We can all see her in our mind’s eye: Dumped with her wailing infant by her captors to die, she staggers across the grueling desert, choking on her swollen tongue and broken teeth left from the fists that had subdued her. She’s desperate for water for her and her baby, her teenage once-budding breasts now withered and empty in the cruel sun. She has only a few occasional drops of spit to offer the hungry infant. Terrified by their attempts at making her compliant, she’d begged the hired coyotes not to kill her baby as they’d held a gun to the tiny head, laughing at her terror, forcing her to accept them without resistance into her sore, struggling body, both of them, one debasement after another as she submits to protect the tiny being with her very life. Would the child remember? She’d fled the murderous gangs in her blood-soaked former Central American Paradise with her fretful new baby daughter, just days old. They’d named her Maria after her mother who’d been raped and murdered by the same gang of thugs, one of the many reasons they were fleeing in terror. The young mother had watched in horror as her husband was slaughtered in front of her, and it was only a nearby explosion that distracted the killers that had enabled her to escape to the waiting coyotes. They’d already been paid all the money they had to escort the young family to freedom in America despite the tales of the dangerous trip to an unwelcoming destination. Would the child remember? She and her newborn had traveled alone with the coyotes, her only choice. Her wailing, hungry infant had caused her to be abandoned by the coyotes who claimed her baby’s cries had gotten on their nerves. They’d left her barely conscious, raped and beaten, kicking sand on them both. Would the child remember? The mother was alone with her pain and her grief, guided during freezing nights only by the moon and the stars, protected only by a shabby blanket, sheltering in burrows where she could, finding sustenance from the occasional cactus. Her only thoughts besides the profound numbness, a feeling of cement in her soul, were of a dream of life in America, safety for her daughter, a chance to live decently, to prosper, to get an education for her and her daughter, to have the space and support to heal and maybe once again feel joy. Now her brown body is covered by a torn garment and insect bites, bruises, dirt, crusted semen and cuts from her rapists. Had Maria been watching, screaming? Would the child remember? Feeling abandoned by everyone, even God, she scoops up the sunburned infant, and sobs a raspy lullaby as an avalanche of salty tears flow, dampening her baby’s sand-filled hair, both their sobs of anguish blending, unbearable to hear if one were listening. All the mother’s belongings and papers are gone with the cruel men along with the water and food to sustain them on their final miles to freedom. Beyond exhaustion, she resists the urge to curl up on the burning ground. Her baby held close to her battered heart, staggering on, a bloodied Warrior Woman determined to start a new life for her and her child. Overhead, vultures circle patiently, following her blistered footsteps. Suddenly she believed she was hallucinating, for there in the distance, she spotted on the horizon what must surely be a mirage, a border fence where kind people have stashed nearby jugs of water and cans of food! She forges ahead in disbelief and wonder toward a mountain of precious, life-giving water, gallons and gallons, beside sparkling cans of nourishing beans. She hadn’t eaten in days and was often delirious, hanging on only for the sake of her precious baby. From a deep reservoir of whatever incredible strength mothers have to protect their babies no matter the cost, the woman begins to run, hope springing as it eternally does, propelling her toward the possibility of life. Baby bouncing on her skinny shoulders, gasping, sobbing with relief, doubting what she’s seeing, she draws closer and closer to salvation. Suddenly stopping in shock, her voice hoarse and dry, she screams, “NO” and sinks to her knees in the hot sand, unable to believe her eyes, not comprehending how anyone could do such a cruel thing, pouring out the water and food, taunting the desperate by leaving piles of empty jugs and cans that can lead to only one thing, deliberate murder. Her mind ablaze with only hot light and unbearable pain, she stops, staring in disbelief. What human being could have done this? Pulling the baby up to her face, she screams, disbelieving, as Maria’s little head lolls on the tiny neck. She has finally stopped crying... We can all see them in our mind’s eye...if we’ll only look... * * * Swarthmore, PA 2019 Post Script: We have lost our fragile moral center. What other explanation can there be for the creeping fascism responsible for cruel laws, arresting humanitarians, spilling lifesaving food and water, baby jails, illegally turning away legitimate asylum seekers, tearing families apart, lying as blood sport, toxic masculinity in all its’ warmongering glory, and the ongoing degradation of Mother Earth and all of her women, girls, boys, and WOKE men, men of consciousness and morality whose time it is to step up to the plate and stop this murdering madness. Who are these creators of baby jails? “Decent White Supremacists” flourish as racial hatred, violence, war and mass incarceration have become normalized, as America is hit by an apparently unparalleled acceptable tsunami of greed, racism, sexism and corruption, especially targeting those with black and brown skin. Who refuse to know truth, who choose deliberate, cultures ignorance? Who listen to and follow blindly messages of hate? The Golden Rule, to which many subscribe, has been kicked on its’ proverbial ass, unchallenged by Christian hypocrites. Her shrunken breasts will once again fill with life, too late for her baby. Will her heart ever heal? Her soul come back to life? Is there a world where she can thrive? Will her mind heal? Her Spirit? Will she surrender to the crushing weight of despair or become radicalized? How does the needless death of one tiny, brown-skinned child, affect each of us? Who might Maria and all the lost Marias and Pedros have become? WAKE UP AMERICA! We can all see it all in our mind’s eye, if we’ll only look... March 2019 Much later she would learn that the humanitarian women from Arizona who’d left the food and water for the families fleeing across the desert had been arrested by border guards, who’d gleefully poured out the life-sustaining food and water with happy smiles for the cameras. They are following new immigration policies in a country that, despite claiming democracy, seems to have a disgust for refugees and immigrants, demonizing them, with a fondness for despots and variations of blatant white supremacy.
From Media Town Talk (Delaware County [PA] News Network)

Author Judith Trustone has started a global revolution without any noise, and without any bloodshed. In her self-created vehicle to change the world, Trustone, a resident of Swarthmore, hopes to kill with kindness, rather than violence, creating a rippling effect through her Global Kindness Revolution.

