Readers comments 1.19.13
No place for violence
This weekend we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who was killed 44 years ago by an assassin’s bullet, but whose legacy lives on in his words and actions. Now more than ever, Dr. King’s message of nonviolence is a powerful one that still resonates today.
The past year brought many challenges to our community. Violence is a part of everyday life for so many young people. But after a recent spike in violence in our neighborhoods, people have organized to say “enough is enough.”
I want to add my voice to the rising chorus of mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, clergy and politicians who say let us work together to stop the violence—now.
As the father of 5 young adults, I know firsthand the fears and worries when my kids are out. When I read that it’s safer to send our young men to the battlefields of Iraq than the streets of Los Angeles, I think back to the words of Dr. King, who said:
“It is no longer a choice, my friends, between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or nonexistence.”
Dr. King believed in empowering all people and challenged them to help their neighbors and communities do better. We must find new ways to combat the violence in our communities or we will lose more of our children. We must promote love of our fellow man. We must make sure our public schools educate every child, and that our businesses provide opportunities for young people.
Let’s use this day to keep the dream alive. Let us put Dr. King’s words into practice by promoting peace and nonviolence in our homes and in our communities.
Assemblymember, 41st district
Chris Oakley’s snake encounter
In 1987, on the front lawn of the Rambagh Palace Hotel in Jaipur, there was a snake charmer with a cobra doing his act. He put another cobra around my husband’s neck.
For years after, whenever Bill saw that picture, he would ask himself what he was thinking to allow that. India casts a magical spell.
Symposium to address raising functional adults with disabilities
In the multi-media chaos that has emerged from the tragic shooting in the small community of Newtown, Connecticut, I read and watched the outpouring of understanding and misunderstanding that confronts us periodically when faced with an extreme result of unrecognized or untreated dysfunction.
Children are not born mentally ill. They are born with a single brain and central nervous system that is unique to that individual, and they each have to learn to control and develop their own self as much as possible. If the child has difficulty, or a glitch in the system, it may be no one’s “fault,” but it does become everyone’s responsibility.
Parents need to have access to information and be empowered to advocate for appropriate services for their young adult as they can for younger children. Mental health must be as available as physical health and not just in crisis. The therapists who work with these young people need to be educated in the brain functions and dysfunctions that can be making their young client think and behave differently than an adult who has already become mentally ill.
Naming and blaming do not prevent and will not correct the breakdowns that occur when we deny or dismiss the pain of young people who feel unseen or abandoned. Love is not enough. Services alone are not enough. Money is not the answer. Not even controlling guns or arming security guards will make us safe. Only attitude and understanding are critical.
Parents must have help to deal with their child’s brain disabilities as compassionately as they are guided through their child’s cancer.
Our Learning Disabilities Association, along with thousands of similar support groups and research organizations throughout the world, must continue to work with the parents and the kids on these problems.
A symposium will be held on February 1 and 2, and will include experts from several disciplines that will focus on “Raising Functional Adults.”
Dr. William Walsh from Illinois researched school violence specifically and is a major contributor to our search for understanding. His bio-chemical information, along with other speakers who will share their knowledge of sensory processing, mind/body awareness, teaching, parenting and much more, will each bring their pieces of the puzzle along with the books they have written.
Together we will listen and learn and add our speaker’s new books to our library, then take that more complete understanding back to our families and communities in the hopes that what will emerge will be a more positive and nurturing picture than the ones in the news today.
We hope many of you will join us at the symposium, and later attend our monthly meetings in Rancho Cucamonga, Central Park the third Thursday of each month from 6:30 to 9 p.m. to learn more about how we can support families and the professionals who serve them to help our children meet the challenge of growing up to become stable, functional adults.
President of the Learning Disabilities
Association of California, a nonprofit organization based in Claremont.