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11 November, 2020

COVID-19 PRISON UPDATES -- SCI CHESTER; SCI DALLAS; SCI PHOENIX





IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD® (http://globalfatherhooddialogue.blogspot.com) and the United States International Men’s Day IMPARTIAL AND FAIR TREATMENT IN PAROLE INITIATIVE Team (www.usainternationalmensday.blogspot.com) thanks Social Justice Activist, award winning author and filmmaker, Founder of Sagewriters (www.sagewriters.com) and Co-Director of the Global Kindness Revolution (www.trustonekindness.com) Ms. Judith Trustone for forwarding to us a highly disturbing report on COVID-19 and its dangerous and deadly impact on incarcerated souls – our family members, loved ones, and colleagues – throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The heartwrenching account on COVID-19 at SCI Chester and SCI Dallas appears below: 

  COVID-19 PRISON UPDATE 

As of this date of 11-9-2020, Monday, there is a tremendous COVID-19 outbreak at SCI-Chester, SCI-Dallas, and several other SCIs throughout the PADOC prison system. 

 ¶ SCI-Chester's COVID-19 outbreak of infections went from 5 cases to 200 cases in two weeks, killing longtime Political Prisoner Alvin Joyner of the Black Panther Party at age 77, who was in his 51st year of Death-By-Incarceration (Life sentence), and seriously hospitalizing HRC organizer Sergio Hyland (#FX-1537) the Co-Editor of The Movement magazine in the prison's infirmary due to his low oxygen levels. 

 ¶ Serg said of the deadly Coronavirus, "I tested positive for the coronavirus and am now in the infirmary because my oxygen level is low and they want me here just in case I need to be taken to the hospital. This is a painful virus and I felt close to death several times over this past week. I'm working hard just to breathe." 

 ¶ It is obvious that the PADOC Secretary John Wetzel's so-called COVID-19 Safety Measures are a complete failure. As there has been disastrous Mismanagement and Criminal Negligence in response to COVID-19 outbreaks throughout the state prison system, from "top" to "bottom" of PADOC Central Office and SCIs. 

 ¶ There has been about 3,000 COVID-19 infected cases of incarcerated people within the PADOC since March 2020. How many more State Incarcerated people must become infected with COVID-19, be seriously injured, and DIE before Families, Civil / Human Rights Groups, Politicians, and the Governor take pandemic type safety measures to ensure the lives of incarcerated people are SAVED too? Five, ten, twenty thousand incarcerated people's injuries abd deaths in the PADOC??? WTF! 

There needs to be a Call for State Congressional Investigations on the PADOC'S RESPONSE TO COVID-19!!! 


SCI PHOENIX COVID-19 UPDATE

An update on the impact of COVID-19 at SCI Phoenix appears below. It is reprinted with permission by IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD®  from a full account published on SCI Phoenix LIFERS, Inc. entitled, “Life In Quarantine – A Message From SCI Phoenix” at https://www.lifersincpa.org/life-in-quarantine-a-message-from-inside-sci-pheonix/: 


  10/7/2020 

 I suppose the difference with the quarantine this time around is that a larger number of COVID cases have been documented and that, after coming off of five (5) months of quarantine since March 29, 2020, we were wishful that things would get back to normal. However, realistically, we anticipated there would be a second outbreak because of the behaviors we observed with guards and staff members alike, not social distancing and/or keeping on their masks, and also hearing some of them describe that they haven’t been able to taste or smell for weeks, and that they believe that other guards and staff members have the virus or have been exposed to the virus.

 The impact is devastating to many of the prisoners because of long periods of double-celling in these small spaces with no fresh air (no windows in the cells to open), showers every other day, TB sticks, diabetic sticks, blood withdrawal, temperature readings and feeding all through the cell door wicket. At the same time, all kinds of chemicals and disinfectants are being sprayed on the cell door and left to air dry. Within minutes after spraying, they come around and sit your raw fruits, apples, bananas, etc., and food on the door wicket. 

