South Florida children caravan to Washington to protest Trump’s immigration policy

Some South Florida children, most of whom are sons and daughters of immigrants in the U.S. illegally, are headed to Washington to protest the immigration policy of President Donald Trump.

Leah, who declined to give her last name to protect her parents for fear of deportation, and her siblings were among a group of students who piled inside a bus bound for the nation’s capital.

The students hope their numbers, their stories and their ages will attract the attention of Trump, who they blame for increased chances their parents will be deported.

“We must love and protect one another,” they chanted Monday outside Miami-Dade County Hall.

Before leaving, the group tried to deliver a makeshift, failing report card to Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez and commissioners because of their agreement to comply with federal agents who might ask for a hold on jail inmates who are in the country illegally.

“I expect President Trump can change his heart and start protecting us,” Leah told Local 10 News.

When the students arrive in Washington, they plan to unite with other children on the caravan and make a ring around a park in front of the White House.

Follow this story

Nebraska ban on LGBT foster parents to end, court rules

The Nebraska Supreme Court upheld a decision to strike down a ban on same-sex couples becoming foster parents.

The court compared the ban on its decision to “a sign reading ‘Whites Only’ on the hiring-office door.”

Since 1995, same-sex couples had been barred from becoming licensed foster-care providers in Nebraska.

“This is a victory for children and LGBT Nebraskans. There are tens of thousands of LGBT people who call the Cornhusker State home and thousands of Nebraska children in need of a foster care placement,” said ACLU of Nebraska Executive Director Danielle Conrad in a statement.

The Nebraska rule comes as lawmakers began discussions on a bill that could ban workplace discrimination based on an employee’s gender identity or sexual orientation.

The case

The ruling stems from a lawsuit filed in 2013 by three same-sex couples, the ACLU of Nebraska, the ACLU LGBT and HIV Project, and the law firm of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP.

The couples had intentions of serving as foster parents but were turned down by state employees.

One couple claimed the staff of the state’s Department of Health and Human Services discouraged them when they asked for information. Another couple said they were told same-sex couples could not be licensed even after they’ve gone through training and background checks.

State employees were citing a 1995 administrative memo written by the then-director of the department.

“It is my decision that effective immediately, it is the policy of the Department of Social Service that children will not be placed in the homes of persons who identify themselves as homosexuals. This policy also applies to the area of foster home licensure in that, effective immediately, no foster home license shall be issued to persons who identify themselves as homosexual,” the memo reads, according to court documents.

The memo was removed from the agency’s website during court procedures in 2015.

In 2015, a judge ordered the state agency to license gay and lesbians as foster parents but the state appealed the decision. State officials said in court they intended to place children in the most “family-like setting,” the ruling states.

Similar to the Nebraska Supreme Court ruling, other courts across the nation have changed long-time policies and granted same-sex couples parenting rights in recent years.

Last year, a federal judge struck down a ban on adoptions by same-sex couples in Mississippi. A few weeks before, the Supreme Court summarily reversed an Alabama Supreme Court decision that had refused to recognize a same- sex parent adoption from another state.

Follow this story

Babies Romeo, Juliette born hours apart at central Florida hospital

Two sets of new parents were surprised to learn that their babies were part of a Shakespearean connection at a Florida hospital.

The Orlando Sentinel reports Juliette Crouch was born Friday morning at Leesburg Regional Medical Center. Hours later, Romeo Kidd made his debut down the hallway.

Hospital privacy laws almost kept the drama from playing out. A nurse asked Carolyn Kidd her baby’s name and said a Juliette was born the same day. But she couldn’t tell them where Juliette’s parents were.

But the two families began searching for each other. Dad Justin Crouch said he thought about walking down the hall saying, “Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo.”

“It was eventually Bella Baby photographer who actually was able to make the connection for us. After the connection was made, all the nurses went crazy about it and they’re the ones who found little tux and dress so we could dress the babies up for the pictures,” Kidd said.

The families finally got together, shared laughs and exchanged contact information unlike in “Romeo & Juliet” where the families were mortal enemies.

Follow this story

2-year-old defends her choice of doll to cashier

When 2-year-old Sophia was told she could pick out a prize for finishing her potty training, she knew just what she wanted.

She and her mother, Brandi Benner, visited a Target near their South Carolina home, where Sophia spent 20 minutes looking at all the dolls in the toy aisle.

“She kept going back to the doctor doll, because in her mind, she is already a doctor,” Benner said. “She loves giving checkups, and if you come in the house, she’ll tell you that’s the first thing you need.”

Sophia, who will be 3 in July, was so excited by her choice that she wouldn’t let go of her new doll until they reached the register to check out.

Did we mention that the doll is black and Sophia is white?

The issue came up right away, when a store cashier asked Sophia: Wouldn’t she rather have a doll that looked like her?

According to her mother, Sophia had a ready answer.

“She does (look like me)!” the toddler responded. “She’s a doctor; I’m a doctor. She is a pretty girl; I am a pretty girl. See her pretty hair? See her stethoscope?”

