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Archive for the ‘Social Injustice’ Category

Dirk Schutter, loyal citizen or unlawful presence | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on November 10, 2022

Dirk Schutter, resident of Rains County since 2001, has been a citizen of the United States since 1960. But because of an expired driver’s license and three missing digits on a bureaucratic form, he is now classified by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as “lawful presence not verified.”

Schutter was born in Wilp, Holland on July 18, 1937. When he was twelve years old, in order to find a better quality of life for their children and better healthcare for Dirk who was recovering from polio, his family immigrated to the United States. This was during a time when immigrants were required to have a U.S. sponsor who would guarantee a place to live and a job for at least five years. Upon arrival in New York, new arrivals were processed through Ellis Island before being sent to join their sponsors. In the Schutters’ case, their sponsor was in Terrell, Texas.

Schutter had completed the fifth grade in Holland, but he spoke almost no English. Instead of making special provision for his lack of language skill, the school system dropped him back to first grade. He learned quickly and almost caught up to grade level, graduating from high school at the age of twenty. By that time, he had met Patricia Moore and had fallen in love. However, her mother wouldn’t allow her daughter to marry a non-citizen, fearing he would take her back to Holland. Never one to shy away from a challenge, Schutter attended naturalization classes, and on August 29, 1960, he became a citizen of his adopted country.

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I Love Christmas Lights | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on December 15, 2020:

One of my many favorite parts of Christmas is the outdoor displays of lights, but apparently not everyone

feels the same way. Last week a resident of a small town in Minnesota received an anonymous letter claiming that her very understated decorations were “a reminder of systemic biases against our neighbors who don’t celebrate Christmas or who can’t afford to put up lights of their own.” Not that I have a strong opinion about this new issue that has suddenly gone viral, but that is just wrong.

I grew up in what would have been considered an upper lower class or lower middle class neighborhood. There were a few families that hung a string or two of lights along the front eaves or around the porch columns, but ours wasn’t one of them. Dad worked two jobs year round, and since one of them was at the Post Office, he worked lots of overtime during the holidays. He was too tired to climb on the roof for anything short of a major leak, and any money left over at the end of the month was earmarked for clothes, music lessons, or a summer vacation.

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What is racism anyway? by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on November 3, 2020:

The subject of racism is impossible to avoid today since it’s at least

The Dictionary Definition of 'Racism' Has to Change - The Atlantic

mentioned in a majority of news stories and broadcasts, social media posts, and many conversations. It’s easy to assume that the definition of such a common word is common knowledge. But as we all know, assumptions can be wrong.

I think I’ve mentioned before that I have been mentoring a young lady for almost seven years. I’m not sure how much mentoring I do. Mostly we just hang out once a week and talk, but even that has been a real challenge in 2020. First there was the shutdown, and when school started back in August, no visitors were allowed – but we’ve worked it out. Once a week, with her father’s permission, I pick her up for lunch, and we eat fast food in the park or the church fellowship hall. We have to squeeze a lot of words into her thirty-minute lunch period, but it’s better than nothing. And we don’t have to hurry too much because her hospitality teacher doesn’t seem to mind if she’s a few minutes late.

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Tatia’s Tattoo Crowdfunding Campaign Is Now Live! | by Linda Brendle

ShameHuman trafficking is one of the three largest illegal industries in the world  – experts disagree on whether it is second or third. Over a million children each year fall victim to traffickers.

Today I have launched a crowdfunding campaign aimed at gathering support to meet the costs of publishing Tatia’s Tattoo, a Christian novel that tells the story of sex trafficking in small-town America. Raising awareness of this issue could be the first step in solving it.

You can be involved by pledging financial support to help cover the costs of development Cover coming soonand copy editing, typesetting, proof reading, and cover design. Proceeds will also cover the miscellaneous costs involved in setting up the ebook, acquiring the ISBN and Library of Congress numbers, and so forth, as well as the printing costs for the books supporters will receive as rewards.

There are six different levels of support, each with a minimum dollar amount and a corresponding reward. The Friends Level has a minimum of $5, and the reward is my undying gratitude and a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift certificate. The Gold Book Club Level has a minimum of $275 and the reward includes ten print copies of Tatia’s Tattoo, ten custom bookmarks, ten custom tote bags, a personal or video appearance by the author (depending on location), ten chances to win a $30 Amazon gift certificate, and an acknowledgement of your book club and members in the book. In between the two levels, there are four others that increase from the lowest to the highest. The dollar amounts shown are suggested minimums, but if you feel as strongly about this project as I do, you are free to increase any of the dollar amounts.

