Inspiration: My Name Is Luka…

“From small acorns, mighty oak trees grow…”   Geoffrey Chaucer’sTroilus and Criseyde

Inspiration: My Name Is Luka…

Suzanne Vega – Luka

My name is Luka – Lyrics via azlyrics.com 
I live on the second floor
I live upstairs from you
Yes I think you’ve seen me before

If you hear something late at night
Some kind of trouble. some kind of fight
Just don’t ask me what it was
Just don’t ask me what it was
Just don’t ask me what it was… Contd below

25 years ago today, Suzanne Vega wrote and performed a song, My Name Is Luka, about child abuse that became a huge hit. When it came out in 1987, I listened to it incessantly. It struck a nerve with many people; child abuse survivors and advocates alike. The song was somewhat couched in careful words; just like a scared kid would do when the abuser has cautioned him/her to not say anything. When Suzanne performed the song today onSoundcheck/WNYC, it brought a flood of tears and memories of that period; a reminder that whether we are a mandated reporter, a victim of domestic violence, a product of  a dysfunctional family and more, we can all make a difference in the life of a child. We must speak up.

“Children are living beings – more living than grown-up people who have built shells of habit around themselves. Therefore it is absolutely necessary for their mental health and development that they should not have mere schools for their lessons, but a world whose guiding spirit is personal love.” Rabindranath Tagore

Inspiration: My Name Is Luka… Suzanne Vega

Intro to CDF – Children’s Defense Fund via Marian Wright Edelman

I think it’s because I’m clumsy
I try not to talk too loud
Maybe it’s because I’m crazy
I try not to act too proud

They only hit until you cry
After that you don’t ask why
You just don’t argue anymore
You just don’t argue anymore
You just don’t argue anymore… Contd below

According to the Child Welfare.Gov site, April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Since that first proclamation  in 1983, we have come to see April as “a time to recognize that we can each play a part in promoting the social and emotional well-being of children and families in communities.”  Even though the first Federal child protection legislation, theChild Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), was passed in 1974, we remain a nation with growing concerns for the welfare and safety of all our children.

Every day, an innocent child dies from neglect or abuse; often at the hand of a family member. Every month, we gather to commiserate over another news media report on the subject. Every year,  the numbers of children who died from neglect and/or abuse increases. As shown below, while the numbers of fatality figures from 2009 might seem small, there is still reason to be concerned. We can act and there are tons of organizations that would appreciate our support. I’ve added several in the last paragraph of this post below…

The National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) reported an estimated 1,770 child fatalities in 2009. This translates to a rate of 2.34 children per 100,000 children in the general population. NCANDS defines “child fatality” as the death of a child caused by an injury resulting from abuse or neglect, or where abuse or neglect was a contributing factor. The number and rate of fatalities have been increasing during the past few years… (Update 2010 figures) A nationally estimated  1,560 children (compared with 1,750 children for FFY 2009) died from abuse and neglect. The national fatality rate per 100,000 children in the population was 2.07 for FFY 2010 compared with a national fatality rate of 2.32 for FFY 2009.During FFY 2010, an estimated 695,000 children in the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico were maltreated…

“It is good to realize that if love and peace can prevail on earth, and if we can teach our children to honor nature’s gifts, the joys and beauties of the outdoors will be here forever.”  Jimmy Carter

Inspiration: My Name Is Luka…

Children’s RightsSilent Voices

Yes I think I’m okay
I walked into the door again
Well, if you ask that’s what I’ll say
And it’s not your business anyway
I guess I’d like to be alone
With nothing broken, nothing thrown
Just don’t ask me how I am [X3]
My name is Luka
I live on the second floor
I live upstairs from you
Yes I think you’ve seen me before… Contd below

Even with community effort, education, and the support of organizations that advocate for children, it is important to find additional resources to create preventive programs to help families at risk. Childwelfare.gov has initiated plans for Preventing Child Abuse & Neglect. They include suggestions on; Strengthening families, building public awareness & creating supportive communities, establishing standards for Prevention programs, developing & sustaining prevention programs, maintaining anEvidence-based practice  and evaluating the overall effectiveness of prevention programs. Additionally, Childwelfare.gov is an advocate of what it calls the 6 Protective Factors: Nurturing and Attachment, Knowledge of Parenting andChild Development, Parental Resilience, Social Connections, Concrete Supports for Parents, Social and Emotional Competence of Children. For more details on the above factors/headings, visit the Child Welfare.gov site and section onprevention tools. Every child deserves a chance at life and some of this information might hit home if you or someone you know is a survivor of child abuse.  The Luka song is powerful and painful but can be cathartic if we act to help bring change.  More on organizations that help advocate for children’s rights below. More Below!

“I will fight for my children on any level so they can reach their potential as human beings and in their public duties.” Princess Diana

Inspiration: My Name Is Luka…

CDF National Conference: Invitation from Marian Wright Edelman

If you hear something late at night
Some kind of trouble, some kind of fight
Just don’t ask me what it was
Just don’t ask me what it was
Just don’t ask me what it was

And they only hit until you cry
After that, you don’t ask why
You just don’t argue anymore
You just don’t argue anymore
You just don’t argue anymore…

If you are able to volunteer or support the efforts of the many organizations that work to protect and help children in dire situations, there are many across the nation that we can support. The following are organizations that  I’m familiar with and that have been around for quite some time.  If you have others that you’d like me to include, please add their name in the comments section and I will update my post. Thank you!  Here are a few:

The Child Abuse Prevention Association/CAPA 
Children’s Rights.org
ChildWelfare.Gov
Children’s Defense Fund – Children’s Defense Fund founded by Marian Wright Edelman.
Darkness to Light/D2L 
One Stand Against Child Abuse
ChildHelp.org
American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children – The American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children
International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect/ISPCAN
National CASA Association – Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children

Stay Inspired! What are your thoughts? Were you abused as a child? How did you cope and who/what has helped you? What do you suggest would help change the situation?  Do share! Thank you.

This post was inspired by a prompt from WP Daily Post: Blogging For A Cause... Combining issues that you care about with your blogging is a great way to find inspiration, new blogging buddies, and contribute to a good cause. What causes are you passionate about?

*Please bear with me as I continue to catch up on your blogs and commenting… Thank you all for your patience!

Positive Motivation Tip: Every child deserves love and protection. Every little bit counts. Help out.

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All Photos 1Stand.org, Suzanne Vega,Fractured Ribs, Abused Boy via Wikipedia. And/Or via Flickr

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

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