This past week, Beacon authors have been very active out in the world, putting a human face on immigration and talking topics spanning a wide gamut of social justice issues, including: global population, feminism, consumer choices, education, and so much more. Visit our homepage to see the many books on immigrant rights that Beacon has published. And, if you're in or around Boston, learn more about the May Day March, which will begin on Boston Common at noon on Saturday.
WNBC New York talks to Stacy and Steve Trebing about their successful struggle to save their daughter with a "savoir sibling." The family's moving story is chronicled by author Beth Whitehouse in her new book The Match.
Author Bob Moses champions a constitutional amendment to guarantee quality education, the topic of his forthcoming book Quality Education as a Constitutional Right, in The Nationarticle about the 50th anniversary of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).
Today marks the 35th anniversary of the fall of Saigon. Hear Dana Sachs talk about the nearly 3,000 "supposedly orphaned" children swept into "Operation Babylift" on NHPR's "Word of Mouth."
In the weeks leading up to the fall of Saigon on April 30th, 1975, nearly three thousand babies and children were airlifted out of South Vietnam, often under chaotic and dangerous circumstances. Dubbed "Operation Babylift," the mission was a highly publicized U.S. backed plan to evacuate Vietnamese orphans and bring them to America for adoption.
In The Life We Were Given: Operation Babylift, International Adoption, and the Children of War in Vietnam, Dana Sachs, who has written about Vietnam for 20 years, draws on extensive research and countless interviews in both the U.S. and Vietnam to offer a fresh look at this complex and often controversial mission. She traces the stories of adoptees, including a woman whose Vietnamese mother managed to find her twenty years later, and looks at why there was so little oversight and such sparse documentation attached to the movement of these children, many of whom, it was discovered, weren't orphans at all and were desperate to go home.
This week, in the lead up to the 35th anniversary of the fall of Saigon on Friday, Sachs was interviewed about Operation Babylift and how its lesson can be applied to the current debate about international adoption:
We've been listening to vital voices recently here at Beacon and hope you'll spend some time with them as well. We invite you to then lift your own in our comments section.
Author Fred Pearce joins Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show" to discuss The Coming Population Crash. Pearce also gives a lively interview over on Salon.com in which he asserts that feminism and pop culture are preventing Earth from becoming too overcrowded.
Allison Martin reviews Dana Sachs's "gripping" new book about the aftermath of Operation Babylift, the story of how, in 1975, the U.S. government airlifted nearly 3,000 displaced children out of wartime Vietnam. Martin's website is devoted to helping families who are adopting children from Vietnam.
On a more somber note, Beacon Press mourns the passing of Civil Rights leader and renowned activist for racial justice and gender equality, Dr. Dorothy Irene Height, who died early the morning of April 20th at the age of 98. Among her lifetime of distinguished and selfless service, Dr. Height served as chair and national president of the National Council of Negro Women and worked on the original Historical Cookbook of the American Negro. You can listen to snippets of her speaking courtesy of NPR's "Morning Edition."
If you are reading this in Massachusetts or Maine, odds are
good you're enjoying a three-day weekend thanks to Patriots' Day, which our
history editor explains involves something historic, but many Bostonians
understand to be the day everyone watches the Boston Marathon. Even if you are
reading outside the region, we hope you enjoy these recent media appearances by
Beacon Press authors et al:
On "The View,"
the ladies talk to the Trebing family about their quest for a donor sibling to
help heal their daughter, a moving true story veteran journalist Beth
Whitehouse tells in her new book The Match.
Sachs joins NPR's
"Talk of the Nation" host Neal Conan to discuss Operation
Babylift and how, in 1975, the U.S. government airlifted nearly 3,000 displaced
children out of wartime Vietnam.
A Beacon Press editor related to the pink bird in the intro of "The Dylan Ratigan Show" recommends this Story Pirates video on financial deregulation. “This,”
she says, “is what I call educational programming.”
The drama in Haiti took a new turn when 10 Americans (8 of whom were released this week-- ed.) were arrested as they tried to carry a group of Haitian children across the border into the Dominican Republic. While the American group claimed to be rescuing orphans, the Haitian government accused the group of child trafficking. These conflicting accounts reflect the opposing views in a debate that has been raging ever since the devastating earthquake occurred last month, leaving in question the fate of thousands of displaced and homeless children.
On one side of this debate, for example, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators is promoting legislation to speed up the adoption process. "The littlest and most vulnerable victims of the tragedy in Haiti are orphan children," Senator Christopher Bond argued, "and they cannot wait for help." On the other side, several international aid organizations have been calling for a complete suspension of adoptions in order to adequately investigate the orphan status of each displaced child. "Haiti's infrastructure has been severely damaged by the disaster, and with it the systems to ensure that children are correctly identified as orphans," said a statement issued by Save the Children. "The possibility of a child being mistakenly labeled as an orphan during this time is incredibly high."
These arguments seem eerily familiar, and speak to the fact that the United States has yet to develop a well-reasoned policy regarding displaced children in time of crisis. Thirty-five years ago, in April 1975 in Vietnam, another evacuation of children took place. The scene was Saigon, on the brink of collapse as the Communist forces approached the city. The foreign volunteers who ran international adoption programs begged for help getting their wards out of the country. In response, President Gerald Ford authorized funds to evacuate thousands of children, who were flown out of the country and placed with new adoptive families overseas.
By all appearances, Operation Babylift, as the evacuation came to be called, looked like a bold response to a heart-wrenching humanitarian crisis. In Vietnam, hundreds of thousands of people had lost their homes; hungry children wandered alone through the streets; foreign aid agencies could not meet the most basic needs of the population. The idea of evacuating displaced children and placing them in loving homes overseas seemed not only wise but also deeply moral.