High street clothing retailer H&M today committed to a fire and safety plan in Bangladesh aimed at preventing any repeats of the disastrous building collapse that left more than 1,000 workers dead.
In a statement, the company, which has more than 200 stores in the UK, said it was publicly committing to supporting the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh.
Bangladeshi army doctors and other officers sit with Reshma Begum, the 19-year-old seamstress who spent 17 days trapped in the rubble of the building
The Accord, designed for a five-year period, is aimed at improving fire and building safety in the garment industry in Bangladesh to avoid a repeat of the recent tragedy.
The Rana Plaza building collapse is the latest in a series of deadly incidents in the country, whose garment industry supplies much of the western world.
In its statement today, H&M said the commitment to the Accord was an extra step for its sustainability programme.
Head of sustainability Helena Helmersson said: “Fire and building safety are extremely important issues for us and we put a lot of effort and resources within this area.
“H&M has for many years taken the lead to improve and secure the safety of the workers in the garment industry. With this commitment we can now influence even more in this issue.
“We hope for a broad coalition of signatures in order for the agreement to work effectively on ground.”
The firm said it was playing an active role in improving fire safety in Bangladeshi garment factories, including introducing in 2011 an education to increase fire safety awareness among suppliers and their employees.
It also requires that all the supplier factories conduct electrical assessments in their factories and has offered to share these costs with them, the firm said.
“Our strong presence in Bangladesh gives us the opportunity to contribute to the improvement of the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and contribute to the community’s development,” Ms Helmersson added.
“By being on site, put demands on manufacturers and work for continuous improvements, we can slowly but surely contribute to lasting changes.”
H&M’s move was today welcomed by campaign group Avaaz, which has been calling on leading retailers to join the agreement to clean up what it calls Bangladesh’s “death shops”.
Today, it said it is now focusing its efforts on other companies to encourage them to sign up by the deadline on Wednesday.
Campaign director Alex Wilks said: “H&M’s announcement is great news for millions of workers in Bangladesh.
“Consumers should reward H&M’s leadership and consider the ethics of shopping at other major high street brands who have still to sign this strong agreement that will make Bangladesh’s factories safe.”
The euphoria was understandable when rescuers pulled 19-year-old Reshma Begum alive from the wreckage of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, last week. More than 1,127 were killed and thousands more injured when the factory fell on April 24. It had been 17 days since anyone had been found alive.
Even in a country where life expectancy is low, the devastating collapse sparked protests, with rioters calling for the owner of the factory to be hanged. The outrage was worldwide — and had previously been missing among Western observers and consumers about the working conditions in factories in Bangladesh. They have been deplorable for years while churning out cheap clothes for some of the West’s best-known clothing brands. Despite its small size, Bangladesh is the second largest garment exporter in the world with the U.S. being its largest export market, with 19.4 percent of exports coming to the States. Wal-Mart alone does more than $1 billion worth of manufacturing in the severely impoverished country.
But while everyone is quick to point at the labels that produce their clothing there — J.C. Penney, Gap, Sears, Zara, among thousands of others — Chris Rhomberg, associate professor of sociology at Fordham University who specializes labor and labor movements, says it’s a very complex and multilayered situation. “These labels don’t actually own the factories in Bangladesh,” he notes. “They contract the work out to contractors. But this is how the garment industry works: The contractor then contracts them out to subcontractors that are even cheaper and creates this enormous pressure on all the labels to go even cheaper.” Rhomberg and others in his field call this continual outsourcing and downward push of cost “race to the bottom.”
“Bottom” is an apt term. Since there is little to no direct oversight by these western clothing brands, workers making these garments work in shockingly unsafe and unregulated factories. Many are forced to work seven days a week, are bullied into working overtime – and the youngest of them, mainly girls often as young as 10 — earn as little as $400 per year.
“No company is willing to spend the money for safety, adequate standards and wages if that makes their product more expensive than their competitors,” notes Rhomberg. “If you allow this race to the bottom to occur, there is pressure on each one to go cheaper.”
And who is cheap? Women and children. Estimates vary, but up to 30,000 children are said to toil away in the sweatshops. The average age of the children is 13, of whom 10 percent, according to the United States Department of Labor, are married by the age of 10. The USLD report supported the findings of the Institute of Global Labor and Human Rights. “In a recent visit to Bangladesh, a Department of Labor official spoke with children who … also reported that, like adult workers, they are often paid two to four weeks late, and rarely paid extra for overtime.”
Out of the 3.5 million people who work in Bangladesh factories, 85 per cent are women. Although the principle of women working in this predominantly Muslim country has been accepted – largely for economic reasons – they still face paternalism, at best, and outright discrimination at worst, according to the European Union, which noted high levels of forced, early marriage and domestic abuse.
