Nov 28 2007

UPDATE: More reaction here and here.

UPDATE: WATE coverage here.

UPDATE: More here.

UPDATE: More must read commentary here.

UPDATE: Associated Press wire coverage here, here, here, here, and here.

UPDATE: And here.

Original post follows...

A meeting last night at the Blount County Library that was advertised as a rally to support embattled Circuit Court Judge W. Dale Young turned out to be a partisan Republican event to criticize the Daily Times and bash ordinary citizens who dare to speak out and ask questions.

According to the Daily Times, the meeting was organized and paid for by the local Republican Party, and Blount County Republican Mayor Jerry Cunningham gave the "keynote" address. Other attendees included Blount County Republican Party Chair and County Finance Director Dave Bennett, who organized the "rally", Blount County Sheriff James Berrong, Maryville City Manager Greg McClain, and state Rep. Doug Overbey.

Judge Young, who is currently under judicial review according to the Daily Times, did not attend.

Mayor Cunningham retried some of Judge Young's recent cases from his bully pulpit. Cunningham declared that an immigrant seeking an order of protection was "illegal" (noting that "the liberal left, they don’t like you using those words. It's supposed to be undocumented, or whatever the devil is politically correct.").

He said "these are facts that could have been garnished [sic], had anybody done the legwork." Aside from the fact he probably meant "garnered", he asserts that her "green card" had expired.

That's wrong on two counts. From what I understand, she doesn't have a "green card" (which I believe is permanent resident alien status), but rather a temporary worker's permit, and her permit renewal was delayed by a paperwork backup at ICE and she had a letter extending her authorization until January so the renewal could be processed.

This has, I believe, all been reported in the Daily Times. But don't let the facts get in the way of a good stump speech.

Cunningham also suggested that she has no legal standing, but failed to mention that all persons have equal protection under the law as provided by the United States Constitution. It's surprising that a former U.S. Attorney would not know this.

Mayor Cunningham said that he had gone down to the courthouse himself to check into the woman's case. This seems rather extraordinary, but in the current political climate we suppose it's not surprising.

Cunningham also retried another recent case before Judge Young involving a divorce, revealing new facts that have not been reported, but without sourcing or substantiating them.

All of this is quite extraordinary. But here's the most amusing part from the article:

"Judge Young’s not only been attacked by the unfair reporting, he’s been attacked by some of these bloggers," he [Cunningham] said. "And the bloggers that do the attacking — if you ever have time to look at that trash — are always anonymous.

"If you’re going to do that, at least have ... the testicular fortitude to say it to my face," he said.

I suppose there have been some anonymous comments re. Judge Young here, but the most outspoken critics, including an attorney involved in one of the cases, have signed their names. Perhaps there are some other blogs he's referring to.

But seriously. Mayor Cunningham is seriously worried that people are getting involved and actually talking about local government in a forum outside the corporate and government controlled media? What is he so worried about? Was this some kind of preemptive diversionary tactic to head off some other trouble brewing?

By the way, who sent all those letters to Mayor Cunningham demanding an investigation into alleged conflicts of interests involving Democrats on County Commission? As far as we know, those people are all still "anonymous".

Anyway, read the whole article to "garnish" a full appreciation of just what kind of leadership we have here in Blount County. It's amazing to me that the voters of Blount County elected such an embarrassment.

Signed, R. Neal, Alcoa TN

for the record, I got ovaries

And who wants to visit the mayor in his skybox?

Holy smokes! They have the audio on-line! OMG! Listen! The source of the rabble.... He ain't no good old boy or part of any machine.

Now, we, in our typical way must pull apart the comments made in the article.

Check out the story on WATE

Here's a link to the LEAD story on WATE: (link...)

Make sure you look at the video and notice the men in blue at the back of the room. Then tell me if it is legal to attend a political function in your county/city-issue uniform.

And in the video of Cunningham's speech, he suggests that Dale Young get a lawyer and demand an apology from the Daily Times (like James Wright did). Can a public official (elected) sue a paper for reporting what citizens say about the performance of their duty?

Excellent Point!!

"Now, we, in our typical way must pull apart the comments made in the article."

Similar to a former CIA funded rebel getting what he wanted (bankrupting the US economy with a Forever War), if we babble on and on, about something as insignificant as one's fear of public perception, then we merely feed fuel to the fire of: "See. I told you so. Look what they're writing." The Internets can be a two edged sword.

