#96: Losing Your Mom to Deportation
Hello and welcome to The Highlighter #96! This issue is coming out in the middle of the James Comey testimony. It’s OK: Go ahead and keep watching that — I understand — but be sure to get back to reading today’s edition as soon as you can, because it is a blockbuster of emotion!
If you can spare the time (60 to 90 minutes) to read the first three articles in order, you will come away changed. I thought I knew a thing or two about the impact of deportation, the ills of the opioid epidemic, and the effects of HIV on African Americans. These three pieces quickly showed me that I have a lot more to learn — and to do. If you choose to read them, take them in slowly.
Then, after your gut is punched, you’ll get a photo break, though it might spur even more emotion, and then, finally, a reprieve. Articles about reading and baseball will follow, and you can relax and take a breath. Please enjoy!
Losing Your Mom to Deportation
Imagine walking home from school and finding out that your mother is in jail, arrested by the police, likely to face deportation. This is what happened to 10-year-old Angel Marin and his three sisters, Evelyn, Yesi, and Briza. The day after their mother’s arrest, the children agreed not to tell anyone, choosing to live on their own. Better to fend for themselves than to alert the authorities. The number of children who have lost their parents as a result of deportation is staggering — about 500,000 between 2009 and 2013. (That statistic does not take into consideration the policies of our current president.) With the foster care system and child protective services overwhelmed, many children go unnoticed for long periods of time. Even when Arizona began to offer support for Angel and his sisters, their lives did not improve. With their mother in Mexico, they faced an excruciating decision: Go live with their mother in Mexico or stay in the United States?
This is the article I needed to read to understand the scope and severity of the opioid epidemic in our country. It focuses on Berkeley County, West Virginia, which has the highest rate of overdose in the United States. Margaret Talbot writes, “At this stage of the American opioid epidemic, many addicts are collapsing in public—in gas stations, in restaurant bathrooms, in the aisles of big-box stores.” It is assumed that if your car is parked on the side of the road and you’re inside it, you are experiencing an overdose. Paramedics sometimes visit the same house more than once a day to administer Narcan, the opiate antidote. When you think you’ve had enough, Ms. Talbot gives you more, featuring a group of mothers who drive addicts hundreds of miles to detox centers, introducing us to a young woman who has lost 13 friends to overdose, explaining how thousands of children lose their parents and enter the foster care system. It’s a lot.
America’s Hidden H.I.V. Epidemic
Now that HIV is no longer a death sentence, and AIDS no longer an epidemic among gay white men in cities, we seem not to care that one out of every two gay and bisexual African Americans will be infected with the HIV virus in their lifetimes, the highest rate in the world. The problem is the worst in the South, where stigma is strong and resources are weak. As you read this outstanding article, allow your stereotypes (e.g, of the down low) to fade away. Consider why our country has spent billions of dollars to decrease HIV in Africa but has snubbed the American South. Learn why PrEP isn’t available to everyone. And wonder why gay white men are absent, not allied with African Americans to fight the virus.
It has been 28 years since the protests at Tienanmen Square. This image should be in every social studies teacher’s classroom.
Save Reading, Save the Country
English teacher Julia Franks believes we can improve our classrooms and save the country if we encourage young people and adults to read more. Reading more means understanding other people, building empathy, “practicing a different vantage point.” I agree with Ms. Franks in theory—so long as teachers get involved in their students’ reading journeys, learn their interests, encourage books to try out, ask real questions, and help their students to construct what reading guru Teri Lesesne calls “reading ladders.”
You don’t have to be a baseball fan (as I am) to appreciate this article. Almost all Little League coaches urge batters to swing level or down at the ball, causing line drives or ground balls. It turns out that this advice is wrong. After taking a look at the data, more and more professional baseball players are aiming for fly balls. Though fly balls do not result in more hits (a .241 batting average vs. .239 for ground balls), they lead to a big increase in the possibility of extra-base hits, like home runs (a .715 slugging percentage vs. .258 for ground balls). Besides, there’s more space in the outfield that doesn’t have a fielder nearby. (Go Giants!)
Hope you enjoyed today’s issue! Do you agree that there was a ton of emotion in the first half? Please let me know what you thought by voting thumbs-up or -down below, plus leave a comment, too, if you like. Also, let’s welcome new subscribers David and Hagikah! The Highlighter is strong because of its subscribers. Keep getting the word out about the digest, and see you next Thursday at 9:10 am!
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