The campaign is set up to accept all major credit cards. All funds collected, with the exception of processing fees charged by the credit card companies, are applied to publishing costs. In the event we collect more than the initial costs, excess funds will be held and applied to the printing costs of future sales. In the unlikely event the project is cancelled, all contributions will be refunded except for the processing fees. No cash is ever released to the author.

The actual publication process will take three to four months after the end of the campaign. During the process, I am planning a cover reveal, a book video trailer, an author video/Facebook Live event, and anything else that sounds like fun. If all goes as planned, the books and other rewards will be available by late summer. I am also working on a booklet outlining other ways you can help fight human trafficking. The final product will be posted on the Internet in a PDF format, and the link will be available in the book.

I hope you will join me in this project. Simply click this link, click the “Contribute” button, and choose your level of support and reward. Together I believe we can make a difference.

Blessings,

Linda

Nightwalk for Hope Rained Out | by Linda Brendle

NightwalkSlavery was abolished in the United States in 1865, but did you know that, according to a story released by KLTV on August 24, 2013, that a form of slavery called human trafficking is a growing problem – not in Africa or Asia or New York, but in East Texas. Human trafficking is defined as “the illegal movement of people, typically for the purposes of forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation.” Traffickers often target at risk young people, sometimes twelve-years-old and younger, in order to sell their bodies for cash. A Tyler expert was quoted by KLTV as saying that, in Smith County, 33% of girls and 17% of boys will be sexually abused, some of them at the hand of traffickers, before the age of eighteen. (more…)

What Happens When One Person Cares | by Linda Brendle

Helping HandLast month, spurred by a post written by my brother Jim, I posted an article called “Does Government Assistance Discourage Private Charity.”  The post was also published by Red Letter Christians where it elicited quite a bit of discussion. The discussion was interesting, but after reading it, I realized I should have used the word “personal” in the title instead of “private.” Most of the comments centered on the relative merits of government charity versus religious charity. It made me wonder if the discussion participants had read my post since I included stories about person-to-person acts of kindness rather than institutional generosity. But as luck or fate would have it, Jim gave me another chance to get it right. (more…)

Does Government Assistance Discourage Private Charity? | by Linda Brendle

Jim Robinson

A couple of months ago my brother, the Reverend Doctor Jim Robinson, posted a blog titled “Hard Work vs. Government Assistance.” It was well-written and thought-provoking, but I thought it was incomplete.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have to tell you that my brother and I love each other, but we fall on opposite sides of the political fence. He is as liberal as I am conservative; however, we’re both reasonable adults, and we’ve learned to discuss our differences in a civilized manner. In fact, he has a passion for civility, and his blog is “dedicated to hearing ‘both side’ of any issue.” But in this particular post, I think he failed to take into consideration that some issues have more than two sides. I think this is particularly relevant in issues involving caring for those I call “the least of these.” (more…)

Providing for the Least of These | by Linda Brendle

A sure way to start a riot on Facebook is to post a political comment. Nobody agrees on anything political with the exception of the national debt: that it has reached critical mass and that we have to stop spending money we don’t have. Ideas vary widely as to where cuts should be made: the military budget, tax advantages, entitlement programs. Some of the cuts will come after the elections, but some of them are happening right now, and some of them are happening right here in Emory, Texas. The media pundits throw around lots of impersonal words when addressing this issue, but it’s harder to talk about when there’s a face attached to the cut. (more…)

The Arrogance of Charity | by Linda Brendle

I’ve been getting a lot of “social justice” input lately. In addition to Christian’s blog which focuses a lot on the subject, a friend lent me the movie “The Help,” another friend lent me the book by the same name, and Blockbuster finally sent us “Blind Side” after months on the waiting list. All that input gave me a lot to think about. I had at least one awake-in-the-wee-hours morning along with several unproductive session at the keyboard trying to organize my thoughts into something coherent. After working for several days on a post about the lack of choices available to the disadvantaged, I realized how arrogant it was of me to try and understand the problems of those who have never enjoyed the privileges I have. I also realized how arrogant we privileged sometimes are in our acts of charity, assuming we know what others want and need without giving them a choice.

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Confessions of an Ingrate | by Linda Brendle

In December, I wrote a post called “Confessions of a Book Junkie” about my lifelong love of books. After reading about my way of keeping track of the books I’ve read and the books I want to read, my cousin commented that perhaps I was a list junkie as well. Earlier this month I wrote a post titled “I’m Addicted,” and my son said it might be more aptly titled “Confessions of a Co-Dependent.” And my brother, after reading some of my comments on Christian’s posts, said he thought I might be a closet liberal. Maybe my next book should be titled “Confessions of…” Saturday I added another confession to the list. (more…)

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