Blow off the comments, and stick to the Progressive path of accepting all, questioning methodology, fighting for rights and logic, and protecting the future of a sustainable Blount County.

viva Evo Morales


Uh, not to be confused with hilarity.

In every comment that the I have made relative to issues involving Blount County and Judge W. Dale Young and the KATHY WRIGHT CASE, I have owned my comments by placing my name, address, phone number (and even my picture) to the comments. And this is characterized by Jerry Cunningham as anonymous?

For the record, no one in Blount County government nor the Daily Times (after Rick Laney was apparently removed from reporting on the Wright, Calixto and White cases) has contacted my office to investigate their collective interpretation of the facts of the Wright case, with one exception: The office of Judge W. Dale Young contacted my office to tell me that Kathy Wright's scheduled hearing on November 14, 2007, of her numerous petitions had to be rescheduled due to Judge Young's illness.

Yea, sure, I am going to Jerry's office and confront him? Last time I checked, Jerry is the County Mayor, which makes him a member of the executive branch of Blount County government. Dale is a member of the judicial branch. Doug Overbey, whom I consider a personal friend, is a member of the legislative branch (though he does practice law).

Whatever happened to the concept of 'separation of powers'? Oh, I forgot that this is Blount County.

Thomas F. Mabry
P. O. Box 52385
Knoxville, TN 37950

Fax 1-888-215-3119
Phone 1-865-271-9224

Listened to the audio and another thing that bothers me...

If Jerry Cunningham wasn't wearing his County Mayor hat (as he said), presumably meaning that his position isn't relative to his participation, than why start the meeting by asking all the county "officeholders" to identify themselves? And Doug Overbey, AND Senator Finney, who sent his "regards." This is blatant use of position for the purpose of bolstering Judge Young while discrediting others, and potentially affecting the outcome of the cases. The ongoing cases.

Mayor Cunningham spent a good bit of time explaining that the Code of Judicial Ethics prevent Dale Young from attending an "event like this" when the litigation is still ongoing. Apparently, there aren't other ethics rules that prevent Mayors, Assistant Mayors, and State Legislators from doing the same. And did I hear Cunningham right? WAS CRAIG GARRETT (ATTORNEY FOR THE MEN IN 2 OF THE 3 CASES) PRESENT AT THE RALLY FOR JUDGE YOUNG WHILE THERE IS IMPENDING LITIGATION? AND MIKE HICKMAN, THE FORMER ATTORNEY FOR MR. CALIXTO?

I'm hoping that at least, since Cunningham stated he wasn't up there as Mayor, our tax dollars won't go toward defending him if Mrs. Calixto (neither public official or figure) sues him for slander.

No silence here . . .

Comment to the blog of Michael Silance:

A meeting last night at the Blount County Library that was advertised as a rally to support embattled Circuit Court Judge W. Dale Young turned out to be a partisan Republican event to criticize the Daily Times and bash ordinary citizens who dare to speak out and ask questions.

And this: While there are many important points to consider in today's The Daily Times article about the rally for Judge Young, I can't get past my embarrassment of hearing our county mayor talk about "testicular fortitude."

I think that he was talking about us, but whatever he was saying is lost on me because all I can think is..."he did NOT just say 'testicular fortitude.'"

It wouldn't surprise me if these are the same people who back the watering down of the Open Meetings Act.

Posted by Michael Silence on November 28, 2007 at 10:41 AM>

Greetings all:

Apparently Mayor Jerry Cunningham has 'investigated' the case of Kathy H. Wright vs. James C. Wright, Knox Chancery
Docket number 14777532-2, as he commented as reported in The Daily Times: "You know the furniture that was burned to stay warm, that was furniture awarded to that man by the court — it was his momma’s antique furniture — and his ex-wife set it on fire,” Cunningham said, though not citing the source of his information.

Perhaps Mayor Cunningham, a lawyer, is not aware of Rule 3.6 of the Rules of Professional Conduct for lawyers in the State of Tennessee. Rule 3.6 provides, in pertinent part:

"Rule 3.6

(a) A lawyer who is participating or has participated in the investigation or litigation of a matter shall not make an extrajudicial statement that the lawyer knows or reasonably should know will be disseminated by means of public communication and will have a substantial likelihood of materially prejudicing an adjudicative proceeding . . ."

