Friday, November 28, 2008

Those Cute Little Baby Obits...

Stanislaus County is the third worse for Latino infant mortality of the fifty-eight counties that comprise the state of California।

If this is news to you, you are not alone. Most people are unaware of this horrible fact, and when they are made aware, they don’t seem to care very much at all. But, I believe they really do care and I believe you, especially do.
First on the list from the heads of our local Health Department, will be the standard strategy of diverting the subject to the percentage of Latino mothers using alcohol, tobacco and drugs। As though these things alone, are all that contribute to Latino infant death syndrome (LSIDS).

But the Center for Disease Control (CDC) tells the other side of the story. Simple things, such as how to correctly lay a baby in a crib or sharing the mother’s bed with her baby also contributes to these numbers. So many lives that can be saved with an informational brochure, or even better yet, a new mother’s class.
And when these methods are mentioned, the same subject-averting responses are heard – How can we pay for this? We can’t afford this। We can’t do this right now. Unless they think it will do something for their over-inflated good name, no one really does much of anything.

Shouldn’t we at least ask ourselves how much a Latino baby’s life is really worth to us? At what point in a Latino child’s life does it actually deserve to be saved?
Our society certainly seems to not have a problem destroying our young Latino’s lives by committing the poorest of them to prison without affording them proper representation. So why should we, as a society, have any concern over our Latino babies never getting to see their very first birthday.
Not to mention, the mental well being of the mothers, fathers and other family members that seem to be able , now that it is their baby that is dead, to fathom something that we, as citizens of Stanislaus County, cannot- Just how precious that particular baby’s life is। But I know we can. And I know that we will.

Number three in the state of California for Latino infant mortality. Do I sound redundant to you? Of so many people I have broached this subject with I soon have dialogue similar to the following:

“Did I tell you this already? We are number three in the state of California for Latino infant mortality?”

“Oh, yeah, yeah…।sad। So how was your weekend?”

Across the board we are higher than most other counties for infant mortality, despite the race of the child victims। So it would be very easy (one would think) for me to attend one of these little boy or girl’s funerals, giving as much support as I could to the families on behalf of the citizens of Stanislaus County। Because then I could say:

“My weekend was … (however the experience was) … । I attended the funeral, reception (and other?) of (name of child). I was there on your behalf.”

Wouldn’t that be quite a bold thing to say? I would concur, if you say yes, however, consider if you would: What thoughts may arise? Longer and more lasting thoughts in this dialogue exchange with another individual regarding infant mortality and it’s easy and inexpensive prevention।

Shock, many tell me, is an inappropriate method of communication. But consider this – What if it can save someone’s life, by starting a chain-reaction of thoughts in another individual?
If someone-anyone was on the step of your front door, - dying, how far would you go in your efforts to save that person’s life? Like when one puts up a fence to secure a swimming pool। Why do they actually do this? Because the insurance company told them to put up the fence? Who tells the community to secure or remove the doors of discarded refrigerators? Do you know what I am referring to?

It’s just a matter of logistics and the knowledge that the possibility does indeed exist! The prevention of a child dying!

Perhaps one could wear a big sandwich board downtown that reads on one side, “At what age does innocence end?” And on the other side, “At what age will I earn an obituary in the paper?”
And then, when people approach you because they think it’s a pro choice/ pro life thing, you can answer them by handing to them the two year study which was conducted of our county’s infant mortality provided by the Stanislaus County Health Department।

I mean if they would care so much as to actually approach you in the first place, they must care enough about something? Right?

Or you could take a card table and chair and set up in front of Mi Pueblo on Crows Landing road and distribute literature to soon-to-be Latina mothers। “Para Te” is all the Spanish you would need. I’ve done it! You can too!

“So, what did you do this weekend (your name here)?”

“I saved some baby’s lives and stemmed the tide of grief for families। What are you doing next weekend?”

We don’t have to be number three in Latino infant mortality। You can stop this and reverse this tragic trend. If you would like more information on what you can do to save babies lives and prevent family grief, call the Stanislaus County Health Department. Your taxes are paying for them to help you do this. If it doesn’t work out, email me at and I will make it work out for you.

What’s it worth? It’s worth our very future!

Copyright 2008 (c) Robert Stanford all rights reserved.
Robert Stanford
Airport Neighborhood Activist
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