 It’s difficult to read or study with a cell mate having to constantly use the bathroom, coughing, sneezing, and exercising in the cell – two people can’t be on the floor at the same time without constant bumping into each other. 

Sitting, laying in bed for hours, legs and arms numb, back and side sore. Cell light continuously popping off every two hours. During the first quarantine, we had free cable where everyone was able to keep informed of the administration’s endeavors to keep them safe and watch organizations’ programs. Nothing this time! Can’t get hot water for commissary items. It’s chaos, frustrating and abating! WE NEED FRESH AIR! 


10/11/2020 

I don’t know that things have gotten better, but there has been some slack in their strict quarantine. I am told that on Monday, October 12th, the institution will begin allowing limited movement for certain passes and programs; the particulars are not known yet. They did expand our time out of cell from 15 to 30 minutes and put disinfectant out on the block so anyone can have access, although the disinfect is still too heavily diluted. We haven’t been able to get fresh air (yard) yet, perhaps that will change after tomorrow. 

 I am really concerned about is the double-celling problems. I know the Secretary is saying it’s an economic and space availability problem. That does not seem to be entirely true. This institution has created single cell space for persons they wish to curry favors with. 

The other thing that I am really concerned about is the double-celling problems. I know the Secretary is saying it’s an economic and space availability problem. That does not seem to be entirely true. This institution has created single cell space for persons they wish to curry favors with. Aside from the fact that I adamantly think and believe that lifers and those serving virtue-life sentences who have been consistently incarcerated for ten or more years without a serious misconduct should be eligible for a single cell.

 Since being at Phoenix, central office issued a policy mandating that prisoners who are diagnosed with mental health issues and those who are labeled problematic will now be double celled with any prisoner in general population. That includes double-celling a mentally ill prisoner with a prisoner labeled problematic. That’s placing us in eminent danger of seriously hurting someone or getting seriously hurt or worst. This, factored with the realities of COVID-19, weighs heavily on our mental states. There is no peace of mind for individuals who are fighting life (DBI) sentences. Double-celling of lifers or virtue-lifers is severely hampering our ability to study and work on our transformations. It is frustrating and creates all kinds of mental impediments. Their sole objective is to compel us to watch over and care for those prisoners. 


     WHAT WE CAN DO – 

Call or send a letter by e-mail, fax, or United States Postal Service which asks for: 

  (1) Release -- with all deliberate speed -- of elderly and aging incarcerated Men and Women and incarcerated souls with pre-existing medical conditions who are vulnerable to contracting and dying from COVID-19 -- particularly those souls who are serving life without parole sentences and do not and will not pose a public safety threat, many of whom stand ready to return to their community to implement research-driven and solutions-based initiatives they designed while institutionalized for decades to end gun violence, intergenerational incarceration, Fatherlessness, "school-to-prison" pipeline, and recidivism. 

 (2) Provision of free access to and distribution of masks and personal hygiene items – soap and disinfectants to all incarcerated souls throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in compliance with COVID-19 protocols mandated by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov) 

 (3) Implementation and strict enforcement of the wearing of masks for all staff members working in correctional facilities throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania – NO EXCEPTIONS 


CALLS, E-MAILS, FAXES, AND CORRESPONDENCE SHOULD BE ADDRESSED TO:


GOVERNOR OF PENNSYLVANIA 
 The Honorable Thomas Westerman Wolf 
 Governor, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania 
 Office of the Governor 508 Main Capitol Building 
 Harrisburg, PA 17120 
 Telephone: 717-787-2500 
 Facsimile: 717-772-8284 
 E-Mail: govcorrespcrm@pa.gov 


DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS 
 The Honorable John E. Wetzel Secretary
Pennsylvania Department Of Corrections 
 Department of Corrections Central Office 
 1920 Technology Parkway 
 Mechanicsburg, PA 17050 
 Telephone: 717-728-4109 
 E-Mail: ra-crpadocsecretary@pa.gov 

