I had the privilege of attending the Court Appointed Special Advocates’ “Hands Around the Courthouse” event today, when 29 new volunteers were sworn into their service to help children and protect them from child abuse and neglect.
The ceremony was the first time I’ve had the pleasure of listening to a public speech by Judge Bill Parkhurst, and his thoughts were wise and illuminating. He quoted Dr. Martin Luther King’s words, which are chiseled into his granite monument in Washington, D.C., and said those words are as true for victims of child abuse today as they were for the civil rights movement in 1963.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” King said. “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
The next speaker, Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon, reminded the audience of his office’s attitude toward child abuse and its efforts to protect our children. When a child does speak up and has the courage to report sexual abuse and to testify, that child needs not only our support but the understanding that his or her courage will not be in vain.
“It’s important to send a message to that child that what is happening to the child, what they’re going through, is not acceptable,” McMahon said. “It’s not OK with us. It’s not OK with us as a parent, it’s not OK with us as a relative, it’s not OK with the community of Kane County.”
It is literally humbling to work with a person like Joe because of the clarity of his thought and his determination to pursue justice in an unjust world.
Finally, Gloria Bunce, the executive director and “Joan of Arc” of CASA and child advocacy in Kane County, spoke about how healthy individuals and healthy families produce a healthy community for all of us. Gloria and her team are geniuses at gathering resources, both of people and of finances, to support the important work that’s done by all.
She congratulated the 29 new volunteers and closed with the “starfish story.”
A little boy on a beach was picking up starfish one at a time and throwing them back into the ocean with great care. A man came along and asked why he was wasting his time, because there were too many starfish to save and judged, “What difference does it make?” The little boy looked up at the man while he still held one of the starfish and replied, “It makes a difference to this one.”
There is a good spirit that moves so many good people to volunteer to help the rest of us. It is what Gloria Bunce, Joe McMahon and Bill Parkhurst would call the glue of Kane County.
Kane County Board ChairmanApril 9, 2015