But even with this global spotlight shining brightly on the working conditions in Bangladesh — and the international outcry almost overwhelming — change is still very hard to initiate. There is immense international pressure for brands to sign the binding Fire and Building Safety Agreement, which protects garment workers. This five-year accord, which H&M and Zara signed this week, promises that they will not hire manufacturers and contractors whose clothing factories fail to meet safety standards; it will also commit them to paying for necessary repairs and renovations. The Bangladeshi government is acting as well — they are raising the minimum wage for workers and will make it easier for them to unionize. Still, the Gap, J.C. Penny and most notably Wal-Mart, had refused to sign as of Wednesday afternoon. Wal-Mart believes that their own safety plans are enough. “Walmart believes its safety plan meets or exceeds the IndustriALL proposal, and will get results more quickly,” the company said in a statement.
A major U.S. retail trade group on Wednesday spoke out against a Bangladesh fire and building safety accord, saying that signing on would expose American companies to a legally questionable binding arbitration provision.
“While the proposal put forth by the labor unions addresses a number of shared concerns, the accord veers away from commonsense solutions and seeks to advance a narrow agenda driven by special interests,” Matthew Shay, chief executive of the National Retail Federation, said in a statement.
Unionizers and labor activists worry that if these garment behemoths don’t join the pact, the agreement will lack influence.
Still, H&M’s decision to sign the accord is crucial, said Scott Nova, executive director of Worker Rights Consortium, in Women’s Wear Daily. “They are the single largest producer of apparel in Bangladesh, ahead even of Wal-Mart. This accord now has tremendous momentum.
Rep. George Miller, the senior Democratic member of the House Education and Workforce Committee, who has been working in Congress to fight sweatshops and improve working conditions in factories, also stressed that the onus lies with major fashion brands, not just the Bangladeshi government.
“Right now, [these retailers] must join other brands, unions and civil society groups in [signing on to the Fire and Building Safety Agreement] and begin the very affordable process of making their supplier factories safer. If they fail to sign an enforceable agreement, they are declaring that they accept blood on their labels.”
The images that accompany this story were taken by Taslima Akhter, a Dhaka-based photojournalist and activist for the rights of women garment makers in Bangladesh. It shows two workers, a man and a woman, locked in a final embrace in death. Akhter took the image shortly after the collapse of the garment factory on April 24.
She told Metro: “Sometimes owners and the government try to say that activists and workers are trying to make a conspiracy against industrialization – a common tactic when it comes to undermining workers’ rights.
“But as an activist and photographer I want to say that I, other activists, trade union activists and workers support the development of industrialization. We believe that without improving the conditions of workers through proper wages and safety standards, it cannot be possible. And it’s not only our local issue, it’s an international issue too.
“Buyers get products from our country at a very cheap rate, and our labor has become the cheapest labor in the world. International buyers also do not really care about pay rates and safety standards. Through my photography for last five years I am trying to campaign against low wage of workers and insecure working condition of workers.”
Akhter, 39, works as a photography tutor at Pathsala University, Bangladesh. In 2011 she participated the summer course on human rights and photography at New York University.
Involved in student politics during her student life, she became the president of Bangladesh Student Federation. She continues her involvement with women’s and worker organization as an activist. Considering photography as a part of her activism, she chooses to work on gender-environmental-cultural issues and the issues of social discrimination.
Bangladesh by the numbers
Bangladesh’s economy has grown by nearly 6 percent per year since 1996, despite, according to the CIA’s summary of the country, “political instability, poor infrastructure, corruption, insufficient power supplies and slow implementation of economic reforms. Bangladesh remains a poor, overpopulated and inefficiently governed nation.”
The country’s population is 90 percent Bengali Muslim. Per capita income is $2,000 dollars per year – making Bangladesh the world’s 192nd poorest nation. As a comparison, the average wealth per head in the U.S. is nearly $50,000.
Dorothy Robinson and Tina Chadha contributed reporting.
AKRON, Ohio – An Akron mother made a tearful, public plea for her daughter’s safe return Monday night.
The FBI is actively searching for 19-year-old Taylor Robinson, who has not been heard from for more than a week. Her mom dropped her off at her job as a home health care provider and by the time her shift ended, she had vanished.
Robinson’s mother, Carmilla, spoke in the Akron City Council chambers to keep her daughter’s case fresh in people’s minds.
“I don’t want people to just let Taylor be a name in a newspaper and I ask for any help that anyone can give us,” Carmilla Robinson said.
Anyone with information about Robinson is asked to call Akron police or the Cleveland office of the FBI. You can also call Summit County Crimestoppers at 330-434-COPS.
