Top 5 stories involving children and politics of 2012

The year 2012 was eventful for the way politics intersected with child rearing, and it became more apparent for parents that raising children has gotten even more challenging. Photo: Associated Press/John Minchillo

WASHINGTON, DC, December 30, 2012 ― The year 2012 was eventful with regard to stories that centered on or involved children. Politics of Raising Children centers on the intersection of politics and child rearing, with a particular focus on raising children in a political town and a political era.

Sadly, many of the most high-impactf events that made headlines were not happy. Each represented an opportunity for us parents to hug our children tighter and be grateful that they are relatively safe from harm. But they also encouraged us to take a thoughtful look at how we are raising our children, and prompted us to ask whether we are arming them with the right amount of information to remain safe and grow in a conscientious way.

Here are the top five stories from Politics of Raising Children that received the most media attention in 2012.

Joseph Kony, 2006 AP

5. Make Kony Famous – In March,  a nonprofit organization called Invisible Children released a video, Kony 2012, that quickly went viral with the purpose to entice world leaders to take steps to bring a heinous Ugandan warloard, Joseph Kony, to justice.  According to the video, Kony had recruited, drugged and forced tens of thousands of pre-teens and children to fight in his Lord’s Resistance Army. The movement fizzled after some questioned the finances of the group, and images surfaced with group leaders posing with weapons and rebel leaders .


4. Tyler Clementi’s tormenter is convicted – CyberBully Laws-get real. There have been several cases in recent years of teens who were subjected to cyber bullying taking their own lives to end the misery of being bullied. In March 2012, a jury convicted Dharun Ravi for videotaping his roommate, 18-year old Tyler Clementi, kissing a man and then circulating it in social media and among friends. Clementi killed himself by jumping off the George Washington Bridge in 2010. The incident brought to light the real effects of cyberbullying and the internal turmoil that gay youth deal with daily.

The Dream Act

3. Dream Act Light gets green lit – Immigration Reform. In the heat of the US Presidential election season in June, President Barack Obama signed a directive instructing the Department of Homeland Security to abstain from deporting 1.7 million young people, the children of illegal immigrants to this country. The kids were granted temporary renewable work permits and allowed to stay and possibly attend school. On the day the agency started accepting applications for deferred action, 180,000 applied for deferred action and the Obama Administration had granted 4,600 of those applications. It was a bandaid  of a solution and not precisely the comprehensive immigration reform that many have been calling for, but it was a start. Opponents continue to say it rewards lawbreakers, given that the young people were brought into the country illegally, or were kept here after valid permission had expired.

17- year old Trayvon Martin, a promising Florida high school teen, was gunned down near his dad’s fiance home in a gated Sanford, FL community by its neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman.


2. Trayvon Martin- Stand Your Ground/Racial Profiling. No other event inflamed tempers and created national debate about racial profiling more than the death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin. A neighborhood watchman approached Martin as he traveled back from a convenience store to his dad’s home in the community, suspecting him of engaging in criminal activity. A scuffle broke out and ended with Zimmerman shooting and killing Martin. President Obama remarked that Martin “could have been his son.” Those comments and the national discussions and and investigations of that shooting had more people questioning the validity and efficacy of “stand your ground” laws. The case divided people along racial lines, as many of Zimmerman’s supporters and contributors to his legal defense fund were primarily white, while the bulk of Martin’s supporters were not. It quickly became a situation of which side could you most empathize with, and that determination was, sadly, drawn along some racial lines.


Children being led from the school by police personnel (Image: Shannon Hicks - The Newtown Bee)


1. Newton Killings – Gun Control/ Mental Health. On the morning of Friday, December 14, a 20 year old man opened fire in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut and killed 20 children, ages six and seven, and six adult educators and school administrators before taking his own life. He had also killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, before setting out to begin his carnage. The tragic incident sparked renewed calls for gun control and reignited discussions about mental health services and care in the United States. A week after the killings, the National Rifle Administration convened a press conference, proposing to start a program to defend all 120,000 schools in the US with armed officers. The debate continues. 

The year 2012 was eventful for the way politics intersected with child rearing, and it became more apparent for parents that raising children has gotten even more challenging than in years past.

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Jeneba Ghatt
Jeneba Jalloh Ghatt is a former journalist turned lawyer turned citizen journalist. Currently, she manages her boutique communications law firm, where she has represented small businesses and nationally-recognized civil and consumer rights organizations before the United States Supreme Court, federal courts and the FCC. She also covers the White House and US Congress for the online news site while authoring her own influential blog which is frequently accessed by top policy makers and think tanks, and the investment community. focuses on the intersection of politics and technology and reports on policies and rules in the communications and tech sector.
Before opening her law firm, The Ghatt Law Group, which was the first communications firm owned by women and minorities, Jeneba regulated Comcast and Starpower as the Assistant General Counsel for the District of Columbia's Office of Cable Television and Telecommunications, and at one point was the only communications regulatory attorney in the entire city. She is founding member and policy chair for a new trade association, the National Association of Multicultural Digital Entrepreneurs and provides advice and counsel to new businesses in the tech industry, particularly small businesses owned by women and minorities.

Born in Sierra Leone, West Africa, but raised in the United States by her Catholic mom and Muslim dad, she started her college career creating web content for one of the earliest websites in history while working part time for the University of Maryland's Office of Technology. Following her graduation from the Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, she founded and co-wrote one of the earliest blogs and since then has gone on to found and author six different widely read and influential blogs. She was one of only 22 writers and bloggers to attend the first White House summit for African American media.
She holds a Certificate in Communications Law Studies from Catholic; a Juris Doctor from there as well, and a Master of Law in advocacy degree from the Georgetown University Law Center where she first taught and lectured as a Staff Attorney and Graduate fellow at that law school's Institute for Public Representation. She later went on to teach Media Law at the University of Maryland at College Park and guest lecture at Yale Law School and Penn State University, College of Telecommunications. She is well skilled and versed with social media and manages several Twitter, Facebook, Linked In accounts and groups.
She sits on the board of several non profits and trade associations.

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