 2.5 million of us will spend some period of life this year homeless; maybe a month, maybe six months or maybe the whole year. Most of us will spend at least one day every month without food.
Look at us. Pivot your cameras and microphones to us, as well. We are your children, and there is real evil that plagues us too.
What about us?
Ron Harris is a journalist, adjunct professor at Howard University and co-author with Matthew Horace of the new book “The Black and The Blue, A Cop Reveals Crimes, Racism and Injustice in America’s Law Enforcement.”

The Trump Cabinet’s War on Children: Sessions Goes Above and Beyond (Part III)

Friends,

First Focus President Bruce Lesley is making cogent, credible arguments of the president's Undeclared War on Children, as previously posted.  I'm happy to provide you with his most recent update—together with links to his earlier writings on the matter.

You don't need a degree to know that children are suffering profoundly because of the president's war against them. All you need is a conscience.

Cry. Get angry. Use your privilege. Educate. Organize. Vote. 

And remember, as Dr. Linda McNeil continualluy says, "The children are watching."

-Angela




The Trump Cabinet’s War on Children: Sessions Goes Above and Beyond (Part III)


In Part I and Part II of this series on the “War on Children,” I highlighted many of the ways that Trump’s Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney have, through their policies and action in the Cabinet, imposed harm on children.
Yet, as bad as those two (and others in the Trump Cabinet, such as former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, who recently resigned) have been to children, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been the worst Cabinet member of all for children in the Trump Administration.
CONTINUE READING HERE.

@First_Focus & @Campaign4Kids @BruceLesley #FamiliesBelongTogether


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Racist Origins of 'Pro-Life' Abortion Movement They Never Talk About, by Wagatwe Wanjuki, July 10, 2018


Fundamentalist Christians and [the KKK] are pretty close, fighting for God and country. Someday we may all be in the trenches together in the fight against the slaughter of unborn children. — John Burt, 1994 New York Times interview
Reversing Roe v. Wade goes against the will of the people. A recent Quinnipiac poll shows that a clear majority support the Supreme Court ruling ensuring a patient’s access to abortion care. That, of course, won’t stop opponents to the measure from ruling by minority; it’s exactly what the so-called “pro-lifers” want.
Rule by minority has increasingly become the Republican’s modus operandi; gerrymandering, voter suppression, and congressional loopholes show they are not shy about staying in power by any means necessary. Now we’re seeing what’s possible when a man like Donald Trump embraces it as the leader of the power. Trump has not hesitated to embrace white nationalists and give racists power—just look at Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, and Jeff Sessions—which is exactly why it’s prime time for Roe v. Wade to come up on the chopping block.
It’s no coincidence that the biggest national threat to abortion rights since Roe is happening under such a racist government. Have you ever wondered why the “pro-life” movement is so … white? Or perhaps you’ve noticed that they seem incapable of not being racist whenever they pretend to care about Black people to further their extreme agenda.
You’re not alone. It turns out that the pro-life movement has been very good about hiding its racist origins. That’s not just because white people tend to be uncomfortable and avoidant when talking about race. It’s because it also exposes the true goal of the movement, which makes their initially confusing hypocrisy incredibly clear.

Abortion restrictions have always been political—and about race

Abortion provider  Ann Lohman (a.k.a. Madame Restell) based on a photograph, 1888. From Recollections of a New York City Chief of Police by George W. Walling.
Madame Restell, née Ann Lohman
During much of the 19th century, abortion was unregulated and business was booming. The industry was doing so well that one famous provider, Madame Restell, invested in one of New York City’s first luxury apartment buildings with her husband. The white, middle-class women who could afford abortions were having more control of their bodies and thus having fewer children. This was all happening while the United States was also getting more Catholic and Jewish immigrants.
The fears of white women increasingly turning away from doing their “duty” to bear children coupled with xenophobia compelled powerful white men to spring into action. Under the guise of wanting to require a medical license to perform abortions, the American Medical Association (AMA) ran a successful campaign to ban abortion care and put the decision to make exceptions completely in their hands. How did they succeed? They appealed to the racist little hearts of Anglo-Saxon politicians.
Back then, “pro-life” racism wasn’t as subtle. The authors of “Abortion, Race, and Gender in Nineteenth-Century America” in the American Sociological Review wrote that “physicians argued that middle-class, Anglo-Saxon married women were those obtaining abortions, and that their use of abortion to curtail childbearing threatened the Anglo-Saxon race.” Take this excerpt from a book by Dr. Augustus K. Gardner from 1870, for example:
Infanticide is no new crime. Savages have existed in all times, and abortions and destruction of children at and subsequent to birth have been practiced among all barbarous nations of antiquity … The savages of past ages were not better than the women who commit such infamous murders to-day, to avoid the cares, the expense or the duty of nursing and tending a child.
Here we see how framing abortion as murder came from racist propaganda. Dr. Gardner talked about barbaric peoples—Indians, Greeks, and Chinese, for example—that supposedly partook in infanticide. He uses this in an attempt to shame women from seeking abortions, calling them no better than these “savages.” Political anti-abortion rhetoric began with this message: abortion is for other people. Non-white people.
Yet even back then, there was no consensus among conservatives or Christians about abortion’s morality. However, the disproportionate amount of power that rich white men had in the country—as doctors and politicians—allowed this minority to execute its will on the people (sound familiar?).