Posted: Mar 29, 2013 7:51 AM ESTUpdated: Apr 05, 2013 7:51 AM EST
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -
While the city is in turmoil over school closings, Urban Prep Academy has set a shining example of education that is making a huge difference in the lives of Chicago’s young men.
All of Urban Prep’s graduating seniors – 167 young African American men – have been accepted to a four-year college or university. Both the senior class at the Englewood campus and the inaugural graduating class from its West campus will all be going to college.
These young men are defying the odds in our city, where fewer than 40% of African American males even finish high school.
Urban Prep founder Tim King and two graduating seniors, Gaylord Minett Jr. and Marwin Williams Jr., joined Good Day Chicago Friday morning to talk about their school experience and their plans for the future.
King said 85% of Urban Prep students come from low-income families, and many start Urban Prep at least two grade levels behind. But they make a huge turnaround at the charter school, where they are given the knowledge and tools to prepare themselves for a bright future after they graduate.
The school also announced it received a $150,000 donation from Citi Foundation to support its alumni affairs program, which supports graduates enrolled in college.
This year’s seniors have earned more than $6 million in scholarships and grants to date, and seven of them are Gates Millennium Scholar finalists.
The Urban Prep Academy Creed: http://www.urbanprep.org/about/creed
AFRICANGLOBE – Super-producer Dr. Dre (born Andre Young) and influential music executive Jimmy Iovine are using parts of their substantial fortunes to help cultivate the next generation of music business moguls. It was announced that the pair is giving theUniversity of Southern California $70 million to create a new music academy.
“The vision and generosity of Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young will profoundly influence the way all of us perceive and experience artistic media,” said University of Southern California President C.L. Max Nikias in a statement.
The four-year program will teach undergraduates the necessary skills to be successful in the music industry. Courses focusing on engineering, computer science, fine arts, graphic design, business, and leadership training will be taught by members of USC’s Thorton School of Music, Roski School of Fine Arts, Marshall School of Business, and Viterbi School of Engineering.
According to a statement issued by USC, “industry icons and innovators as visiting faculty and guest speakers” will also take part in the program. It will also provide one-on-one mentoring by professors.
“Academy students will have the freedom to move easily from classroom to lab, from studio to workshop individually or in groups, and blow past any academic or structural barriers to spontaneous creativity,” said Erica Muhl, the first director of the new academy, in a statement.
USC’s Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation is set to open in the fall of 2014 with an initial class of 25 students.
This is how Ass Wholes behave! Unfortunately, the same inhumane and uncaring behavior can also be found in how Ass Wholes like this treat other people. Purposely doing things to scare or hurt children and adults, without remorse. The result is maybe a boost to their ego and a good laugh at the expense of another person’s feelings, self esteem or heart. One person feels good, because they were able to make another person feel bad; just like these people got a good laugh, because they were able to scare this majestic and respected animal. And this is just one of many definitions of dysfunction. Dysfunction that is a result of poor Morals, Values and Ethics Education.
Information on our ‘Unlimited Education’ Project can be found by clicking the EDUCATION Tab on this blog.
Animal Lovers and People Lovers; what are your thoughts?
Remember, agreement is never required here, but courtesy and respect are…
So, there is never any reason to be shy or silent!
This is a picture I found posted on a Social Network and the caption was as follows:
“I’m sure when they hung this brother 53 years ago…
They said look at that guy..
WE are all one race…
Let’s have some unity with that brother….”
My response to the above comment is as follows: This was pure evil! Evil that was conducted by a few Evil People, not an entire race of people. We must remember that, in 2013, their are good and bad people in every race. What a few bad Black People or a few bad White People do, should not be used to condemn an entire race of people.
I, personally, have been treated just as badly by members of my own race as I have by members of any other and I have been treated just as good by members of races other than mine, as I have by members of my own race. Based on my 49 years of experience in life, it is not the color of a person’s skin that determines how a person will treat me, but their character and the goodness in their heart.
Racism still exists; but “Thank God”, it is on the decline. And we should work toward it’s continued decline and not towards it’s rise, again. Separation leads to miss-understanding, stereotypes, paranoia and miss-trust. One race begins to imagine that the other is plotting and scheming secret conspiracies against them and then they begin to act, based on their paranoia and fears. Integration leads to understanding and familiarity leads to the elimination of stereotypes and removes the need for paranoia and thereby lays the foundation for trust.
When you live, work and play with each other, what need is there for paranoia and fear? You can each see everything that the other does and you can see that there is nothing strange going on and you begin to see that you have more in common than not. You begin to see that you both want the same things. You both want safety, security, prosperity, peace and a bright future for your children and are willing to both work hard for it. Suddenly, the reasons to fight, dislike, miss-trust, be fearful and hate each other are gone.