Initially, one comment is incorrect: momma Wright's furniture was NOT awarded to Mr. Wright, in fact, the matter of the award of momma Wright's "antique" furniture was never litigated and Kathy Wright would testify under oath that momma Wright gave Kathy joint ownership of the burned furniture.

Where else would Jerry arrive at his conclusion without discussing this matter with attorney Jim Wright? It is interesting that Mayor Cunningham and Jim Wright have a legal history: Jim Wright represented Mayor Cunningham in a malpractice suit in 1988 in the matter of Anthony v. Felknor and Cunningham, et. al. Of course, in his public support of Judge Young, and being associated professionally and perhaps personally with Jim Wright, Mayor Cunningham would not be biased toward Jim Wright against Kathy Wright, now would he?

Of course, bloggers should not be silenced unless the truth be silenced as well. Again, as said elsewhere, Jerry never contacted my office to get facts . . . and in his comments to the throng gathered on November 27, 2007, Jerry Cunningham failed to mention that his high school friend was presiding over a case where his former attorney is a litigant.

Hummm . . .

Note: this author does not necessarily represent the views of disciplinary counsel for the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility and leaves any interpretation of Rule 3.6 to the appropriate authority.

Thomas F. Mabry
P. O. Box 52385
Knoxville, TN 37950

Fax 1-888-215-3119
Phone 1-865-271-9224

Can other judges to hear the Wright case?

Correction: Wright v. Wright is a Knox County case, NOT a Blount County case: Knox Chancery Docket number 147753-2 . . . Not to belabor the point, but Wright v. Wright is a a Knox County case being heard by an 'embattled' Blount County judge. Judge Young is 'embattled' in significant part because of his voluntary participation in the Wright v. Wright case-Judge Young chose NOT to remove himself from presiding in the Wright case when requested to do so.

There are 95 counties in the State of Tennessee and countless judges who preside outside of Blount County, TN. In fact, in March, 2006, one of these judges, John Rollins of Coffee County (Manchester) held a judicial settlement conference addressing many issues raised by the Wright litigants including the Order of Protection issue . . . Kathy Wright even filed a joinder of Knox Chancery Docket number 147753-2 with the case over which Judge Rollins presided because of the similarity of the issues presented . . . though the joinder motion was denied, all Knox County judges voluntarily recused themselves as did Judge Dale Workman because he felt that a judge unfamiliar with Jim Wright and his law practice should preside over major-"unretracted"-issues raised in Rick Laney's original article.


Thomas F. Mabry
P. O. Box 52385
Knoxville, TN 37950

Fax 1-888-215-3119
Phone 1-865-271-9224

watering down the story

Sure looks like this story is getting more watered down the more it moves out of the area, unlike the original story on the legal immigrant. Considering the issue was three cases reported and the rally* was about two of those cases, I expect to soon read a west coast report that is simply mayor supports judge.

I can't help thinking one of the major universities will use all of this in their Comparative Media Studies program.

The Seventh Day Adventist

You're right! I missed that, while Cunningham gave details on 2 of the cases, he didn't say a word about the hour-long grilling of the Seventh Day Adventist on the finer points of the "Mark of the Beast" in Garrett's self-proclaimed attempt to show religious fanaticism.

I know that when your kids are older they can choose to live with their dad, so that made it all the more an irrelevant line of questioning for the judge to allow, much less participate in.

Wonder why the omission? Wasn't there supposed to be another hearing in December?

bye, bye political career

(link...) (link...)

Thanks for the updated links R. From the Tri-Cities to Memphis with two outlets in Nashville, this story sure is getting a lot of attention. I heard the Mayor had designs on higher office. Maybe he shouldn't have followed the Ragsdale plan.

For the GOP politicians who seem intent on hitching their ride to the Mayors, you may want to try something less dangerous like running with siccors or drinking lead paint.

As I saw commented on another website...

One thing these stories fail to consider is that not only did Judge Young dismiss the Order of Protection, but also failed to render a decision on the divorce itself. Apparently, they were both to be addressed in that same hearing. [Is that correct, Alice?]

So Cunningham's just blowing smoke when saying she didn't meet the criteria for an Order of Protection; surely she met the criteria for a divorce! Could he be trying to distract from that fact that Young didn't give a ruling that day because he didn't think she was legal?