The truth about conservative hate of Margaret Sanger—and contraception

Margaret Sanger. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2016879604/
Margaret Sanger
While the 19th century racists succeeded in getting a nationwide abortion ban, that pesky desire from women for autonomy kept rearing its head. It’s almost as if you keep oppressing people, they will eventually want more rights—no matter how hard you try!
No wonder they hated Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood. She published a feminist magazine in 1914  that advocated for reproductive freedom—exactly what racist white men didn’t want embraced by women. The smears and attacks against her continue today as conservatives try to paint her as the racist. The truth is that she was a proponent of eugenics, but was staunchly against its use for racist means. At the Jewish Woman’s Archive, Open Society Institute fellow Ellen Chasler explains:
She distinguished between individual applications of eugenic principles and cultural ones and spoke out against immigration prohibitions that promoted ethnic or racial stereotypes with a biological rationale. She saw birth control as an instrument of social justice, not of social control.”
In fact, Sanger worked with activists of color like W.E.B. Du Boisand Japanese feminist Shizue Kato—people conservatives today would undoubtedly disparage. Dr. Martin Luther King even once said, “There is a striking kinship between our [civil rights] movement and Margaret Sanger’s early efforts in “Family Planning—A Special and Urgent Concern.”
While there’s no excuse for Sanger’s support of the eugenics movement, it does show that the fact was distorted by a white racist movement that undoubtedly has people who would agree with her eugenic statements today.
Even in Sanger’s time, white supremacists still couldn’t agree on whether to support birth control or not. Some saw it as a possible means to keep “undesirables” from reproducing, while other had fears that Anglo-Saxon white women would embrace it too much and significantly lower their birth rate.

Tools of white supremacy: from school segregation to abortion

Abortion became a political tool of racist white evangelicals as a response to the Black civil rights movement of the 1960’s. Displeased with forced school integration and other signs of Black people being treated like human beings, the founders of the modern anti-choice movement sought to find an issue to mobilize the conservative base. With enough grassroots support, white evangelical leaders could get people who’d Make America Explicitly Racist again in power and protect its white people as they saw fit. 
Washington, UNITED STATES:  Reverend Dr. Jerry Falwell, founder and chancellor of Liberty University, speaks during a Christians United For Israel(CUFI) news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, 19 July 2006. CUFI is a new association of 3,000 Christians urging Congress and the public to strengthen defense of Israel.            AFP PHOTO/Jim WATSON  (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Jerry Falwell speaks at a Christians United For Israel news conference.
One of these leaders is preacher Jerry Falwell, the founder of Liberty University: he hated Dr. King and all this civil rights expansion. In response to Brown v. Board of Education, he created private, white-only Christian schools to try and preserve segregation. It worked for a while, but the government started cracking down on the schools explicitly made just for white children.
In hopes of reversing this wave, evangelicals had thrown their weight behind President Jimmy Carter, a Democrat and fellow evangelical Christian, for the 1976 election. Unfortunately for Falwell and friends, Carter wasn’t also a racist. Under Carter’s watch, the crackdown on white schools continued.
Activist Paul Weyrich had long suggested using abortion as their political issue. Now that school segregation had failed, leaders like Falwell and Focus on the Family’s Dr. James Dobson agreed to join forces to usher in a new era in white supremacist political activism: the pro-life movement.
While Roe v. Wade was already years old, they tested using the “pro-life” political stance as a way to get candidates who’d do their racist bidding in office during the midterm elections—and it worked. They won three Senate seats and a governorship thanks, in part, to low turnout from Democrats and high energy from the white evangelicals. They found a winning issue and took it to the national stage next.

How racism brought Republicans and white evangelicals together

3/15/1983 President Reagan Meeting with Jerry Falwell in Oval Office
President Reagan and Jerry Falwell in the Oval Office.
Evangelical leaders tried to influence Carter to seek a constitutional amendment to overturn Roe v. Wade. He refused, so they looked to the other party. The Republican Party’s sexism dovetailed nicely with racist anti-abortion policies and support for such an amendment was made a part of the party’s platform. And thus, the GOP officially adopted the language proposed by the power-hungry white evangelicals and officially became the “pro-life” party with candidate Ronald Reagan as the leader.
Reagan was a good bet. He had name recognition with his acting career before entering politics. And, like Falwell and friends, Reagan lamented the advancement of the civil rights for Black people. Reagan had no problem catering to racists, pushing the “welfare queen” myth and calling the Voting Rights Act “humiliating to the South.” Oh, and he was endorsed by the KKK—twice.
At first glance, Reagan seemed to be the least likely ally for the anti-choice movement. When he was California’s governor, he signed the country’s least restrictive abortion access bill in the country. Carter had a documented history of being anti-abortion, both in his personal and political life. However, it’s Carter’s refusal to bend to the political will of the powerful white evangelical men that was seen as the biggest liability.
Reagan’s landslide win solidified the religious right’s political strength. Falwell, Dobson, and Weyrich had succeeded in making their racist political goals viable enough to get millions to vote for their preferred candidate who’d get rid of abortion and keep the brown and Black people from taking over. Since then, the political power of white evangelicals in the United States has only gotten stronger.

Today’s political mess in perspective

There’s a reason why the pro-life advocates and #alllivesmatter crowd has been silent at best about the mistreatment of children at the border at the hands of the administration. They’re not the members of a human rights movement; it’s just what they say to convince clueless white people. The pro-life movement is white nationalist campaign that will use any messaging or backward logic necessary to achieve their genocidal goals.
This puts white evangelicals’ nearly unwavering support of Trump into perspective. They put up with his very un-Christian behavior because he’s a very effective vessel for their racist political goals. It is increasingly clear that the goal of the pro-life leaders is to dominate our politics; they don’t want true democracy. Instead, a few white men want to exploit the system as much as possible until they can once again live in a country where women don’t control their bodies, immigration doesn’t happen, and people of color are not truly citizens.