Anywhere that Blacks and Whites live together, work together and play together (Like my own South Florida Neighborhood), there is harmony. But everywhere the races are completely separated, you will find strife. It is the same between nations of the world. Isolation breeds miss-understanding and miss-trust. But if Aliens do exist and if they ever decide to attack Earth, then on that day, we will all be one race; the Human Race.
Remember, agreement is never required here,
but courtesy and respect are,
so there is never any reason to be silent.
This is the place to let your voices be heard…
Amanda Berry was screaming into the fresh air, trying to claw her way out of the confines of 2207 Seymour Avenue. It was May 6 and countless lives were about to be irrevocably altered.
Charles Ramsey heard her screaming for help. Charles Ramsey happened to be in the right place at the right time – a point of fate that strung together 10 years of mystery and pain and hope.
Cleveland police began making their way toward the otherwise quiet thoroughfare that shoots off of West 25th Street, just a stone’s throw from I-90. The wreck of a home stood tall in the late afternoon light, almost bracing for the grand reveal of all the secrets waiting within. Soon enough, two other women emerged from the home, and internationally breaking news began spreading a message of joy around the world. Three long-missing women had been found. Alive. Relatively healthy and coherent.
Ariel Castro, 52, and his brothers Pedro and Onil were arrested following the rescue of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight. Ariel owned the Seymour Avenue home where the women had been kept. Police sources paint a grim picture of chains, restraints, locked doors, and rape.
“Those guys were walking out of the house with 1,000-yard stares,” said one source.
The details surrounding who knew what in the neighborhood and within the Castro family remain murky at best. But the investigation is plowing on this week, thanks to bravery from unsuspecting corners.
For Amanda’s actions and Charles’s quick assistance, both are lauded as heroes in the community.
But it’s unclear whether their rescue needed to wait so long. Leads came and went during the past decade.
Israel Lugo, a neighbor, told MSNBC that he summoned cops in 2011 after “his sister spotted a woman with a baby in the home, banging on the window ‘like she wants to get out.’”
“The cops came,” he said. “They pounded on that man’s door around 15, 20 times, real hard. They looked in the driveway, they got back in the squad car and left.”
“Every single lead was followed up no matter how small,” Cleveland police Deputy Chief Ed Tomba said during a press conference.
But lingering loose ends remain as law enforcement officials, family members, neighbors and investigators work to meld the disparate pieces of this puzzle.
Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus, as sources put it, were close with the Castro family. Emily and Arlene Castro were similar in age to the girls, and they often hung out in the neighborhood.
“These kids all knew each other,” private investigator Chris Giannini says. During and after the girls’ disappearances, in 2004, he employed a man named Fernando Colon – Ariel Castro’s ex-wife’s husband – as a security site supervisor at a local shopping center and got to know the inner workings of the family fairly well.
Colon had fallen under the suspicions of the FBI during their investigation into DeJesus’s whereabouts. By way of marriage, he was somewhat close to the Castro family, and his step-daughters certainly ran in the same circles at the missing teenager. Colon was soon brought in for questioning regarding the disappearances.
But he was cleared following a polygraph test. The man in turn insisted that FBI agents look into Ariel Castro, a man who seemed to attract tumult and disorder throughout his adult life.
“They did not follow up on that,” Giannini says. The Cleveland Division of the FBI offered no comment on the matter when contacted by Scene.
It was 2004, still within the first year of DeJesus’s disappearance. She, along with Berry and Knight, were still regular fixtures in local conversation. Within the Castro family, however, turmoil was bubbling. As Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight grew up painfully inside Ariel Castro’s home, he was fighting to keep the eye of the law far away.
Emily and Arlene Castro, teenagers themselves, did not live with their father. Their mother, Grimilda Figueroa, had married Colon and brought her daughters to live with them over on West 110th Street. Allegations of sexual molestation against Colon soon threatened the stability of the household. Law enforcement once again zeroed in on Fernando Colon, all while Ariel Castro egged them onward. As his daughters continued to accuse Colon of touching them inappropriately – of penetrating them – Ariel Castro began visiting them more frequently and showering them uncharacteristically with gifts. They didn’t spend much time at Castro’s Seymour Avenue house, though. He ensured that much.
The Castro girls’ mother did not believe their mostly frantic allegations. Nor did their older brother, Ariel “Anthony” Castro. Nonetheless, Colon was indicted in late 2004 on 27 criminal charges, including kidnapping and gross sexual imposition, and later offered a light sentence that he couldn’t realistically appeal. Ariel Castro had testified against him in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas. His wife and Castro’s son had testified on his behalf, hoping to clear Colon’s name in this increasing confusing tangle of allegations. Colon’s wife repeatedly told investigators that there was no credence to any of the charges.
