Moms march for a better life for all

March 13, 2011

Demonstrators march along Wilshire Boulevard toward MacArthur in Mothers March, an action that demands a better life for children and families. (Dan Bluemel / LA Activist)

A demonstration was held yesterday in support of the world’s primary caregiver: mothers. Various groups rallied in MacArthur Park demanding an epic shift in priorities by calling for an end to budget cuts, poverty, environmental degradation, discrimination and war.

Starting in front of the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) in Koreatown, demonstrators marched along Wilshire Boulevard into Westlake. Although the marchers were made up of a broad coalition of organizations, with an equally broad scope of issues, the event focused heavily on war and the treatment of children within the DCFS.

“We are angered by the DCFS practice of kidnapping children and detaining them with strangers while family is there willing, ready and able to give love and care,” said Janaci Mitchell, a member of DCFS Give Us Back Our Children, an organization that participated in the march.

According to a statement from DCFS Give Us Back Our Children, Los Angeles has the second highest rate of removing children from their parents in the U.S. next to Philadelphia. The group says black children are more likely to be taken from their homes than non-blacks and tend to stay in foster care longer or never return home at all.

Cindy Sheehan speaks to demonstrators in MacArthur Park, calling for an end to U.S. wars that she says burden America’s ability to care for its citizens. (Dan Bluemel / LA Activist)

Lina Duval, a member of DCFS Give Us Back Our Children, had her 15-month-old son taken away from her in 2009 for alleged neglect. Her son suffers from a neurological disorder that affects his appetite, she explained. The DCFS saw this as willful starvation, said Duval, despite her hiring two neurologists to testify on her behalf in court. Now she is only allowed to see her son four hours a week.

“I’m a mom who is fighting and will continue to fight, because this has to change,” she said.

According to Duval, DCFS was partly prompted to take her child because of her interest in holistic medicine. This issue was echoed by Atlachinolli Tezcacoatl, who nearly had his six-year-old daughter taken from him for his belief in medical alternatives.

Tezcacoatl said his daughter’s dentist called DCFS after he refused the dentist’s recommendation of antibiotics for an infection in his daughter’s mouth. He said he wanted a second opinion and asked about holistic approaches to treatment. The second dentist’s opinion said there was no infection and Tezcacoatl’s daughter has been fine.

According to Tezcacoatl, the DCFS then threatened to take away his two-year-old son for his “failure to protect a sibling.” After his experience with the department, he got involved with  DCFS Give Us Back Our Children.

“That’s why I became involved,” he said. “I was looking for a group that was protecting families.”

While holding a placard and child, a seemingly tireless woman marches toward MacArthur Park. (Dan Bluemel / LA Activist)

The event was held in honor of the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, which is officially acknowledged on March 8. Food was served at the rally in MacArthur Park. After speeches, several musical acts performed for the crowd.

Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan also participated in the march while in southern California for a speaking engagement in Redlands today. In her speech at the rally, Sheehan said U.S. foreign policy has a negative impact upon domestic needs, such as education and health care.

“Who are the people who suffer the most from these wars and from poverty? It’s the women and the children,” she said. “The wealth of this country does not belong in the hands of one percent, it belongs in the hands of 100 percent.”

Sheehan was also joined by other speakers from Military Families Speak Out. Their speeches touched upon sexual abuse in the military and soldiers suffering from PTSD.

“The war doesn’t end when our children come home,” said San Gabriel chapter leader Rossana Cambron. “They need care, they need help, just like any of our other children who have been through any kind of trauma.”

“We need to push to end these wars and bring our soldiers home. So we can all lead a decent life,” she added.

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One Response to Moms march for a better life for all

  1. lea on March 20, 2011 at 6:45 am

    im in Fl and have a 15 month old baby boy and a 5 month old baby girl i went to court to get my son back and they took my daughter from me in th court house parking lot they have lied to me about every thing.Ive done every thing they have asked. They did not have any reason to take her. I passed every UA even the one i took that day.Since they took her on Feb 15 2011 i have called over n over again asking them what is the case plan but they have no case plan cause they are trying to make one up in the process i asked them not to place her in the same home as my son cause he has a disease called C-DIFF it kills babys and eldery its horrible they put her in the same home and now she has got it after the 5th day of being in the home she was born premature she was very healty and had never been sick til placed in this home my children are being put in danger they are the ones who are hurting my kids and i have tried everything i know to do. and i have watch them neglect and ignore my kids and there health and my family has asked for both of them to b placed with them my brother grandmal dad aunts everyone has been denied they will make up any reason why they arent suitable my grandmals to old they say my brothers house was in forclosure my dad had a history over 5 years ago everything i have done and they are not helping with any thing and most of the time they wont answer the phone ive had to go to the office numerous times… MOM VS DCFS if you have any opions or anything that will help me.. is there any local activist in or around panhandle Fl… please help im scared for my children this medical problems are very serious and im supose to be there protector and I need any information i can get to save my babys… im lost in this life with out my babys. LEA

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