 PENNSYLVANIA HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE 
The Honorable Jason Dawkins 
 Representative – Pennsylvania 179th Legislative District Member
Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee 
 Democratic Chair on Crime and Corrections Subcommittee of the Pennsylvania House Judiciary
 Committee District Office 
 4667 Paul Street 
 Philadelphia, PA 19124 
 Telephone: 215-744-7901 
 Facsimile: 215-744-7906 
 E-Mail: jdawkins@pahouse.net 

 Harrisburg
 328 West Wing 
 Post Office Box 202179 
 Harrisburg, PA 17120-2179 
 Telephone: 717-789-1354 
 Facsimile: 717-780-4789 
 E-Mail: jdawkins@pahouse.net

18 September, 2020

HOUSE OF UMOJA, INC.; FIFTY-TWO YEARS OF SHAPING THE FUTURE BY BUILDING ON KNOWLEDGE FROM THE PAST

5625 W. Master Street

Philadelphia, PA  19131

(215) 473-5893

Facsimile:  (215) 879-5340

E-Mail:  falakafattah@aol.com

Website:  www.houseofumoja.org


 

CONTACT:

 

Queen Mother Falaka Fattah

House of Umoja, Inc.

(215) 473-5893

E-Mail:  falakafattah@aol.com 

 

 

“The key to the future is knowledge of your past.”

-       African Proverb

 

          Fifty two years ago in September 1968, the House of Umoja, Inc. (www.houseofumoja.net) was established by Queen Mother Falaka Fattah.  Cognizant of the fact that knowledge of the past is key to shaping the future of souls and communities,  for five decades, the  internationally acclaimed institution has designed and implemented timeless Global Models for eradicating violence, fostering community development, creating economic sustainability, and addressing many of the key challenges that prevent boys and adolescent males from reaching their full potential and maturing into productive and successful adults.  Its successful track record of positively transforming the lives of approximately 3,000 male adolescents and  reducing gang violence, moved universities and institutions to seek the House of Umoja, Inc.’s expertise.   The Office of Juvenile Justice and Prevention and the Center for Disease Control were among the institutions that sought the House of Umoja, Inc.’s expertise on gang violence reduction, youth programming, and community organizing.   Former United States Presidents The Honorable James Earl Carter, Jr. and the late Honorable Ronald Wilson Reagan recognized the House of Umoja, Inc. for its pioneering work that has been documented in the books “A Summons To Life”, by Robert Woodson of the American Enterprise Institute (www.aei.org)  in 1981 and “The Violent Juvenile Offender”, by Paul DeMuro and Richard S. Allinson of the National Council On Crime and Delinquency (www.nccdglobal.org), in 1984.

 

          The current alarmingly rising incidences of deadly gun violence in the City of Philadelphia is painfully reminiscent of rampant gun violence that extinguished lives throughout the 1960s and into the early 1970s.  Five decades ago, bloody and deadly gang violence played out in Philadelphia’s neighborhood streets and school yards.  Building on the knowledge of the past – a past replete with collaborative, holistic, and African-centered solutions – the House of Umoja, Inc. and incarcerated souls at Pennsylvania’s prisons collaborated for a period of two years to bring together warring gang leaders throughout the City of Philadelphia.  Incarcerated souls in Pennsylvania prisons planned a peace conference which the city’s gang leaders attended even selected the date on which it would be convened – 1 January 1974.  .     The 12 hour peace conference which was divided into three sessions commenced at 10:00 A.M. and concluded at 10:00 P.M.   The first session facilitated by Queen Mother Falaka Fattah provided gang leader with a history lesson – 100 years of lynching, the Middle Passage, slavery, and how African Americans were currently dying.   During the second session, facilitated by Mr. David Fattah who served as the peace conference’s negotiator, gang leaders were encouraged to ask themselves whether they knew what they were fighting for and why.  A Town Hall comprised the peace conference’s third session which ended with Mr. Fattah asking “Why not try peace”? and presenting the Imani Peace Pact™ to gang leaders.  The Imani Peace Pact™ which Mr. Fattah authored was signed by the gang leaders on 1 January 1974.  It was an act that ended decades of violent and deadly gang violence.  Signatories of the Imani Peace Pact™ continue to honor the commitment they made to nonviolence 46 years ago.   The Imani Peace Pact™, now known as the Imani Peace Pledge™,  constitutes a timeless Global Model for conflict resolution and ending gun violence.


