A few weeks ago, MyBrownBaby contributor Nick Chiles wrote a beautiful, heartfelt “love” letter to the 11-year-old girl who was gang raped in Cleveland, Texas a post that received a shout-out on TODAY Moms, got more than 3,000 FaceBook shares and, most importantly, drew almost 200 comments full of encouraging words and prayers for the child and her family.
Since the post ran, another man has been charged, bringing the total number of boys and men charged in the girl’s rape to 19. It’s also been discovered that the girl was attacked not just once, but on several occasions during a three-month span beginning in September 2010; that her mother suffers from tumors on her brain that have gone untreated for a year because she doesn’t have healthcare; that her father, a carpenter, has suffered severe depression since injuring his back and being put out of work last year; that the little girl is still being hidden in a foster care home while the town gnashes its teeth and implicates this 11-year-old child in her own rape; and that the family, poor and destitute, has been forced to uproot their other kids and move to an undisclosed location where they have no furniture and little money to survive.
After reading this story in the New York Times, I took a chance and reached out to Brenda Myers, president of The Community & Children’s Impact Center in Cleveland, Texas, an organization that was a refuge for the little girl before she was attacked. My prayer was that she could somehow get Nick’s letter and the many other beautiful messages written here at MyBrownBaby to the little girl and her family to let her and her parents know that even if the people in her town couldn’t cloak her in love and support, there were plenty others who would. Brenda graciously reached out to MyBrownBaby in the comment section; I didn’t want you all to miss out on what she wrote, so I pulled it out and am publishing it here for you all to see. At the end of the piece is a listing, plus links, to organizations that are helping the family. I encourage you all to find it in your hearts to help this family in any way you can. Here, Brenda’s note:
My name is Brenda Myers and I’m The President of The Community & Children’s Impact Center in Cleveland, Texas. The 11-year-old girl was on my youth team along with her sisters and many friends. I have been interviewed by CNN, Channel 11, New York Times, GQ Magazine, radio interviews and more since this horrible news came to light. I was hoping that through me, having a voice for the children in my community, people all around the world hearing this story would understand that we are not all bad people in Cleveland, Texas, that our hearts are broken and that we intend to fight back in a positive way to let this child know we are not going to let this rape go unnoticed and that we are taking a stand for her and all rape victims for that matter.
You have no idea how much your story and the comments of your readers have touched my heart. I am in every day contact with this family and I will make sure the family gets this amazing story. A lot of people are trying to make this a racist issue; however, I work with some of the most amazing black organizations and people that it hurts me deeply when people use this as a excuse to hide the real truth and not address the needs and pain of this little girl. I was hit by a drunk driver in 2004 and God gave me a vision to help the children in my community. I started the Community & Children’s Impact Center in 2006. We have made a difference in hundreds of lives but due to the fact we live in a very high poverty area, the funding is tough. We have raised enough funds over the last five years to purchase a small piece of land and a van for youth transportation. We are working on raising funds purchase a culvert for a driveway and the building materials. We have no after school programs and no youth center for 40 miles in any direction. Our children are losing hope. God is sending me angels as we speak so I have to keep my faith and know someone is going to come one day to help me get this center. We then can make a tremendous impact in more childrens lives.
The little 11-year-old girl was part of this team and I feel if we would have had a safe place for her to go on a daily basis this may not have happened. I feel her pain as well as I do the whole family because they are like family to me. I want each of your readers to know that the love and heartfelt spirit is being heard right here in Cleveland and it is making a positive impact. Please have your readers go to www.impactcenter.vpweb.com. Any suggestions or advice is welcomed. I appreciate your kindness and love for a child. You gave me more hope.
According to this Houston Chronicle story, Sylvia Gonzales, national vice president for the southwest region of the League of United Latin American Citizens, the nation’s foremost civil rights organization for Latinos, is raising funds for the family. To see how you can donate directly to the family, email Gonzales at firstname.lastname@example.org. My hope is that between Brenda and Sylvia, we can help this family with not only our uplifting words, but financial support.