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Letters: Help UWH and Lewis House address domestic violence

Help UWH and Lewis House address domestic violence

The United Way of Hastings is the HEART of Hastings raising and donating money locally for over 50 years. The programs funded by UWH are all local agencies and programs — supporting education, health and financial empowerment.

The Lewis House in Hastings run by 360 Communities is a domestic violence shelter for women that has benefitted from the UWH funds since its opening in 2001.

The Lewis House provides a safety net for women and their children escaping difficult and violent situations, offering shelter, counseling, advocacy and other services that allow them to create a new path forward in their lives.

Hastings Lewis House has 25 beds and can house 30-plus residents at a time. The average length of stay is 75 days.

Many programs and services are available from partner agencies including law clinics, therapists, support groups, public health nurses and more. Lewis House helps provide a plan for these women to move forward successfully with their lives.

Lewis House operates on funding from the UWH, Minnesota Department of Public Safety and community donations.

Here's what Vicki Illa, site supervisor in Hastings, has to say about her job. "I love to be able to help others, no success is too small. Just being there for people when they need it most and providing emotional support for them is rewarding. I like helping people find their own voice and their own path. I love being part of 360 Communities. We have a great team and I am grateful to be a part of it."

Please continue to support great local programs like the Lewis House in Hastings and many more by donating to the United Way of Hastings now. Donate at www.unitedwayofhastings.org or visit our new office in downtown Hastings at 113 Second St. E. Suite 102; 651.438.3337.

Julie Hicks

Hastings

Julie Hicks serves on the United Way of Hastings Board

Do what's right; do something for the children

It's a cliché that we've become a politically polarized nation. We can't even agree on which news is "real" news anymore. Still, I've always hoped that, beneath this your-team-vs.-my-team mentality, we had some kind of moral compass, a set of values that we would uphold as Americans — or just as human beings.

But I'm afraid we've lost it.

We've started pretending that when "our" side does something morally wrong, if it fits a new law or policy, or if it might provide a means to an end, then it's OK. We've started excusing things that are inexcusable.

Right now, thanks to the current administration's new zero-tolerance policy, thousands of children are being separated from their parents at U.S. borders. They are being held in empty box stores and tent cities in the Texas heat, torn away from their families, confused and terrified. Toddlers and even infants are left to sob in cages while DHS employees are forbidden to touch or comfort them. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, this is "nothing less than government-sanctioned child abuse."

How can we justify this? How can we hear about parents so desperate to escape violence and deprivation that they often walk for days over dangerous territory to reach our border, and then — even if they're requesting asylum, even when they present themselves at a legal border crossing, as our policies demand — the children they were trying to save are taken away, with no information about when or if they will be returned?

How can we see this and do nothing?

We claim to value life. To value family. To value justice. Do we only mean our own lives? Our own families? Because if that's all we mean, then these aren't values at all. They're just slogans we put on billboards.

It's possible to think that illegal immigration is wrong, and simultaneously to know that treating immigrants and children this way is wrong. So speak up now. Call your representatives. Use your vote. Remember that the truths we hold to be self-evident are bigger than any political party.

Do something.

Jacqueline West

Red Wing