 

House of Umoja, Inc.  --  Continuing To Build On Knowledge Of The Past

 

            Let’s take a look at how the House of Umoja, Inc. has continued to build upon the knowledge of the past.

 

February 2020 – Fathers Literacy Initiative:   Mindful of the African proverb which states “The Child who is note embraced by the village will burn it down to feel its warmth,” to prevent children from feeling unembraced by the village due to the consistent absence of Fathers in their life, the House of Umoja, Inc. designed the “Fathers Literacy Initiative”.  The initiative helps Fathers who are unable to be physically present in their child’s life on a consistent basis – Incarcerated Fathers, Homeless Fathers, Military Fathers, and NonCustodial Fathers – establish a presence in their child’s life by engaging them in reading a book together.  Incarcerated Fathers, Military Fathers Homeless Fathers, and NonCustodial Fathers participating in the Fathers Literacy Project will develop a strong bond and relationship with their child; help improve their child’s literacy skills and academic performance; and ultimately, deter their child from being caught up in the “school-to-prison” pipeline. 

 

March 2020 – A Call For Compassion In Response To COVID-19:  The House of Umoja, Inc. joined humanitarian organizations and key community stakeholders issued a “Call For Compassion” supporting the release of nonviolent offenders who are currently housed in correctional institutions as a means of protecting souls most susceptible to contracting and succumbing  to COVID-19 Pandemic  – Men, Women, and juveniles who are nonviolent offenders, would not create public safety issues for the communities they will be returned to, and who are being detained simply because they do not have the financial means to pay their bail.

 

2020 National Million Father March and The Fathers Literacy Initiative.  In 2007, when the late Mr. Phillip Jackson, founder of the National Million Father March (www.blackstarproject.org; www.millionfathersmarch.com) headquartered at the time in Chicago, Illinois, saw the need to have Fathers in Philadelphia join Fathers in hundreds of American cities to take a proactive role in their children’s education, without hesitation, he called on the House of Umoja, Inc.  Since 2007, the House of Umoja, Inc. has served as the City of Philadelphia’s leader and organizer for the National Million Father March – a leadership position it continues to hold.   The House of Umoja, Inc. encourages Fathers to become proactively involved in their child’s education at the beginning and throughout the academic year.  In 2020, under the leadership of the House of Umoja, Inc., the National Million Father March in Philadelphia is placing an intense focus on the academic performance of 4th graders – particularly, their literacy skills – throughout the 2020-2021 academic year which began on Wednesday, 2 September 2020, courtesy of the Fathers Literacy Project.  Designed and facilitated by the House of Umoja, Inc., the Fathers ,Literacy Project serves as the conduit for improving the literacy skills of 4th Graders throughout the School District of Philadelphia

 