Benner credits the TV cartoon “Doc McStuffins” with teaching Sophia the word “stethoscope.” But she credits Sophia for knowing what is important: The doll’s skin tone didn’t matter. To Sophia, she and the doll share the same aspirations.

Benner was relieved she didn’t have to defend her daughter’s choice and glad that Sophia wasn’t fazed by the cashier’s question.

“If she was another child, that could have discouraged her,” Benner said.

Benner posted an account of their experience Friday to her personal Facebook page. It’s been shared more than 140,000 times and attracted more than 19,000 comments. Most of them have been supportive messages from other mothers or people with similar experiences.

The few negative ones don’t bother her.

“I just want to teach my kids love, and that’s included in my own actions,” Benner said, explaining why she doesn’t engage with negative commenters.

Research suggests that kids aren’t born with biases about race and gender.

But Sophia doesn’t know about all that. She just knows that everywhere she goes, she wants her doctor doll to come along.

Follow this story

Parents sue for right to name daughter ‘Allah’

A mom and dad in Georgia are suing the Georgia Department of Health because they refused to let the couple give their daughter the surname “Allah.”

Elizabeth Handy and Bilal Walk’s baby girl is now almost two years old, and she still doesn’t have a last name or a birth certificate. Their chosen name, ZalyKha Graceful Lorraina Allah, was rejected by the health department. It said the law requires parents to choose the mother’s last name, the father’s last name or a combination of both.

Here’s the catch: Handy and Walk’s 3-year-old son was granted the last name with no problem. So was Walk’s 16-year-old son from a previous marriage.

The ACLU of Georgia has filed a lawsuit against the Department, saying the decision is a “government overreach.”

A parent’s right?

Andrea Young, the executive director of the Georgia ACLU told CNN the situation is a misinterpretation of the law.

“The regulation goes outside the bounds of plain language of statute,” Young said.

It is the parents’ right, Young says, to give their child whatever name they want. The law provides for last names related to a “bona fide cultural tradition,” but even that can be difficult to parse out.

“This regulation initially did not have exception for bona fide cultural traditions… but who has authority to judge that? A clerk, a judge, given whole variety of cultures?” she says.

Handy and Walk chose the name “Allah” because it represents their spirituality and is a name their children can aspire to. But as of now, their daughter has no last name, which means no birth certificate, which means no social security number. Her parents are bracing for the challenges that will come with getting her insured and into school.

Can you really name your child anything?

The reality is, states and institutions do often have a say in what names are appropriate, though the reach is usually limited.

In 2009, a couple got nationwide attention when a bakery refused to decorate a cake with the name of their son — Adolf Hitler Campbell. The boy was born in New Jersey, which Young says has some of the most relaxed naming rights. You can name your child anything, apparently, as long as it doesn’t contain a number, symbol or obscenity. (Little Adolf had two sisters: JoyceLynn Aryan Nation and Honszlynn Hinler Jeanne.) The Campells’ four children were eventually taken away from them for unrelated reasons.

In 2013, a Tennessee judge ordered a couple to change the name of their son, Messiah, because she stated the title had only been earned by Jesus Christ. The decision was overturned a month later and the judge was eventually fired after complaints her initial ruling was a judicial overreach.

Depending on where you live, your naming rights may be limited, but it is usually more about style and clarity than content, regulating things like numbers, pictograms, obscenities and diacriticial marks. In California, for instance, names cannot contain numbers or umlauts.

In other countries, however, naming laws can be a bit stricter. In Sweden, names cannot cause discomfort or be “unsuitable” like, say, Metallica or Superman. In Germany, names have to clearly indicate gender, and cannot represent an object or brand.

But in a country that values individual freedom as much as the US does, Young says naming laws should always lean towards parental agency.

“This is always the thing with individual liberties,” Young says. “It may not be obvious to other people but in a country that’s based on liberty and freedom of expression these are very personal areas that government shouldn’t have the right to dictate.”

Follow this story

Girl burned while making homemade slime

A girl suffered burns on her hands while participating in a recently popular trend for kids.

After making homemade slime at a sleepover last weekend, Kathleen Quinn, 11, woke up in the middle of the night after returning home, complaining of a excruciating pain in her hands.

“She was crying in pain, ‘My hands hurt, my hands hurt,'” Kathleen’s mother, Siobhan Quinn, told WCVB. “When we looked at them, they were covered in blisters.”

KABC reports Quinn was taken to the hospital where she was diagnosed with second- and third-degree burns, which were likely the result from prolonged exposure to borax, one of the main ingredients in the slime.

Making homemade slime has become popular over the last year after increased visibility on social media. Borax, Elmer’s Glue and Borax are the main ingredients in the slime.

Despite warnings that Borax is meant to be used as a cleaner or laundry additive, many parents allow their children to continue using it in what they believe is a harmless activity.

“I’ve had other mothers say, ‘Oh, we’ve made it a million times, it’s fine, nothing happened to my child,’” Siobhan told WCVB. “We made it a million times, too, and nothing else happened.”

 

 

Follow this story