This personal history is resurfacing following the arrest of Ariel and his brothers, mostly because it paints one of the few concrete images of life within the family. Ariel Castro had free range of the Seymour Avenue house — his son told the Daily Mail that his father kept the basement, garage, and attic locked and off-limits — and keeping his three kidnapped victims quietly within became a simple task.
“Words can’t even explain,” Tasheena Mitchell, Berry’s cousin, told Scene as she gathered with hundreds of neighbors and family members outside MetroHealth Medical Center Monday night. She was nearly shaking at times.
A neighbor chimed in: “Prayers do come true. It’s surreal.”
The three women were released from the hospital in good condition Tuesday morning. Unconfirmed reports from family members at the scene, which police and doctors had not publicly commented on as of press time, noted that at least one and possibly as many as five babies were born during the women’s captivity. A six-year-old child left the house with Berry as police arrived.
Speculation on the condition of the Seymour Avenue home abounded in the hours and days following the rescue. By any standards, the relative health and coherence of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight was a miraculous turn of events.
“This isn’t the ending we usually get to these stories,” Dr. Gerald Maloney, who works in the Emergency Room at MetroHealth, said.
Family members and friends spent the day and the night – every waking hour – rejoicing. It was the best of all possible family reunions, save for the void left by Berry’s mother’s death in 2006.
Louwana Miller, bereft of her daughter and any semblance of meaningful information about her disappearance, died of a broken heart, friends and family have said. She spoke with Scene in 2003, seven months after Berry disappeared. Already at that point, Miller openly feared, the city had given up on her.
“Me and her was very close,” Miller said. “She always called when she was going someplace.” She was last seen a day before her 17th birthday as she left for a shift at Burger King on West 110th and Lorain. Miller acknowledged that much of Cleveland bent over backward in the weeks following the disappearance, working to maintain awareness and follow up on any possible light. But news cycles demand change, and Miller was soon lamenting the loss of her daughter to few outside of her immediate social circle.
She offered stirring words in 2003, complete with the silver lining that truly never escaped her:
“One good thing is that they haven’t found her body.”
Family members, of course, wished openly that Miller could be here now.
Ariel Castro spent much of the past decade working as a bus driver for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. According to police, his most notable interaction with the law occurred when he left a child on a bus in 2004, resulting in a call from Cuyahoga County Children and Family Services. “He was interviewed extensively,” Tomba said.
Castro would eventually be fired in November 2012 after leaving a child on his bus.
Public Safety Director Martin Flask said at the same press conference Tuesday morning that Children and Family Services were not able to make contact with Ariel after visiting his home. It’s unclear what developments really followed the report of a child being left on the bus, but no charges were ever brought about in that case.
Once again, Tomba’s words at the Tuesday morning press conference hang in the air: “Every single lead was followed up no matter how small,” he said. Unavoidable thoughts hearkening back to Anthony Sowell’s 2011 serial murder convictions hang in the air, as well. The rescue at the Seymour Avenue house will bear out a legacy on the backs of all involved, much like Cleveland’s other high-profile crimes.
Stories revolving around Castro’s work as a bus driver and his interactions with family members fill out characteristics about the man – elements of his personality that may have led to both the kidnapping and to his evasion from law enforcement.
In 1993 and 2005, Castro was accused of domestic violence from his one-time wife. The former charges were reduced to mere disorderly conduct, while the latter incident offered grisly imagery of a fractured marriage still capable of wreaking havoc. Castro broke his ex-wife’s nose and ribs, dislocated her shoulders, knocked out one of her teeth and battered her so hard that a blood clot formed on her brain, according to filings in court. In an interview with investigators after the fact, Castro denied ever being abusive toward her.
That filing effectively killed Castro’s chances at even partial custody of his children. Nevertheless, as sources familiar with the man report, his penchant for manipulation pulled Emily and Arlene back into his gravitational pull at times.
Several years after the gross sexual imposition conviction of Colon blew over, Emily Castro gave birth to a girl. It’s unclear who the father was – though speculation points to either a former boyfriend who now lives in Cleveland or, according to the private investigator, something much more untoward, evil, and incestuous.
Emily was living in Fort Wayne, Ind., where she attempted to murder her 11-month-old daughter by slashing her throat four times in 2007. She was later convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to 25 years in prison.
“It is certainly a mystery as to how this happened or why this happened,” Allen Superior Court Judge John Surbeck told The Journal Gazette at the time.
It is indeed a mystery that may yet hold more clues as to who Ariel Castro has been all these years. Any answers that lay within may illuminate a gap in local law enforcement’s own investigations.
The Regional Fusion Center and the Cleveland Police Department currently maintain a list of 96 missing persons in the area. Some of them have been missing since the mid-2000s. One was last seen in 1995.
Each person carries with them a story, a life.
