Supervisors to give child protection czar authority to make sweeping child welfare reforms

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday endorsed the appointment of a child protection czar to make sweeping changes in the way the county protects abused and neglected children.

The action comes a year after the death of Gabriel Fernandez, an 8-year-old boy who was severely beaten despite repeated calls to the child welfare authorities. The case was first reported by The Times.

The new Office of Child Protection would represent the most significant reorganization of county government in nearly a decade since the supervisors selected William T Fujioka as chief executive and endowed his office with significantly enhanced authority. The child welfare czar would report directly to the supervisors and be responsible for developing a funding and policy strategy for the Department of Children and Family Services and all other county departments responsible for protecting vulnerable children.

The vote on the proposal was 4-1, with Supervisor Don Knabe opposed; he called it an unnecessary new layer of bureaucracy.

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National Museum of African American History & Culture

NMAAHC -- National Museum of African American History and Culture

Dear Charter Members and Friends,

Recently, the National Museum of African American History and Culture has been involved with quite a few projects and we wanted to share a few with you.

On Wednesday, May 7th at approximately 8:30 a.m. CBS This Morning aired a segment on the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Jan Crawford, political correspondent and chief legal correspondent for CBS News, interviewed director Lonnie Bunch at the museum’s construction site and curators at the collections storage facility. The segment provided a behind-the-scenes look at the progress of the museum. Watch the video here.

On May 12, 2009, the U. S. Congress authorized a national initiative by passing The Civil Rights History Project Act of 2009. The law directs the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture to conduct a survey of existing oral history collections with relevance to the Civil Rights Movement over a five year period beginning in 2010. On May 19th, 2014, a website was launched that contained all the interviews that have been conducted. Visit the website here.

C-Span aired three of the interviews mentioned above, conducted by the Library of Congress and the National Museum of African American History and Culture, on May 29th, 2014 with introductions by our director Lonnie Bunch. The first introduction Lonnie did was for Simeon Wright, the cousin of Emmitt Till who witnessed the events that led to Emmett’s murder. The second introduction is for Junius Williams, activist for the Civil Rights Movement in the South and in Newark, NJ. Lonnie’s last introduction was for Audrey Hamilton and JoeAnn Ulmer, civil rights activist from St. Augustine Florida. See Lonnie’s introductions here.

Lastly, curator Dwan Reese was recently in the Washington Post for writing a “Poetic Playlist” in honor of Maya Angelou. Each song selected was written by Angelou, inspired from Angelou’s work, or connected to her in some fashion. Read the Washington Post article and listen to the songs here.

edison signature
Edison R. Wato Jr.,
Membership Program Manager

The holy sh*t response to climate change

Emma Ruby-Sachs – Avaaz

The delicate balance of the planet’s biosphere is tipping — threatening all life on earth. Scientists are calling it our Holy Shit moment on climate change, and world leaders meet at the UN in just over 100 days — we have until then for all of us, everywhere, to act, in the largest day of action on climate change in history, to call for action and fight for everything we love. Sign up to join in:The last ice age happened in 6 months. 6 months for the planet to unleash an army of apartment-building-size ice blocks across Europe and the United States. It was a climate tipping point where the balance is knocked completely out of control and threatens the survival of everything — and three more tipping points exactly like it are on the verge of happening.

It’s our “holy shit” climate moment according to a leading NASA scientist, and only a holy shit massive coordinated day of action response, right now, can change the future we’re facing.

One agreement with common sense steps to end dirty energy can save us. That’s why the UN has called an urgent climate meeting in just over 100 days with all major world leaders — if we greet them on September 21st with the largest ever global climate mobilisation in history we can break through the walls of mega coal, oil, and business that prevent even the best politicians from doing what is right.

There’s no way to get around how big a task this is. But together, each small action will add up into a millions-strong movement that literally drowns out the opposition and gives our leaders the best reason to break free and build a hopeful, clean and green future. Click below to join in:

“Tipping points” are feedback loops, where climate change feeds back on itself and causes rapidly accelerating, catastrophic consequences. Right now, methane gas that is 25 times worse for global warming than CO2 is frozen in our ice. But as the ice melts, the gas leaks, causing more melting and each melt loses us another layer of reflective ice shield that we rely on to keep the planet cool, more methane and less ice means more warming still, and everything starts to spin out of control. And that’s just one example… it’s why scientists are yelling from the rooftops that we have to act now.

We actually have the tools and the plan we need to make sure we don’t cross into a world where tipping points destroy us. And while it will take global cooperation on a bigger scale than ever before, our 36 million-strong movement already has the people power necessary to move leaders from every country to take the first steps. Just days ago, the United States and China announced serious new plans to curb their pollution — momentum is building ahead of next year’s critical Paris climate summit where a deal could be inked, and in just over 100 days we can take it up a notch further.

Taking to the streets in a record setting show of power and coordination is one of the most effective ways to create change — from the anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa to civil rights in the US, it’s sometimes been the only way. This is our chance to bring that power to the most important issue of our time: survival and a thriving future for our families, and their families and the generations of people to come. Click below to be a part of it all:

We know we can do this… and do it big. When our community was just 3 million people we held 3,000 actions on the same day to protect our planet. We’re now 36 million strong, ten times the size! Imagine what we can achieve together now…

With so much hope for our future,

Emma, Iain, Lisa, Ricken, Alice, Emily, Sayeeda, Uilleam and the rest of the Avaaz team


Global warming: it’s a point of no return in West Antarctica. What happens next? (The Guardian)

A Call to Arms: An Invitation to Demand Action on Climate Change (Rolling Stone)

Mini ice age took hold of Europe in months (New Scientist)

Report: Prepare for climate tipping points (Politico)

Ecuador Breaks Its Amazon Deal

Amazon Watch

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Is this the future of Ecuador’s Yasuní-ITT?

Ecuador Breaks Its Amazon Deal
An OpEd by Kevin Koenig, Amazon Watch Ecuador Program Director

In 2007, Ecuador pledged to refrain from oil drilling in the Amazon’s Yasuni National Park in exchange for financial compensation from several foreign governments. The so-called Yasuni-ITT initiative, named for the park’s Ishpingo, Tambococha and Tiputini oil fields, which together contain some 846 million barrels of heavy crude, sought to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, prevent deforestation and protect one of the world’s most biodiverse areas. To offset the renounced revenue, then estimated at over $7 billion, Ecuador requested $3.6 billion to be paid over a period of 13 years by some of the world’s richest nations. It was the first time a country had proposed keeping such a large reserve permanently in the ground.

The initiative, managed through a trust fund administered by the United Nations Development Program, was popular in Ecuador. But in 2013, with only $13 million in cash raised, President Rafael Correa pulled the plug. Last month, the same week Mr. Correa condemned Chevron for its toxic legacy in Ecuador’s northern Amazon, the Environment Ministry approved plans for drilling in Yasuni by Petroamazonas, a subsidiary of state-run Petroecuador. The first crude could flow by early 2016.

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