Yes, Local, Hickman wanted to push through the divorce the same day as the Order of Protection. Judge Young decided he had no jurisdiction (sic?) as he considered both illegal aliens and not legal residents of Tennessee.
Actually he did Ana a favor, as her husband was asking for total custody of the children and child support from Ana. If this had went through that day, with Ana's limited English and no attorney, she would have lost her children.
What is most disturbing to me about the Mayor's speech is how he has led the public to believe that Ana was illegally here. If he had wanted to "investigate" as throughly as RL did one or two phone calls would have gotten him access to any and all of Ana's documentation.

"Legwork" with one foot nailed to the floor

If he had wanted to "investigate" as throughly as RL did one or two phone calls would have gotten him access to any and all of Ana's docummentation.

Remember AB, the mayor "garnished" his facts down at the courthouse. He and Laney didn't go to high school together, and we know the Mayors circle of influence only includes the good ol boys. Laney just hasn't been around long enough to accommodate Cunningham - “Because it’s not The Daily Times I grew up with."

They just won't report the truth as he sees it anymore - Oh the hubris!

Meanwhile- BT is MIA

In the audio the mayor jokes with someone called Sherry about who she would or would not employ. Since the BT's website is broken and I never seem to find a copy of the print version could someone tell us if they covered this event in print?

Maybe the website is broken because they are wanting to clear it of any blogger* comments which they may or may not have on there.


I talked to someone at BlountToday and she said their web provider had a scheduled maintance that went haywire -- some kind of tweaking of their system. Very apologetic and offered to email me story I was interested in, which I have posted below. Said system should be up tonight.

I know we're suppose to hate them, but they are always just so darn nice and seem to dedicated to their idea of community coverage, which, I guess doesn't match most of ours as far as independent investigations.

Ms. Ward,
I apologize for the problems with the Website. Corporate is upgrading and missed their deadline of having everything finished by 10 this morning. We are hoping they will finish their work, and they can finish their work by 3.
Here's the story you requested. I have attached a PDF and pasted it below.
Sherri Gardner Howell

Rally for Judge Young brings praise, emotions

By Sherri Gardner Howell
Blount Today

Blount County’s mayor was angry and emotional as he stood before a room of more than 160 citizens Tuesday night at the Blount County Public Library. He stood, he said, as a concerned citizen, saying he was not there as mayor but to support a friend.

The gathering was a rally to support Blount County Circuit Court Judge W. Dale Young, who has been the subject of recent news reports alleging judicial misconduct in two cases. One involved a woman who accused Judge Young of denying an order of protection from her estranged husband because she was an immigrant. The other alleged the mishandling of a divorce case involving a Knoxville attorney.

Judge Young was not at the rally, and Mayor Cunningham said that the canons of his position prevented him from attending as the cases in question are still active cases.

Cunningham said he was “troubled” by what has been happening, saying the reporting was “unfair.” Before he addressed some of the specifics in each case, Cunningham spoke of Judge Young’s character.

“Judge Dale Young is my friend,” he said. “I knew Dale Young to be the epitome of integrity in everything he ever did. How many people in here have been the recipient of a kindness from Dale Young? Hold your hands up. I don’t see a hand in here that’s not held up.

“To see him ambushed, shanghaied, side-winded, and everything that’s been done to him angers me just like it does Gen. Tiebout.”
Gen. Robert Tiebout also spoke at the event, saying, “I have nothing to gain, and you have nothing to gain, but when I see principled people who are being attacked … it upsets me.”

After the meeting, Tiebout said he had known Judge Young for over 14 years and had had dealings with him in judicial matters and found him to be a true leader. “Because he is a true leader and demonstrates all the leadership principles we as a country are looking for, he deserves support when he is being attacked.”
Brian Frazier, a deputy in the Blount County Sheriff’s office, said he was at the rally to support Judge Young. “I deal with Judge Young in court, and I find him to be someone I respect and look up to,” Frazier said.

Assistant County Mayor Dave Bennett introduced the speakers, pointing out that the room was filled with Republicans, Democrats, men and women. He said he was at the rally as a private citizen who was “tired of a friend of mine being criticized for doing his job.
“This is not about race,” Bennett said. “This is not about ethnicity. This is not about religion. The message we want Judge Young to know is that he is doing a tremendous job.”

The mayor outlined several points in the cases that he says have been reported unfairly, with bias and without checking the facts.
“I’m not a reporter,” he said, “but I went to the courthouse, and I found out things in just a snap that anybody could have found out if they had bothered to look.”

Cunningham went on to discuss the points he said had been overlooked or not reported in both cases and read the group the Journalists’ Code of Ethics.
“Things have got to change,” he said. “We’ve got to have reporting that is fair and balanced.”