2008 – “Think Green Peace” Campaign:  A brainchild of the House of Umoja, Inc., the three-tiered “Think Green Peace” Campaign transformed vacant lots into peace gardens that was both a source of beauty and food for communities surrounding it.  The peace gardens yielded beautifully hued and fragrant flowers and produced vegetables which addressed hunger and the need for healthy diets.  A small deep hole exists at the edge of the peace gardens.  It is where members of the communities bury their grief, anger, and sadness. The source of grief, anger or sadness is written about on biodegradable napkins or paper by members of the community which they bring to the peace gardens. During a brief ceremony that is performed, members of the community place the paper or biodegradable napkin that bears their grief, anger, or sadness in the small and deep hole that lies at the edge of the peace garden.   The hole is then covered with their dirt.   Having buried their grief, anger, and sadness in the peace garden, members of the community return to their homes – relieved of their burden.   Youths, adults, and the business community engaged in preparing the vacant lots for planting in  the Carroll Park section of West Philadelphia.  The First Philadelphia Collard Green Cultural Festival which occurred in July 2008 also constituted one of the many components of the “Think Green Peace” Campaign.

 

2006 – The Faith Of Our Fathers Peace Campaign: Moving Children To Commit To Nonviolence And Bringing Peace To A City.  The surge in violence and gun-related homicides throughout Calendar Year 2005 moved the House of Umoja, Inc. to respond by building on its knowledge from the past.  On Sunday, 1 January 2006 – on New Year’s Day – and on Imani which is Swahili for the word “faith” – the last day of Kwanzaa, the House Of Umoja, Inc. launched its Faith Of Our Fathers Peace Campaign with the convening of the 2006 Stay Alive IMANI Youth

Anti-Violence Conference at Pinn Memorial Baptist Church (http://www.pinnmemorial.org) in Philadelphia’s Wynnefield section from 1:00 P.M. through 5:00 P.M. Legislators, parents, grassroots community organizations, Fatherhood Practitioners, the electronic and print media, students from the School District of Philadelphia, educators, social entrepreneurs, and concerned community members attended the conference.


By the end of the first quarter of Calendar Year 2006, the House of Umoja, Inc. established a Steering Committee for its Faith Of Our Fathers Peace Campaign. Individuals with diverse talents comprised the Faith Of Our Fathers Peace Campaign Steering Committee and helped the House Of Umoja, Inc. create and implement initiatives designed to move children in the City of Philadelphia to commit to peace. The House Of Umoja, Inc. established “Partnerships For Peace” with the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Atwater-Kent Museum, Keepers of the Culture Storytellers, and the print and electronic media which included Radio Station WXPN. Major Philadelphia newspapers – The Philadelphia Daily News, The Philadelphia Tribune, The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Philadelphia Weekly -- published an article and the full text of the Imani Peace Pledge ™ which was based on the Imani Peace Pact™, a document crafted by the late Mr. David Fattah of the House of Umoja, Inc. that gang leaders in Philadelphia signed  on 1 January 1974.  The Imani Peace Pledge™ was published alongside the article in Philadelphia’s major newspapers during the week of 10-14 April 2006 – the Spring vacation for the School District of Philadelphia.  Students in Philadelphia’s schools would have access to and time to read the newspapers – particularly the article concerning the Faith Of Our Fathers Peace Campaign and the full text of the Imani Peace Pledge™.  Why have the full text of the Imani Peace Pledge™ published in the newspapers?  Publishing the full text of the Imani Peace Pledge™ in the newspapers that children and youth would not only read, but also sign, would give the youth and children in the City of Philadelphia an opportunity to take an active role in bringing peace to their schools, neighborhoods, and their city. Over 800 children and youth who lived and attended schools in the Greater Philadelphia area and had read the newspapers during the week of 10-14 April 2006, signed the Imani Peace Pledge™  and mailed their signed Pledges to the House Of Umoja, Inc. The strategy developed by the House Of Umoja, Inc. under the umbrella of the Faith Of Our Fathers Peace Campaign was working!


