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How The Blue Ribbon Campaign Began

The following letter (courtesy of the Virginia Coalition for Child Abuse Prevention) is from the founder of Blue Ribbon Day.

Blue Ribbon"Dear Advocate for the Child:

NO! It isn't true! It simply cannot be true! They are telling me that my grandson is dead...they are wrong! There has been some mistake...Bubba is fine...but deep in my heart, I knew it was true for I have not seen him in...weeks. It's been so long since I sat by his side in the hospital. Of course I knew something was wrong as I sat there. I saw fear on his face, the bruises on his body, and the healing cigarette burns on his hands. His doctor did not believe my daughter's story..."he fell in slippery water in the bathtub"...I felt sick...I didn't understand...Are my granddaughters all right? Where are they?

I only had one child. She was a beautiful little girl. She was the light of our eyes. WE knew she had entered into a stormy marriage, for we brought her home several times in the five years the marriage lasted. We suspected heavy use of drugs...BUT those five years three beautiful, healthy children had been born. I loved them dearly, and they loved me. The children were 16 months, 3 years and 4 years old.

After the ordeal at the hospital my grandson was placed into foster care for three weeks. He cried when they came to take him back to his mother. He told his foster mother, " my mama don't love me" and he begged to stay. I ached for his dilemma. I was not physically able to care for him. The courts seemed to believe that home was the best place for him...but I knew better and I told them. I begged them not to return him to his mother. But, I was overruled. My instinct as a grandmother did not count.

I never saw Bubba again. My 16 month old granddaughter was hospitalized after being beaten severely...her leg broken in four places, and her hand burned from the tip of her little fingers to her wrist. It was only then that the "search was on" for Bubba. We learned that he had been killed, wrapped in a sheet, stuffed in a tool box, and dumped into the Dismal Swamp three months earlier.

My grandchildren had suffered and battled so much throughout their young lives that it sickened me. My life was turned into physical and mental chaos. My efforts to understand became a plea to stop abusing children. I tied a blue ribbon on my van antenna to make people wonder. It caught on locally with restaurants, businesses, police, and TV and radio stations supporting me in my efforts to make it a real awareness campaign.

Why blue? I intend never to forget the battered, bruised bodies of my grandchildren. Blue serves as a constant reminder to me to fight for protection for our children. Every day I pray that our children will be allowed to hear the sounds of a different drummer.

Join me...we must protect our most precious gift of all...our children. Please, wear a blue ribbon...put one on your car...give one to your friends...tell them what it means... you may save a child's life!

If you suspect ANYTHING is happening to your children...your grandchildren...the child next door ...PLEASE ACT! If you get no response, try again! You may not hear their screams... you may not see their check for the pain and the screams in their eyes...Watch...for the screams in their eyes.

Mrs. Bonnie Finney"
Child Neglect