With obvious emotion, the mayor said, “If you’ve ever practiced law and done an adoption in front of (Judge Young) and seen him shell out of his own pocket and have a party for an adoptive child, it angers me to see him hurt, and it hurts me to see him hurt.

“Judge Young doesn’t need the headlines. His life speaks for itself.”

Cunningham added that Judge Young has had 23 years of “unblemished service” to Blount County and now is being attacked not just by traditional media, but by bloggers.

“Judge Young’s not only been attacked by the unfair reporting,” Cunningham said, “he’s been attacked by these bloggers. And the bloggers that do the attacking, if you ever have time to look at that trash, are always anonymous. They will anonymously attack you on somebody’s website, and it will say anonymous or some false name.”

The rally attracted an A-list of Blount County citizens and elected officials, including Sheriff James Berrong, State Rep. Doug Overbey, Bill Dunlap, Keith and Peggy McCord, Peggy Lambert, Maryville City Manager Greg McClain, several from the Blount County Republican Women’s Club, Roy Crawford and several county commissioners.

not hate-

Not hate, just disagree with certain types of repeating they do.

“Judge Young doesn’t need the headlines. His life speaks for itself.”

Of course since the public seems to have forgotten this issue they thought having this event would keep the man out of the headlines?

D- Thanks for calling them and getting their version of the story.

Big of them

Assistant County Mayor Dave Bennett introduced the speakers, pointing out that the room was filled with Republicans, Democrats, men and women.

They let Democrats and women in? Now that's news! Because we know that's not always the policy; (link...) But that's how it's done in most places, right?; (link...)

But at least the sheriff still puts citizens at the top of his organizational chart. BTW, I'm I reading this chart correctly when it states Internal Affairs reports directly and solely to the Sheriff? (link...)

Big of them

Is my machine weird or is there something up with the links on Internal Affairs above? I get a bus schedule... I would like to read it. Can you try again with the link? thxs dw

Mine is acting funny too

My machine is doing funny things too, you might want to try this one; (link...) or this one;$38275

I'm not sure, but it looked like a bus company has hijacked into the BCSO servers and set up a fake website using a Blount County Taxpayer owned domain name. I hope this isn't wasting Homeland Security money. We'll be looking to see that any ad revenue generated from a county owned website goes into the proper cost centers. You may want to contact your friend at BT so they can call Marian OBriant to see if she might have information.

I hope the web savvy members of the BCSO will catch the offenders. When they bring the crooks to justice, I hope the Judge throws the school book a them.

At any rate, I still have a copy of the chart in question. I don't think it's changed, so I'm sure IA is the same and I think IT still reports to French.

Sheriff's website kaput?

Maybe someone forgot to pay the rent on the domain name?

Or maybe he's tired of us looking at it and cackling...


It simply looks like the domain name was not renewed and DSTR ACQUISITION VII, LLC is one of those companies that instantly buys domains when they expire. Weird.

The A List

The rally attracted an A-list of Blount County citizens and elected officials...

I wonder who the B list is? I wonder how far down the list goes? Is it an A - Z thing?

I wonder what "type" people would the publisher consider Z-listers? I wonder if advertisers are rated the same as citizens?

Is Blount Today affiliated with Entertainment Tonight? Maybe next time they can role out the red carpet for the "A list".

This is really quite

This is really quite troubling.

A-list (link...)
NOUN: Informal A list or group of the most admired or desirable people, as for a job or social gathering: famous actors on the casting director's A list; a private party for Hollywood's A-list.

BT, reporting or editorializing? "Most admired or desirable people"?
Thanks at least for making your position on our current government clear.

A- list?

The A word can't be ACCOUNTABILITY


I think the DT coverage was TERRIFIC, because it was thorough. And in reporting the event thoroughly - as opposed to Blount Today's sound-byte version, even the most jaundiced reader could see what kind of bull hockey the Mayor was selling.

was the BT version

was the BT version of the event in both their on-line and print editions?


Okay, just trying to be fair here -- which I have always thought was what was accomplished through good blogging.
DT lead:

A who’s who of Blount County politics showed up Tuesday to show support for Blount County Circuit Court Judge W. Dale Young, who is currently the subject of a judicial review by the Tennessee Court of the Judiciary.