As the Imani Peace Pledge™  continued to capture the attention and imagination of children and youth throughout the City Of Philadelphia during the Spring of 2006, the House Of Umoja, Inc. created a Student Non-Violence Poster Competition in which students from Philadelphia’s middle and high schools participated. The students were asked to create posters that symbolized one of the following themes: Non-Violence, Peace In The Hood, Family Harmony, and The Greatness Of Our African-American Heritage. They were also asked to sign the Imani Peace Pledge™ and submit the signed Pledge along with their artwork to The House Of Umoja, Inc. Three works of arts were selected for cash prizes and an additional four works of art received honorable mention. All of the artwork submitted by the students became a component of a traveling exhibit displayed on 10 September 2006 at the Penn Cinema in Philadelphia at an “Artist Reception” that preceded the premiere of “I Come In Peace”, a play written by students.

The House Of Umoja, Inc.’s efforts to move a new generation of children in the City of Philadelphia to commit to nonviolence did not escape the attention of the city’s Mayor. The Honorable John F. Street, Mayor of the City of Philadelphia, issued a proclamation which declared the week of 15-20 May 2006 as “Faith Of Our Fathers Week” throughout Philadelphia. During “Faith Of Our Fathers Week”, an illuminated sign perched atop a Center City Philadelphia skyscraper which housed the Philadelphia Electric Company carried a special message: “Sign The Imani Peace Pledge(TM)”! Members of Men Making A Difference held its Day Of Community Service at the House Of Umoja, Inc. on Saturday, 20 May 2006 which took the form of “cleaning up and fixing up the block” while WURD 900 AM Radio held a live broadcast at the House Of Umoja, Inc. for several hours during which it conducted a “Radiothon” fundraiser for the organization. The artwork submitted by students throughout the City of Philadelphia who participated in the Student Non-Violence Poster Competition were displayed; live entertainment and refreshments were provided for the neighborhood, members of community organizations and invited guests; and face painting and a moon bounce were provided for the children.


The House Of Umoja, Inc.’s efforts to move the children and youth of the City of Philadelphia to commit to peace was punctuated in the beginning of the last quarter of 2006 by the premiere of a play, “I Come In Peace”, on 10 September 2006 at Cinema at Penn in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The play was the product of the House Of Umoja, Inc.’s Summer 2006 Career Exploration Program and a celebration of the House Of Umoja, Inc.’s “Peace In the Hood” Campaign To Stop The Violence. The youthful performers and collaborators who staged works about Violence and Peace Initiatives on 10 September 2006 at Cinema at Penn -- Marquis Blackston, Anton Cochran, Terrell Edwards, David Morris, Deneisha Overby, Jerome Rorie, Jabril Ward, and Shaun White --also participated in the House Of Umoja, Inc.’s Summer 2006 Career Exploration Program.


So, how effective were the violence prevention and peace promotion activities provided by The House Of Umoja, Inc. in schools in the City of Philadelphia which took the form of, among other things, workshops, and assemblies? The School District Of Philadelphia’s Evaluation Report contained the following excerpted data which reflects a decrease in serious incidents from the 2004-2005 Academic Year through the 2005-2006 Academic Year for the following schools which received service from the House of Umoja, Inc.:

 

·         Bluford Elementary School: The number of serious incidents decreased by 41% in serious incidents.

 

·         Overbrook High School: The number of serious incidents decreased from 202 to 135, reflecting a 33% decrease in serious incidents.

 

·         Powell Elementary School: The number of serious incidents decreased by 25%.

·         Barry (Shoemaker) Middle School: The number of serious incidents decreased from 84 to 59, reflecting a 30% decrease in serious incidents.


 

The House Of Umoja, Inc. At 52 --  An Eye On The Future

 

        Having spent half of a century creating Global Models for eradicating violence, fostering community development, creating economic and environmental sustainability by utilizing knowledge from the past, the House of Umoja, Inc. is being looked upon as an institute of learning and a shaper of the future by key community stakeholders and global citizens.  At 52, the House of Umoja, Inc. is vibrant and has its eye on the future – the future of the City of Philadelphia and its citizens.   What’s next for the House of Umoja, Inc.? 