Women like Ashley Summers and Christina Adkins have garnered attention in the region, thanks to widespread reporting and an insistent base of family and friends that maintains the vigil.
Summers was last seen at her West 96th Street home, near Madison Avenue, in July 2007. The FBI has not come close to solving the mystery of Summers’ whereabouts, though various reports indicate the possibility that she has been held against her will and that foul play has not been an immediate suspicion in her case. The FBI had tied the investigation into Summers’ disappearance into those of Berry and DeJesus as recently as 2009, though the department never explained why.
It took about 10 years for three of the most prominent names on the city’s list of missing persons to come off that roster and back into some semblance of normalcy. Ten years for three names.
WEWS posted an interview Monday night with Charles Ramsey, the neighbor who found Berry as she was running out of the house. In the hours following the rescue, that interview went about as viral as it could go, hitting all corners of the Internet and bestowing upon Ramsey a heroic bit of worldwide fandom. “I heard screaming…And I see this girl going nuts trying to get outside,” he said. “I go on the porch and she said, ‘Help me get out. I’ve been here a long time.’”
He had been working over a meal from a nearby McDonald’s just moments before – a fact that figured prominently in the Internet’s collective gushing. The fast food corporation reached out on Tuesday, writing: “Way to go Charles Ramsey- we’ll be in touch.”
Ramsey stepped into local history Monday night, precisely as the names Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight re-entered local conversation with fervor and optimism.
All of their actions, which won out over the evil brewing on Seymour Avenue this past decade, are a testament to the power of will in this community and to the need for hope in the face of darkness. This matter of profound significance was not ushered in by way of police investigations or federal law enforcement insight. Three long-missing women are safe and out of harm’s way today solely due to the faith they fostered and the bravery they summoned.
Going forward, the weight of unanswered questions is countered only by the overwhelming joy resounding through Cleveland and the rest of the world.
PUBLISHED: 19:08 EST, 6 May 2013 | UPDATED: 21:21 EST, 6 May 2013
Three girls who went missing a decade ago have been found alive after they were kept in the dungeon of a Cleveland, Ohio home.
Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus were found alive on Monday inside a house on 2200 block of Seymour Avenue near West 25th Street alongside a third woman identified as Michelle Knight.
A 52-year-old man named Ariel Castro has been arrested and is in police custody in connection to the case.
When the neighbor helped Berry out of the house, she was holding a young child, and there were reportedly other children in the home but it is unclear what their relationship is to the children.
Found: Amanda Berry (left) and Gina DeJesus (right) were found alive in Cleveland on Monday following a decade-long search
‘Help me I’m Amanda Berry…I’ve been kidnapped and I’ve been missing for ten years and I’m here. I’m free now,’ Berry is heard saying in the call to police that has been publicly released.
‘I need them now before he gets back!’ she said in the frantic phone call to 911, going on to identify her captor as Ariel Castro, a 52-year-old Hispanic man.
Castro has lived in the house since 1992 and he was arrested for domestic violence in 1993.
Berry disappeared on April 21, 2003, a day before her 17th birthday, and a year later then-14-year-old DeJesus went missing on April 2, 2004.
On Monday evening, DeJesus’ cousin Sylvia Colon spoke to CNN, saying that the missing girl’s mother Nancy Ruiz confirmed to relatives that Gina is alive and well in hospital.
‘What a phenomenal mother’s Day gift this is,’ Ms Colon told the station.
Berry went missing shortly after she called her sister to say that she was getting a ride home from her job at Burger King. DeJesus went missing on her way home from school.
Michelle Knight went missing in 2000 at the age of 20-years-old.
They were found when a neighbor saw a woman, later identified as Amanda, screaming from inside a home in West Cleveland.
‘I heard screaming, I’m eating my McDonalds, I come outside and I see this girl going nuts trying to get out of the house and I go on the porch and she says “Help me get out! I’ve been in here a long time,”‘ neighbor Charles Ramsey told local News Net 5.
‘I go on the porch and she said “Help me get out. I’ve been here a long time.” I figure it was domestic violence dispute.’
‘She comes out with a little girl and says ‘Call 911, my name is Amanda Berry’… When she told me, it didn’t register.’
‘It didn’t register until I got on the phone with 911 and I said “I’m calling 911 for Amanda Berry- I thought this girl is dead.”
Before they went missing: Amanda Berry, pictured before her disappearance, was last seen leaving her job at Burger King as she told her sister that she was getting a ride home
‘That girl Amanda told the police “I ain’t the only one, there are some more girls up inside that house” so they went.’
The women were taken to MetroHealth Medical Center, as they are reportedly suffering from severe dehydration and slightly malnourished but alive.
Charles Ramsey said that he was shocked about the discovery because the man who owns the home- who is thought to be the kidnapper- did not stay hidden from those around him.