Definitions and thesaurus of Who's Who:
Who's Who: the outstanding or influential persons in a community, industry, profession, or other group:

Who's Who synonyms: (Rogert's Thesaurus): upper class group
Synonyms: blue book, directory, social register

Who's Who: upper class
Synonyms: aristocracy, beau monde, beautiful people, country set, elite, flower, gentry, glitterati, haut monde, high life, high society, jet set, main line, patriciate, polite society, quality, smart set, the 400, top drawer, upper crust

Seems to me only different in Who's Who and A-List is the messenger...

40% and rising

When I was younger, you could buy an entry in the Who's Who registry. But your right, either way it's bad form.

Maybe, our two papers can get together to decide on using an "aristocracy of desirable people". Although with Joe Gallagher getting 40% of the vote before these elites started habitually showing themselves, it may be a mute point going forward.

Okay, I wanted to be quiet about this

But what does, "A reporter should examine his or her own Cultural values, and avoid imposing those values on others" mean? I'm trying to grasp every possible translation of this, and for the life of me, cannot understand what is implied by "Cultural Values".

viva Evo Morales

I keep telling you...

Laney must be Latino!

Anyone notice that Sherry Gardner Howell left out the story on the case of the Seventh Day Adventist grilled for an hour about her religion, too? Now that's a coincidence.

And more attendees revealed! Keith McCord was there and several commissioners... let's see if we can name 'em.


Wasn't his law firm the one the mayor used to settle the Hatcher case? Their "big" group just keeps getting smaller and smaller.

“Judge Young doesn’t need the headlines. His life speaks for itself.”

Found that odd also. After all, what were they there for? Oh, that's right - to bash The Daily Times.

I figured "cultural values"

I figured "cultural values" was code speak for "_______ lover" (fill in the blank with any of the usual right-wing targets).

From "Mr. Anonymous"

Geez, I still have not heard from Jerry-I suppose that he does not read these blogs, which would not surprise me as Jerry would have had to visit Dale Young's office to review the thousands of pages of documents in the Wright file prior to making his public statements on Tuesday night-after all, this is not a Blount County case. If Jerry is carrying out his duties as county mayor, it would seem ludicrous for him to spend countless hours reviewing the Wright file, hence my skepticism of his comments. The Wright case, after all. is a Knox County case. I'm not certain, but it appears that Jerry may have received his information on Wright v. Wright from the offices of the Daily Times' legal counsel prior to the 'retraction' of Rick Laney's article, hence Jerry apparently received only information that attorney Jim Wright would want him to receive and transmit to the public.

But I digress.

More importantly, Jerry's verbal comments as posted by the DT have been reviewed.

As I recall, I took a mandatory class in Constitutional Law as a portion of my law school education. To reiterate, Jerry is the County Mayor, which makes him a member of the executive branch of Blount County government. Dale Young is a member of the judicial branch. Doug Overbey is a member of the legislative branch. Jerry's mix of the three independent branches of government by friendship, proxy or otherwise is an outrageous display unbecoming of a former United States attorney. And one wonders why the perception of the legal profession by the public is so low.

The relevance of Jerry Cunningham's comments escape me as does the outpouring of 'public sentiment' (150 people of a population of 160,000 in Blount County) for Judge Young at the 'non-political' meeting on Tuesday.

Stay tuned. More will be revealed.

Tom Mabry

Thomas F. Mabry
P. O. Box 52385
Knoxville, TN 37950

Fax 1-888-215-3119
Phone 1-865-271-9224


There's a powerful letter to the editor in the Daily Times today on the topic of immigration: ((link...)).

Ms. Freestate's letter

Ms. Freestate's letter expresses what I have known all along - The thing that brings the illegal immigrant here is desperation.
I have been told many stories from legal and illegal persons about why they are here and the dangers they face in "crossing".
Ms. Calixto watched her father drug from their home and beaten during the Nicaragua crisis (US backed) in the '80's. She watched her cousin being murdered after they cut off his ears and jammed a stick down his throat. A 50 year old woman from Honduras cried, after all the years, as she told me she was sold at age 12 to a 30 year old man who "raped me every day". She escaped at age 20.
A man who said he and his wife lived in a cardboard house.
A man who told me, "Now when my daughter needs new shoes, I don't have to tell her no."
I often tell them it is outside the bounds of my reality to understand what they have gone through.
Thank you, Ms. Freestate for sharing your family's story and expressing the humanity of your people, maybe touching the heart of someone who can help with the immigration situation.

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