 

The House Of Umoja Lifelong Learning Campus – Aquaponics, aviation technology, and coding are a sample of course offerings that this institute will offer to students of all ages – particularly, children and youths.  Training that provides skills to initiate and develop businesses that serve the needs of the future along with instruction in hydroponic technology that will be implemented to grow vegetables and fish and coding to develop apps and other technological programs for use in today’s and tomorrow’s world will also await students of all ages. The institute will provide cultural enrichment, urban farming programs, entrepreneurial skills training, and prepare community members to successfully navigate the Millennium’s global workplace and provide the community with violence prevention resources. 

 

Urban Agriculture – What will Urban Agriculture look like at the House Of Umoja Lifelong Learning Campus?  Provided below are an overview of its components:

 

  • ·         Community Farm and Garden Market
  • ·         Greenhouse Soil Farming/Propogation
  • ·         Composting Vermiculture and Soil Remediation
  • ·         Rainwater Collection and Green Roofing
  • ·         Native Tree Planting
  • ·         Classrooms and Laboratories

The House of Umoja Lifelong Learning Campus will also offer mixed-used office features that include: 

 

·         Jobs and Administration

·         Kitchen

·         Creative spaces for young artists and entrepreneurs

·         Aviation Program

·         Trauma resources and support for families

·         Event space for local entertainment, “meet and greets”, and youth programs

·         Coding and app development-focused after school program

·         Security Institute (International Rescue Cities)

 

        For the House of Umoja, Inc. and the City of Philadelphia and its citizens, the best is yet to come! 

 

         To learn more about the House of Umoja, Inc. and how you can join the House of Umoja, Inc. in co-creating the future, contact Queen Mother Falaka Fattah by calling (215) 473-5893 or by sending an e-mail to: falakafattah@aol.com.  Alternatively, visit the institution’s website at www.houseofumoja.net.

 

15 September, 2020

WHEN THE DOCTOR TRIES TO KILL YOU: MICHAEL D. JOHNSON, M.D., F.A.C.S.


The issue of physician-assisted suicide is gathering momentum across the nation and specifically within our state. As a healthcare professional, I was trained to comfort the sick and preserve life. I was trained to do no harm.” What I was not trained to do is to help hasten a patients death. 

 And thats exactly what will happen if physician-assisted suicide is legalized in Delaware. 

 There is a high potential for abuse and misuse in proposed assisted suicide laws. To put it frankly, it is simply too dangerous. We cannot trust the motives of the families seeking to end an elderly family members life so they can inherit the estate. We cannot trust the motives of the insurance companies that know it will be far cheaper to cover the cost of a handful of pills as opposed to the cost of yearsworth of care for a patient facing a terminal disease. Furthermore, we cannot blindly trust the physicians prognosis as its an educated guess at best. 

 These types of mistakes and abuse are already happening in states where physician assisted suicide is legal. 

 One such example is Thomas Middleton. In 2008, Middleton was diagnosed with Lou Gehrigs disease. A month after moving into the home of Tami Sawyer, his estate trustee, Middleton died by assisted suicide. Just days after Middleton’s death, Sawyer listed the property for sale and deposited $90,000 into her own bank account. Inexcusably, no one caught this blatant abuse while it was happening. Only after an investigation into real estate fraud was the abuse Middleton suffered at the hands of Sawyer exposed.

 Another example is Kate Cheney in Oregon. Cheney, 85, was diagnosed with an early stage of dementia. When her physician refused to provide the lethal assisted suicide drugs, Cheney doctor-shopped until she found a physician willing to prescribe the drugs. The second physician that Cheney sought the lethal drugs from ordered a psychiatric evaluation. The evaluation concluded that Cheney was not in the right frame of mind to make a decision about assisted suicide and her request was denied. Determined to obtain assisted suicide drugs, Cheney sought another physician. After a second psychiatric evaluation, Cheneys was deemed competent enough to request assisted suicide, but the report evaluation noted that external factors, such as Cheneys daughter, were potentially coercive. Instead of investigating the extent to which Cheneys daughter was coercing her into assisted suicide, Cheney received the drugs and died.