‘I’ve been here a year. I barbeque with this dude, we eat ribs and what not and listen to salsa music.
Not a clue that that girl was in that house or that anyone else was in there with,’ Charles said of Castro.
Other case: Gina DeJesus went missing in 2004 on her way home from school, and her parents think that part of the reason why her case was not given much attention was because no Amber Alert was issued since no one actually saw the abduction take place
‘He’s somebody you look and then you look away because he’s just doing normal stuff.
‘You got some big testicles to pull this one off because we see this guy every day,’ he told NewsNet5.
Two men arrested for questioning in the disappearance of DeJesus in 2004 were released from the city jail in 2006 after officers did not find her body during a search of the men’s house.
One of the men was transferred to the Cuyahoga County Jail on unrelated charges, while the other was allowed to go free, police said.
In September 2006, police acting on a tip tore up the concrete floor of the garage and used a cadaver dog to search unsuccessfully for DeJesus’ body.
Investigators confiscated 19 pieces of evidence during their search but declined to comment on the significance of the items then. –AP
Local news reporters told CNN that Castro is said to have worked as a bus driver for the Cleveland Metropolitan schools, though it is unclear whether that was the case when the women were kidnapped.
Crowds of Cleveland residents gathered at the police station and cheered as squad cars pulled into the station Monday night, and a similar crowd gathered outside of the hospital.
The disappearances of Amanda and Gina captured the attention of the entire city for the past decade, as their relatives have continually held vigils and kept the story alive in the local press.
Amanda’s mother Louwanna Miller, died in March 2006 after the years of her daughter’s disappearance had taken a toll on her deteriorating health. Local news reports said that she ‘died of a broken heart’.
Amanda’s sister has continued to keep the case in the public’s attention since their mother died, and she has worked closely with the DeJesus family.
Earlier in the case, DeJesus’ mother Nancy Ruiz raised the alarm that her daughter was the victim of human trafficking.
‘I always said it from the beginning; she was sold to the highest bidder,’ Ms Ruiz said in April 2012.
Cleveland mayor Frank Jackson was the first public official to speak out about the case, confirming the identities of the three women.
‘I am thankful that Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight have been found alive. We have many unanswered questions regarding this case and the investigation will be ongoing. Again, I am thankful that these three young ladies are found and alive,’ he said.
’UNLIMITED EDUCATION FOR OUR CHILDREN’
“This is a Hungry Man’s Meal”
WHEN: SATURDAY, MAY 4, 2013
FROM: 11 am to 10 pm
WHERE: CYPRESS GROVE APT. J-108 (4330 NW 19th St. Lauderhill, FL. 33313)
HOW: STOP BY OR DIAL 954-213-3327 FOR PICK-UP OR DELIVERY
PAY: UPON DELIVERY OR RECEIPT (You don’t like what you see; you don’t pay)
HOW MUCH: $8.00 each
For more information about the ‘Unlimited Education’ Project, visit: www.thechangetheworldmovement.com ‘EDUCATION TAB’
Woman: Is there a problem, Officer?
Officer: Ma’am, you were speeding.
Woman: Oh, I see.
Officer: Can I see your license please?
Woman: I’d give it to you but I don’t have one.
Officer: Don’t have one?
Woman: Lost it 4 times for drunk driving.
Officer: I see…Can I see your vehicle registration papers please.
Woman: I can’t do that.
Officer: Why not?
Woman: I stole this car.
Officer: Stole it?
Woman: Yes, and I killed and hacked up the owner.
Officer: You what?
Woman: His body parts are in plastic bags in the trunk if you want to see.
The Officer looks at the woman and slowly backs away to his car and calls for back up. Within minutes 5 police cars circle the car. A senior officer slowly approaches the car, clasping his half drawn gun.
Officer2: Ma’am, could you step out of your vehicle please!
The woman steps out of her vehicle.
Woman: Is there a problem sir?
Officer2: One of my officers told me that you have stolen this car and murdered the owner.
Woman: Murdered the owner?
Officer2: Yes, could you please open the trunk of your car, please.
The woman opens the trunk, revealing nothing but an empty trunk.
Officer2: Is this your car, ma’am?
Woman: Yes, here are the registration papers. The officer is quite stunned.
Officer2: One of my officers claims that you do not have a driving license.
The woman digs into her handbag and pulls out a clutch purse and hands it to the officer. The officer snaps opens the clutch purse and examines the license. He looks quite puzzled.
Officer2: Thank you ma’am, one of my officers told me you didn’t have a license, that you stole this car, and that you murdered and hacked up the owner.
