Interior Secretary Deb Haaland wrote a Washington Post op-ed about her family’s experiences with government ‘assimilation’ programs that removed children from their families: “Over nearly 100 years, tens of thousands of Indigenous children were taken from their communities and forced into scores of boarding schools run by religious institutions and the U.S. government. Some studies suggest that by 1926, nearly 83 percent of Native American school-age children were in the system. Many children were doused with DDT upon arrival, and as their coerced re-education got underway, they endured physical abuse for speaking their tribal languages or practicing traditions that didn’t fit into what the government believed was the American ideal… My family’s story is not unlike that of many other Native American families in this country. We have a generation of lost or injured children who are now the lost or injured aunts, uncles, parents and grandparents of those who live today. I once spent time with my grandmother recording our history for a writing assignment in college. It was the first time I heard her speak candidly about how hard it was — about how a priest gathered the children from the village and put them on a train, and how she missed her family. She spoke of the loneliness she endured. We wept together. It was an exercise in healing for her and a profound lesson for me about the resilience of our people, and even more about how important it is to reclaim what those schools tried to take from our people… Our children, parents and grandparents deserve a federal government that works to promote our tribal languages, culture and mental health. Many Native children want to learn their tribe’s language, songs and ceremonies. Many Native families want the children who were lost to come home, regardless of how long ago they were stolen.”
California Attorney General Rob Bonta filed an appeal Thursday of a federal court decision that overturned California’s ban on assault weapons. Bonta argued that the law is needed “to protect the safety of Californians.” “The appeal seeks to reverse Friday’s decision by U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez, who said the state’s three-decade ban on assault weapons is an unconstitutional infringement on the rights of California gun owners that “has had no effect” on curtailing mass shootings. Gov. Gavin Newsom joined Bonta in making the announcement at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, a leading facility for treating gunshot victims. “California’s assault weapons ban has saved lives, and we refuse to let these weapons of war back onto our streets,” said Newsom, who was elected on a platform that included expanding gun control laws. “This is a fight California will never back down from, period.”
The Trace reports on a community-based, violence-prevention program in Baltimore: In the last 15 years, 16- to 25-year-olds accounted for the largest share of Baltimore’s fatal shooting victims. Roca is part a public health response to violence within this age group, an approach that isn’t new nationally or in Baltimore. The program targets 16- to 24 year olds, mostly males like Miayan, who have had at least brushes with the criminal justice system, and are likely to be either a perpetrator or a victim of gun violence. Roca approaches violence interruption as a long game. Through cognitive behavioral therapy, the program tries to help people manage their trauma and regulate their responses to stress and conflict. It’s not a prevention program, as the staff points out, but an intervention program that can take up to four years to yield results. “If we can… teach them how to manage conflict by the age of 20, we’re setting the city up for success one young person at a time,” said James Timpson, who runs Roca-Baltimore’s community collaborations. For Roca, time cuts both ways. There is the amount of time it takes to transform a young person, and there is an urgency to be in contact with them at all times, the fear of missing even one phone call. It’s why West took calls from Roca participants during a recent vacation to Jamaica. “It can put a strain on your personal life, but we have to be there,” West said. But like any response to Baltimore’s violence crisis, Roca faces daunting challenges. There are the perverse economic incentives the clients contend with: Earning $1,000 a week in the underground economy can be more appealing than a job making $15 an hour. Community-based violence prevention programs aren’t designed to upend harsh economic realities, but over time, staffers try to appeal to clients’ values as an incentive to change, a philosophy that animates President Joe Biden’s big bet on community-based violence prevention. If people value their freedom, and their family, then carrying a gun might rob them of both. "