 Assisted suicide laws simply are not capable of protecting vulnerable patients from this type of abuse and coercion.

 Physician-assisted suicide is promoted as a patient taking a pill and dying a peaceful death. In reality, dosage has evolved from taking 100 capsules of Seconal to use of experimental drug cocktails. Experimenting with combinations of drugs is research,” which has not been approved by any ethics review committee like an Institutional Review Board. And that violates research ethics standards. According to The Atlantic, No medical association oversees aid in dying, and no government committee helps fund the research…The doctorswork {to experiment with drugs which kill patients} has taken place on the margins of traditional science. Despite their principled intentions, its a part of medicine thats still practiced in the shadows.”   

 Giving healthcare professionals the power to assist a patient in ending their life is dangerous. There is nothing compassionate about it. We must protect our patients. After all, if we wont protect them, who will? 

 I urge you to please take the time to stay informed about the dangers of physician-assisted suicide. I also strongly encourage you to share with others about this devastating piece of legislation. Let the no vote always be no. It is the right thing to do. 

____________________________

 Michael D. Johnson, MD, FACS, is a board certified general surgeon who spent 23 years working on the mission field before returning to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to found the Miriam Medical Clinics that offer hope and healing to the citys underserved. He is the Delaware State Director for the American Academy of Medical Ethics. 

11 September, 2020

''BEST ADVICE EVER RECEIVED: A MENTORING GUIDE FOR YOUNG MINDS AND THOSE WHO NURTURE THEM"---GLOBAL MENTORING RESOURCE CRAFTED BY MR. OLA AKINWE

 


              ‘Best Advice Ever Received: A Mentoring Guide For Young Minds And Those Who Nurture Them,” (https://www.bmanadvocacy.org/best-advice-ever-received-pre-order-form/is an empowering and extraordinary literary work and global mentoring resource masterfully crafted by Mr. Ola Akinwe, the Founder of the Boys Mentoring Advocacy Network and Nigeria’s National Coordinator for International Men’s Day and World Day of the Boy Child.  He puts into practice the instructive African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.”    Mr. Akinwe clearly understands that our children are more than mere reflections of ourselves – they represent the “Next Generation Of Leaders” – the village’s future.  He called upon the village to raise its children – the “Next Generation of Leaders” --  by positively shaping their minds and souls.  Thirty-two souls from diverse professional backgrounds heeded his call by collectively donning the mantle of Village Elder and sharing  the wise counsel they received from their Elders and Mentors with the global  village’s children through “Best Advice Ever Received:  A Mentoring Guide For Young Minds And Those Who Nurture Them”.    Imparting wise counsel to a young soul is, in fact, “raising the child”.   Powerful life lessons about patience, diligence,  learning from criticism, investing one’s time wisely, self-reliance, and the power of choices penned by thirty-two Village Elders assembled by Mr. Akinwe await young readers of Best Advice Ever Received:  A Mentoring Guide For Young Minds And Those Who Nurture Them”. Parents, educators, school administrators, health care professionals and providers, social services professionals and providers, community members, and mentors throughout our global village will find “Best Advice Ever Received: A Mentoring Guide For Young Minds And Those Who Nurture Them” to be a valuable tool in helping the “Next Generation Of Leaders” successfully navigate their journey from childhood to adulthood.   

 

          In many ways and, for many reasons, “Best Advice Ever Received:  A Mentoring Guide For Young Minds And Those Who Nurture Them,” is Africa’s gift to the world.

Diane Aisha Sears

Queen Mother, House of Houetchi, Ouidah, Benin Republic, Africa








                                             

COVID-19 PRISON UPDATES -- SCI CHESTER; SCI DALLAS; SCI PHOENIX

IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD® (http://globalfatherhooddialogue.blogspot.com) and the United States International Men’s Day IMPARTIAL AND FAIR TRE...