Woman: Bet you the lying bastard told you I was speeding, too!
|#||Amendments||Proposal date||Enactment date||Full text|
|1st||Protects freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of the press, as well as the right toassemble and petition the government||September 25, 1789||December 15, 1791||Full text|
|2nd||Protects a militia’s and an individual’s right to bear arms||September 25, 1789||December 15, 1791||Full text|
|3rd||Prohibits the forced quartering of soldiers during peacetime||September 25, 1789||December 15, 1791||Full text|
|4th||Prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures and sets out requirements for search warrantsbased on probable cause||September 25, 1789||December 15, 1791||Full text|
|5th||Sets out rules for indictment by grand jury and eminent domain, protects the right to due process, and prohibits self-incrimination and double jeopardy||September 25, 1789||December 15, 1791||Full text|
|6th||Protects the right to a fair and speedy public trial by jury, including the rights to be notified of theaccusations, to confront the accuser, to obtain witnesses and to retain counsel||September 25, 1789||December 15, 1791||Full text|
|7th||Provides for the right to trial by jury in certain civil cases, according to common law||September 25, 1789||December 15, 1791||Full text|
|8th||Prohibits excessive fines and excessive bail, as well as cruel and unusual punishment||September 25, 1789||December 15, 1791||Full text|
|9th||Protects rights not enumerated in the constitution.||September 25, 1789||December 15, 1791||Full text|
|10th||Limits the powers of the federal government to those delegated to it by the Constitution||September 25, 1789||December 15, 1791||Full text|
|11th||Makes states immune from suits from out-of-state citizens and foreigners not living within the state borders. Lays the foundation for sovereign immunity||March 4, 1794||February 7, 1795||Full text|
|12th||Revises presidential election procedures||December 9, 1803||June 15, 1804||Full text|
|13th||Abolishes slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime||January 31, 1865||December 6, 1865||Full text|
|14th||Defines citizenship, contains the Privileges or Immunities Clause, the Due Process Clause, theEqual Protection Clause, and deals with post-Civil War issues||June 13, 1866||July 9, 1868||Full text|
|15th||Prohibits the denial of suffrage based on race, color, or previous condition of servitude||February 26, 1869||February 3, 1870||Full text|
|16th||Allows the federal government to collect income tax||July 12, 1909||February 3, 1913||Full text|
|17th||Establishes the direct election of United States Senators by popular vote||May 13, 1912||April 8, 1913||Full text|
|18th||Establishes prohibition of alcohol (repealed by Twenty-first Amendment)||December 18, 1917||January 16, 1919||Full text|
|19th||Establishes women’s suffrage||June 4, 1919||August 18, 1920||Full text|
|20th||Fixes the dates of term commencements for Congress (January 3) and the President (January 20); known as the “lame duck amendment”||March 2, 1932||January 23, 1933||Full text|
|21st||Repeals the Eighteenth Amendment and prohibits violations of state laws regarding alcohol.||February 20, 1933||December 5, 1933||Full text|
|22nd||Limits the number of times that a person can be elected president. A person cannot be elected president more than twice. Additionally, a person who has served more than two years of a term to which someone else was elected cannot be elected more than once.||March 24, 1947||February 27, 1951||Full text|
|23rd||Provides for representation of Washington, D.C., in the Electoral College||June 16, 1960||March 29, 1961||Full text|
|24th||Prohibits the revocation of voting rights due to the non-payment of poll taxes||September 14, 1962||January 23, 1964||Full text|
|25th||Codifies the Tyler Precedent; defines the process of presidential succession||July 6, 1965||February 10, 1967||Full text|
|26th||Establishes the right to vote for those age 18 years or older.||March 23, 1971||July 1, 1971||Full text|
|27th||Prevents laws affecting Congressional salary from taking effect until the beginning of the next session of Congress||September 25, 1789||May 7, 1992||Full text|
In addition to the headline unemployment rate, the BLS also breaks out the unemployment rate for numerous demographic groups. The unemployment rate by education level, race/ethnicity, age andgender are reported below.
In 1992, the BLS began tracking unemployment rates by education level. Highlighted below are the unemployment rates for the following four groups classified by education attained: 1. Less than a high school diploma 2. A high school diploma but no college 3. Some college or an Associate degree 4.Bachelor’s degree or higher. All groups consist of individuals 25 years old or higher.
|Education Level Achieved||March 2013||Month/Month
|High School Grad
or Associate Degree
Note: Recessions shown in gray
The unemployment rate by race time series goes back to 1954. With the exception of the Asian time series, all of the rates shown here are seasonally adjusted. Hispanics may be of any race.
|Hispanic or Latino||9.2%||-0.4||-1.1|
The unemployment age time series begins in 1948. Recent history has shown greater employment stability as age increases.
|Age Range||March 2013||Month/Month
The unemployment rate time series for men and women also begins in 1948. Traditionally, women have had greater employment stability than men during economic downturns.