With her recently released book, “The Global Kindness Revolution: How Together We Can Heal Violence, Racism and Meanness Through Active Mindfulness,” Trustone outlines her plan for changing the world by one little act of kindness at a time. The author proposes at 12 noon every day, people around the world should think a kind thought or do a kind deed. They can set their computers, tablets, smart phones or alarm clocks to noon and after alerted, they should pause, take five clearing breaths and then think or perform their act of kindness. If 51% of the world’s population did this, she says, the world’s energy field would turn from violence to kindness. Others will pay that kindness forward, she says, and the entire world would be a much better place.

“Did you know that doing or receiving an act of kindness, or even reading about or observing an act of kindness, raises our happy hormone levels,” Trustone asked rhetorically during a recent interview.

Endorsed by Jack Canfield, well-known author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, the book was written to make a difference. Canfield wrote, “Judith Trustone is the Grande Dame for social change. She is committed to all of the good things in the world. Her work is on the same level as Maya Angelou’s.”

The idea for the global revolution and the book, which is available through Amazon in both e-book and printed versions, took root during Trustone’s volunteer work inside prisons. The Delaware County resident was already seeking an antidote to the rampant bullying, meanness and the growing culture of violence exemplified by Columbine, Newtown and the Boston Marathon killings. At the time, Trustone was teaching creative writing to prisoners at Graterford Prison, giving a voice to the voiceless through her writing, editing and publishing. While teaching at Graterford for seven years, she founded Sagewriters, a publishing company, to publish books with social merit by people in prison, their families and advocates. Sagewriters published the work of over 30 authors and worked with 1500 potential authors across the country.

Her work in prisons inspired her previous book, “Celling America’s Soul: Torture & Transformation in Our Prisons and Why We Should Care,” which is now in its second printing. The book is a compilation of the stories of the prisoners whom she met during her time at Graterford. Since its publication, Trustone said, both she and the book, have been barred from prisons but she continues to work with the residents through letters, phone calls and mutual contacts. Trustone also has published a third book, The Cat’s Secret Guide to Living With Humans.

Seeking ways to halt some of the violence and pent-up anger within the prison walls, when she was volunteering there, she also created “kindness cards.” Her idea for the cards originated from the reaction she would get when she gave people thank you notes after noticing kind things they did. She saw how her notes uplifted and encouraged more kindness so she came up with the idea to pass out the kindness cards. She gave the prisoners the cards, in both English and Spanish to pass on to others, and soon began passing them out to people outside in the community.

The cards read, “Thank you for your kindness. Kindness is the antidote to violence and meanness. Pass this to another with the courage to be gentle. Heal hatred. Soothe, nurture and energize yourself. Join our Global Kindness Revolution and our virtual Kindness Circle or start your own Community Kindness Circle. Be Kind All the time!”

Trustone has distributed over 100,000 of her Kindness cards, inside and out of prison walls in the United States and in three South American countries. She hopes the idea will spread and the cards will soon be distributed throughout the world. She currently has Kindness Ambassadors in six other countries.

She also hosts “Kindness Circles” in prisons, schools, and local communities. For nine years, except for a two-year respite after a car accident, the 77- year- old community kindness activist has been leading Community Kindness Circles for a variety of groups, churches and schools. In a Kindness Circle, participants stand or sit silently in a circle, holding hands, drawing the “Light of Kindness” into their circle. The total instructions on creating a Kindness Circle is printed on Trustone’s Kindness Cards and on her website. The Kindness Circle can be done alone or with others.

To make her Kindness Circles global, Trustone has made DVDs depicting Kindness Circles, as well as documentaries about their effect, so people everywhere can start one. The author said the documentaries have been shown on PBS and at universities around the country. She also released a training DVD on YouTube, to teach others how to create a Kindness Circle and shift from fear and anger to kindness and peace. Local school, church and community groups may also invite Trustone to come in person to facilitate a Kindness Circle. She recently led a Kindness Circle for over 100 participants at the Pendle Hill Quaker Retreat Center in Wallingford and Swarthmore Borough Hall, and participated in a panel discussion at the Delaware County Peace Center in Springfield. She will discuss and sign her new book 7-9 p.m. Wed., Dec. 7 at Head Room, 24 Veterans Square, Media.

“Everyone is just so hungry for kindness,” she remarked. “The recent election has tested our kindness to each other. We need to heal America and move on.”

Trustone is no stranger to activism. The self-proclaimed women’s activist has pushed for female causes for the past 50 years, she said. Growing up in Hatboro, Trustone moved to Media in Delaware County in 1960. Through the years, she has worked for Fair Housing, studied Vipassana meditation techniques at the Vipassana Meditation Center in Shelburne, Massachusetts and has served as an apprentice to a Native American medicine man in Washington State.

“The beauty and simplicity of the Global Kindness Revolution,” Trustone explained, “is that anyone can do it, anytime, anywhere, alone or with others. There’s no cost, no courses, no certificates, just a commitment to doing whatever you can to strive to be kind all the time.”

Ponderings, Politics & Poetry

The Cat's Secret Guide to Living With Humans

(1st Edition)


Celling America's Soul:

Torture and Transformation in Our Prisons and Why We Should Care


Global Kindness Revolution:

How Together We Can Heal Violence, Racism, and Meanness