Donovan should focus his outrage on solving the problems that create the environment for infant mortality

Written by MCJStaff   // October 14, 2013   // 0 Comments

Milwaukee Alderman Robert Donovan

Milwaukee Alderman Robert Donovan seems baffled by the lack of outrage as it related to the 12 infant deaths due to co-sleeping in the last 10 months. Well, if he wants outrage he’s got it. But not so much at the tragic deaths of 12 infants, the majority of whom lived in the city’s African American community. Trust us when we say the community IS outraged, and sickened, by the deaths of the most innocent and vulnerable among us. No. The outrage being expressed is with the Southside alderman and his call for jail time to anyone who contributes directly to a co-sleeping death while under the influence of either drugs and/or alcohol. “We don’t need more restorative justice. We don’t need more handholding. We don’t need more parenting classes. We don’t need more free cribs. The answer—what we DO need—is pure and simple: JAIL,” Donovan railed in a press statement in which he challenged Mayor Tom Barrett and his colleagues on the Council to address the problem. And the parents of the infants who die don’t need jail either, Mr. Donovan! What they need is compassion. What they need is someone to hold their hand and comfort them in their bereavement. What they need are classes (more if necessary) that help them become better, more responsible and aware parents who can couple the newfound knowledge they learn with the already present love they have for their children to help them grow and thrive! And while we’re on the subject of parents, Mr. Donovan, you and your colleagues can do you’re part in helping them too! You and your fellow councilmen can do a better job addressing the lack of decent and affordable housing, the extreme unemployment, the prevalence of violence in our neighborhoods, the low graduation rates and high dropout rates, not to mention the lack of health coverage and access. Believe it or not, Mr. Alderman, these factors contribute to infant mortality a lot more than co-sleeping, which occurs when parents are juggling two jobs and child rearing, sometimes with little—if any—support from other family members. Unfortunately,some parents cope with these societal factors in ways that do more harm than good—to themselves and their children. If they had the aforementioned economic and educational resources, they might not resort to substances to deal with the pressures of raising a family on an income at or below the poverty level. What parents of infants who die DON’T need, alderman is to be labeled criminals for making an unfortunate mistake. We agree that parents shouldn’t co-sleep with their children if they are under the influence or extremely tired. The Milwaukee Healthy Beginnings Project, in its pamphlet on co-sleeping warns against it. What infants and their parents DON’T need Ald. Donovan is your brand of extremism that doesn’t address the problems facing poor and low-income families. It’s jobs and understanding that are needed, not attention grabbing bluster! We need to empathize with—not criminalize—the parents who suffer the ultimate loss…their children!


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African American community

infant deaths

Milwaukee Alderman Robert Donovan


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