Laquan McDonaldChicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced on Sept. 4 that he would not run for a third term, bringing joy and relief to the many organizers who have fought to get him out of office. This news came the day before jury selection began in the trial of Jason Van Dyke.Van Dyke is the Chicago police officer who fatally shot unarmed 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times in 2014. He is now on trial for first-degree murder — one of the first cops in the U.S. to face this charge for killing a Black person while on duty. Hundreds of people gathered outside the Cook County Criminal Courthouse for a rally the morning Van Dyke’s trial opened.Immediately following the shooting of McDonald, protests demanded the release of police dashcam footage. Mayor Emanuel was in the midst of a reelection campaign. It was only after he had secured his reelection in April 2015 that his office released the incriminating footage. In fact, the city paid a $5 million settlement to the McDonald family the week after the election, yet did not release the footage until November 2015. Only then was Van Dyke arrested and charged with murder. Shortly thereafter, community pressure forced Emanuel to fire Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, a prime participant in this racist coverup and so many others.The role that city officials played in covering up McDonald’s murder has shaped the political scene in Chicago ever since. Emanuel and Anita Alvarez, at that time state’s attorney for Cook County, were the main targets of a campaign to oust officials who placed protecting murderous cops over obtaining justice. Led primarily by Black organizations, including Assata’s Daughters, Black Lives Matter Chicago and BYP100, a massive grassroots campaign moved to get Alvarez voted out of office in the March 2016 elections. Activists organized train takeovers and rallies and used the hashtag #ByeAnita on social media to successfully garner support for voting her out, without expressly endorsing any of her competitors. They then turned their focus to Rahm Emanuel.During Emanuel’s seven years in office, he has closed 50 public schools, shut down half of the city’s public mental health clinics and initiated the building of a $95 million police academy. Had he released the damning dashcam footage of Laquan McDonald’s execution before the 2015 election, he likely would have lost to his main challenger, Mexican community activist Jesús “Chuy” García.When the dashcam footage of Jason Van Dyke’s crime was released to the public, it was already clear to many that the mayor had anything but Chicago’s best interests at heart. Today, the struggle is far from over. Emanuel still holds $7 million in campaign funds in a massive war chest, so he will likely continue to influence Chicago politics. But now that he’s been forced to step down and join coverup co-conspirators McCarthy and Alvarez on the political sidelines, justice demands that the actual triggerman get convicted and sentenced. Jail Jason Van Dyke! Jail all killer cops!FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare this
The DHR Division of Public Health provides the funding for the program. The GSU Schoolof Nursing coordinates the training. And the March of Dimes provides technical help.Statewide sponsors include the DHR Family Health Branch, Georgia Chapter of the Marchof Dimes Birth Defects Foundation, Universityof Georgia College of Family andConsumer Sciences, Georgia StateUniversity School ofNursing, GPCCF and The Family Connection. People say kids are getting smarter all the time. A group of state public healthleaders intends to make sure that’s true.Starting in October, key public health agencies, universities and others will begin astatewide training program called “Better Brains for Babies: Maximizing Georgia’sBrain Power.”The planners are banking on the latest research on early brain development. Thefindings show that babies’ first three years of life greatly affect how they function formany years afterwards.”Governor Miller called attention to this research when he distributed classicalmusic CDs to parents of newborn children in Georgia,” said Brian Ziegler, statedirector and national adviser for the March of Dimes Georgia Chapter.”We’re taking the next step,” Ziegler said. “We will train communityleaders so they can pass the information on to parents and anyone who cares for smallchildren. We want everyone to know what babies need to help their brains develop.”The first groups of professionals and advocates will attend trainings in Tifton Oct. 6,Macon Oct. 7 and Athens Oct. 9. Child-care providers, licensing staff, parents, fosterparents and others will have similar training.The “Making Change for Children” Summit in Atlanta Oct. 15-16 will kick offthe statewide program. Community leaders there will meet trainers, learn about theresearch and arrange presentations in their communities.”Babies’ brains develop fast before age three,” said Dr. Kathleen E. Toomey,director of the GeorgiaDepartment of Human Resources Division of Public Health. “Unlike other organs,the brain acquires much of its capacity after birth, by extending and connecting billionsof neurons.”Toomey said it’s vital to “do everything we can to see that infants are stimulatedat this critical age.”The trainings will help policy makers, too, said Dr. William Sexson of the Georgia PolicyCouncil for Children and Families.”In the past, we’ve paid a lot of attention to school-age children,” Sexsonsaid. “But we haven’t addressed children’s needs in their first three years. Now wecan make better decisions to help families prepare their children to meet the social andeducational challenges of our society.”What can parents do? Here are some tips. Get good prenatal care. Pregnant women should eat a healthy diet, avoid alcohol and other drugs and have regular prenatal checkups. Breast milk provides the ideal nutritional balance. If you don’t breast-feed, give your baby an iron-fortified infant formula. And always hold her when you feed her. Create a safe environment. Are your baby’s surroundings clean? Are there dangers such as sharp objects or things that could choke him? Does he always ride in a car safety seat? Talk to your baby. Make eye contact. Smile. Play rhyming games. Read aloud. As she gets older, ask questions and explain things to her. Find quality child care. Look for care-givers who provide a safe environment and enriching new experiences. Play rich, complex music. Sing songs. Let your child try musical instruments. Limit television. Children need to interact with real, live people. Take care of yourself. Stressed parents tend to stress their babies. So take some time for yourself. Find people who can support you as a parent. Get the information you need. Ask your pediatrician. Your child-care provider or librarian can suggest good books on child development. And the county Extension Service office can give you more information on parenting.