Do your part to make sure others are fed
It’s been a rough year for many people, but the less fortunate have been hit especially hard. Last year, when I volunteered at local food shelters, I was happy to see how the canned foods that my school and others had donated were going to such a good use. My concern now is that the virus is making people choose between their food and personal safety. Eating at a food shelter in such close proximity to others can pose a serious threat of getting sick.
That’s why I think it’s important for all people to help feed the poor and hungry. We can’t rely on food shelters right now, and as Thanksgiving approaches, I think it’s a better time than ever to stop and realize this. I know I’m grateful for being able to eat safely this Thanksgiving. Please do your part to help others be safe, too. No person should ever have to live with food insecurity.
Grant Dworzanowski, St. Petersburg
National Adoption Awareness Month
Step up to help
Each November, our county shines its brightest spotlight on adoption with National Adoption Awareness Month. This is a time to celebrate those whose lives are impacted by adoption and to support expectant mothers in difficult circumstances who are courageously making adoption plans for their children.
This is also a time to raise awareness of the children in foster care who are waiting to be adopted and to raise the collective consciousness about adoption, starting right here in our own corner of the sky. Our foster care kids are crying out, yet discouragingly more children enter the foster care system each year than leave. Tragically, many “age out” at age 18, their hopes and dreams for adoption vanquished, left to stare down the harrowing world that is adulthood without the comfort, care, and guidance of a “forever family.” These foster care kids endure enough, with many not just bouncing from pillar to post among various foster homes, but many also frequently wrenched away and separated from siblings. We must not consign these children to a life devoid of the sanctuary and sheltering storm that a “forever family” provides.
Step up to help the over 102,000 foster care children that are eligible for adoption. You may be one person, but to one foster care child, you just well may be the world!
Jeanne T. Tate, Tampa
The writer is the president of Heart of Adoptions, Inc.
Pasco’s sheriff uses grades and abuse histories to label schoolchildren potential criminals. The kids and their parents don’t know. | Nov. 19
Who thought this was a good idea?
You’ve probably already committed several crimes this week. Not sinister crimes, but you’ve littered or trespassed or exceeded the speed limit or released a helium balloon or turned your music up too loud or, you know, something. Those are crimes. The reason you’re not in jail is because you probably didn’t hurt anybody and nobody called the cops, and the cops have better things to do than surveil you and arrest you for the petty crimes that you’ll inevitably commit if they watch for long enough.
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That’s why it should alarm everyone that the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office is experimenting with science-fiction crime-prediction techniques that end up targeting people as potential criminals due to their poor grades or school attendance, or because they have a history of being abused or witnessing household violence. We shouldn’t be surprised that, when harassed and surveilled, these crime-propensity predictions come true. But that’s not evidence of effectiveness; it’s evidence that a government agency is ruining people’s lives by compiling J. Edgar Hoover files on everyday citizens and feeding their data into a predict-o-matic machine that labels people as potential criminals. Once predictions are made, they make sure the predictions come true by surveilling and harassing these people until they inevitably commit the petty offenses that are their ticket into the criminal justice system, from which no one ever fully returns. It’s the kind of thing you’d expect the KGB to do in the 20th century Soviet Union, not the kind of thing you’d expect from a small-town sheriff in the 21st century United States. It needs to end right now, and we should never again trust the judgment of those who thought this was a good idea.
James Shaw, Tampa