Okay I never imagined I would become an ACTIVIST I mean geez don’t those people cause waves and start trouble? I mean don’t they even get arrested? Okay well perhaps that is all true but you know what they also don’t stop and they don’t accept a bunch of political bullshit at the end of the day. So well I am now an activist and if getting arrested will help any one stop or curtail Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) then bring it on.
Today another article came out about the fight in Whiteclay, NE. http://www.livewellnebraska.com/health/kelly-from-documentaries-to-the-capitol-to-unmc-focus-sharpens/article_fe25d3af-800f-5331-b5a2-361632264324.html?mode=jqm How many of you know where Whiteclay is? Well if you don’t or if you have never been I challenge each of you to go. Just for one day or honestly even one hour. If you can turn your back on addiction and FASD after that well I guess I will be surprised. Most of us can’t. I am a mom who is raising children whose lives have been affected by this town in a permanent way.
Here is a bit of history. Whiteclay is not a town. It actually doesn’t really exist as it is just an unincorporated village that states to have a population of somewhere between 12-14. I am pretty sure this is faulty unless there are people camping out as most of the residences are burned out buildings. There are some amazing people who run a ministry there but even with them that totals only 3. So anyway there is not really a population. This “town” came to be 200 yards from the border of South Dakota. It actually borders the Pine Ridge Reservation which we are going to respect enough to call the Oglala Lakota Nation. This is a DRY population. They have been dry for over 120 years as they knew that alcohol was a negative thing for them. The Oglala’s have long recognized that alcohol causes spirit sickness in them and they want to avoid it but right now there is thought to be an addiction rate on this land of somewhere between 60-80% (depending on source). Regardless it is recognized as a huge issue. The fact is that due to the addiction rate the rate of FASD is astronomical at this point and the issue is generations in (some say 3-5 generations).
Here comes Whiteclay. IN Nebraska their liquor commission is tasked with a job. This job is to decide where to issue licenses. What a huge responsibility. Not something that can be taken lightly at all as we know crime and other issues can follow alcohol so the issuing of a license and the oversight of it are an enormous responsibility. One of the things they look at when they issue a license is the nature of the neighborhood. Okay so here is Whiteclay and there is nothing else there and no one to sell to except the dry reservation…hmmm. Over and over I have been told that they are not there to sell to the reservation. So they must be after the prairie dog population right? Here is where I tell you the dirty secret. Nebraska didn’t just give one liquor license to this “town” of 12 but FOUR. Yes I am not stuttering or kidding they gave out FOUR. So that is one store per 3 residents right? Now look at the number of beers being sold and I should correct here it is not beer but MALT LIQUOR that is much more potent being sold. So they sell approximately 11,000 cans a day. Now divide that by the 12 residents, as they aren’t there to sell to the reservation remember? So each resident is drinking 917 drinks a day. Each of these drinks is equivalent to about 5 regular beers so that means that each resident is actually consuming 4,585 a day. Boy their livers are shot! All kidding aside this is where they are trying to sell their bullshit to us and we are allowing it.
IN order to issue a license they also have to consider the adequacy of law enforcement as we all know where there is liquor there is often crime. The nearest law enforcement is over 20 miles away and with the call logs we obtained we see that their ability to answer serious calls means wait times of 40 minutes to several hours! This is not adequate law enforcement and that is apparent when you are in the “town”.
The other thing the commission needs to see is what the sanitary conditions are. Hmmm okay there is not ONE public restroom in this entire town. This is pretty apparent by the shit on the walls of the buildings in town as people are literally defecating on the walls. The smells will show you where the bathroom is happening.
One of the last things they needed to consider is whether the businesses being proposed, in this case 4 liquor stores, is in the best interest of the community and public best interest. Okay I am not sure where 4 liquor stores right next to each other would be in ANYONE’S best interest but certainly not in the middle of nowhere on the edge of a population that is desperately trying to fight addiction.
So that is the case of why it was ridiculous that these licenses were EVER ISSUED. The fact is that over and over I hear how they are operating legitimate businesses. REALLY??? They never should have even been these businesses. Now that they are there we act like we can’t change that. The fact is that they are not legitimate. What are the liquor laws? Where is the oversight? The sheriff of the county admits that a huge part of his budget goes to trying to police the mess and that they don’t have the man power to do so. The mayor of a nearby town though doesn’t want Whiteclay to leave as well then what if the problem heads to his town?
Here is where I say outright that this is a RACIAL issue. While FASD is not a racial issue and knows no socioeconomic boundaries Whiteclay certainly is all about the race. See often in the minutes to meetings and other evidence one sees the statement of we don’t want “them” in our towns. Hmmm who the heck is them? Doesn’t take a genius to find out. When I have spoken in front of the liquor commission I was appalled to realize that the sitting board members have never gone there or at least they did not admit to having ever been. I challenge them to go. One of the board members also sits on the board of Boys Town in Nebraska an organization that helps children and even children who are affected by FASD. Not sure if this is to help his soul feel cleaner when he turns his head on the offenses of the liquor stores he continues to support licensing or what.
So why do I care? Oh boy, I care because I see friends and family on the streets of Whiteclay. I care because the children who enter our lives who are so incredibly hurt by prenatal exposure to alcohol come to us because of these stores. I care because WE SHOULD ALL FREAKING CARE! Human life is being altered and lost. There are many of our brothers and sisters living on the streets who are being hurt daily. So many of these people are already dealing with FASD and their addictions are continuing the cycle.
So will shutting Whiteclay down stop this? Nope. So I guess we should ignore it right? Does one waiter saying to a pregnant woman he won’t serve her end FASD? Nope but it is still an important act! I will not ignore the illegal businesses in Whiteclay because it won’t fix the entire issue. I will not act like the politicians who speak of action but do nothing are doing enough. (this is not toward the one who is actually doing something!!! You know who you are…) I will not accept the usual compromise which usually equals a whole lot of nothing.
No amount of vitamins is gonna fix FASD and no amount of compromise is going to shut down Whiteclay. I AM PRAYING TO END WHITECLAY. I know we will have a long road from there but it will be a road I am going to be proud to finally walk.