Community Voices

'How can a country such as ours allow such a thing to happen to innocent children?'

A 2-year-old Honduran asylum seeker cries as her mother is searched and detained near the U.S.-Mexico border on June 12, 2018, in McAllen, Texas.
A 2-year-old Honduran asylum seeker cries as her mother is searched and detained near the U.S.-Mexico border on June 12, 2018, in McAllen, Texas. Getty Images

As I write this column, my prayer is that by the time you read it, the children who were separated from their parents and guardians at our southern borders, will have been reunited with their loved ones.

Ever since I learned that children, little ones, including nursing babies, were being snatched from their mothers' arms in the name of justice, I was horrified. I couldn't believe that a country such as ours would allow such a thing to happen to innocent children, especially babies and little ones.

Who are we as a nation that we would allow such a thing to take place? Have we not learned from the past?

Bea L. Hines.JPG
Bea L. Hines

According to Jonathan Hoffman, spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, between April 19 and May 31, nearly 2,000 children have been separated from their parents and/or guardians and placed in holding facilities.

As a mother and grandmother, I can't imagine having my nursing baby taken from my arms. I would worry about how my baby, not yet weened, would survive. Who was going to be there every two or three hours in the late of night when my baby would need a feeding? Who would be there to comfort my baby when she or he needed a diaper change often enough to ward off diaper rash?

Who would cuddle my baby just because ... ?

Years ago, I read somewhere that there was a study done in an orphanage, in which the babies who were cuddled and loved on a regular basis were healthy and happy. In a startling contrast, the babies who only got the basic, minimal attention did not fare as well. In fact, those who did not get the loving attention were sickly; some even died.

I am reminded of this because I understand from news reports that the caretakers of these immigrant babies and toddlers aren't allowed to show affection to them. How sad.

I applaud our first lady Melania Trump, who recently said that America "needs to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart."

And I agree with former first lady Laura Bush, who in a column written for the Washington Post, called the Trump administration's zero tolerance policy "cruel and immoral."

Bush wrote: "I live in a border state. I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart."

She continued: "Our government should not be in the business of warehousing children in converted box stores, or making plans to place them in tent cities in the desert outside of El Paso. These images are eerily reminiscent of the Japanese American interment camps of World War II, now considered to have been one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. history."

News reports have shown older undocumented children behind chain-link fences with thermal blankets. At this writing, we have no idea how the babies are being kept. Yet Attorney General Jeff Sessions said, "We are doing the right thing. We are taking care of these children."

Shame on you, Mr. Sessions.

Our government officials need to take a look in the mirror. When they do, they will see that the image is not a pretty one. There has got to be a better solution than the one that snatches children from their parents — even newborn nursing babies from the arms of their mothers.

As Melania Trump has said, America needs to govern with heart.


Pastor to be honored

It isn't often that a man can say he has preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ for 66 years. Evangelist Thomas P. Edwards can. On Sunday, June 24, at The Church of God Tabernacle (True Holiness) in Liberty City, where he is the assistant pastor, there will be a great celebration, commemorating his faithful service as a messenger of the Good News.

Evangelist Thomas P. Edwards and his wife, "Missionary Maxine," on their 50th anniversary in 2000. Miami Herald File

For Edwards, a retired Miami-Dade County bus driver, and his lovely wife, "Missionary Maxine," Sunday's service will be a double celebration: They will also celebrate their 68th wedding anniversary. The couple married June 25, 1950, at the church, 1351 NW Sixth St.

Bishop Walter H. Richardson, pastor and overseer of the church, calls Edwards his "right-hand man." He said Edwards has been a "faithful and dedicated" minister of the gospel. "We have always gotten along like brothers ... never had a disagreement of any kind. I am honored to call him my brother in the Lord," Bishop said.

Edwards and his wife are the parents of four adult children: Tommy, Linda Glover, Phil and Kenneth. They are also grandparents and great-grandparents of many.

All are welcome to the service, which starts at 10 a.m.

Graduation Sunday

Universal Truth Center for Better Living will celebrate Graduation Sunday from 9:50 to 11:30 a.m. Sunday, June 24. The church is at 21310 NW 37th Ave. in Miami Gardens.

The church will also be celebrating Youth, Family and Friends Day on Sunday. Recent graduates are invited to wear their caps and gowns to the service. The Rev. Charles Taylor is the pastor.

'A Musical Journey'

First Church of Christ, Scientist, Coral Gables, invites the community to an inspirational afternoon of "Summer Memories — A Musical Journey", at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 24, at the church, 410 Andalusia Ave.

The program will feature vocalist Carlos Danaan and pianist Linda Kerstein.

The main entrance of the church is on LeJeune Road between Andalusia and Valencia avenues. Admission is free.

Miami Oratorio Society

The Miami Oratorio Society will present its final concert of the 2017-18 concert season at 5 p.m. Sunday, June 24, at Prince of Peace Moravian Church, 1880 NW 183rd St. in Miami Gardens.

The event, "The Heavens Are Telling — A Summer Variety Concert," will feature the choir performing a variety of music from the classical works of Mendelssohn and Haydn, as well as more contemporary pieces adapted from the music of Cymbala, Wells and Byerley.

Guest soloists will include Joanne Martinez, soprano; Emilia Acon, mezzo soprano; Lievans Costillo, tenor, and Daniel Snodgrass, baritone. Karl Van Richards will accompany. The choir is directed by Andrew Anderson.

Tickets are $25 in advance for adults and $30 at the door ($10 for youths ages 10 to 17) and can be purchased by calling Gloria Christian, choir president, at 954-882-2242; or Judy Feldman at 305-610-0500. You may also visit for more information.

Sant La Fellows

Congratulations to the Sant La Fellows Class III, who will graduate during a special ceremony at 6 p.m. Sunday, June 24, at the Little Haiti Cultural Complex, 212 NE 59th Terr.

According to a press release, the ceremony recognizes the third cohort of young Haitian-American professionals and their completion of a year-long leadership development program, which included monthly discussion labs with public and private sector leaders, and a trip to Haiti to explore Haitian heritage.

To make a reservation, email or call 305-573-4871.

Florida Grand Opera

A warm welcome to Howard Bender, named recently after a national search as the chief development officer of Florida Grand Opera.

"Florida Grand Opera is thrilled to welcome Howard Bender to our company," said Susan T. Danis, FGO's general director and CEO. Bender "brings years of experience both on the stage and in the community," she said. "His accomplishments are only topped by his warm and engaging personality. FGO is so fortunate to have him working with us."

Bender will focus on various fundraising initiatives, Danis said.

Send all items at least two weeks in advance to Friends and Neighbors, c/o Neighbors, 3511 NW 91st Ave., Doral, FL 33172 or email Pictures are accepted but cannot be returned.