More whistleblowing tips
Thanks for making the Bylines Gazette free to all.
I was disappointed that the article on whistleblowing did not include advice on gathering and recording information, e.g. making notes as soon as possible after an event that includes the names of witnesses, what was said, etc. Photographs. Trying to get information via email and letter rather than conversations/meetings. If you do go to meetings, take your own notes.
I’d add that it’s important to understand laws relating to whistleblowing activism (such as removing certain documents from a workplace, and individual privacy) and the whistleblowing policy of your organisation.
Yes, being a whistleblower is fraught, but chances are better with more information.
Wales in Nebraska
Dear friends and members,
2023 was an amazing year for the Great Plains Welsh Heritage Project. After four years of planning and hard work by our dedicated volunteers, as well as support from members and donors, we successfully cohosted the North American Festival of Wales (NAFOW) in Lincoln, Nebraska, and welcomed hundreds of guests to our museum and archive in Wymore. We also appointed our first-ever part-time director, Robert Humphries, who is leading the effort to build on this foundation of success, and we mean build!
We are excited to announce our plans to expand the Great Plains Welsh Heritage Centre with a 2,200 square-foot addition. This will provide a purpose-built exhibit space where we can share more of the historic artefacts many of you have entrusted to our care, and tell the story of the Welsh on the Great Plains and elsewhere throughout North America more effectively.
To make this happen, we need your help to raise $175,000. Any contribution, large or small, is appreciated, and all donor names will be displayed in a place of honor in the finished addition. We also will be writing grants to support this major project. To donate, please mail a check to: Great Plains Welsh Heritage Project, PO Box 253, Wymore, NE 68466. Indicate on your donation: Great Plains Welsh Heritage Project EXPANSION.
We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for our members and donors. If you have suggestions, please feel free to send them with your donation. It is a great honor to serve as President of the Great Plains Welsh Heritage Project. Thank you for your continued support, or, as we say in Welsh, diolch o’r galon (heartfelt thanks).
A Christmas WhatsApp story
WhatsApp groups are like a box of chocolates: you never know what ya gonna get. Sometimes angry ranting, sometimes politics. Rarely are they uplifting. But let me tell you about a WhatsApp group I recently found myself in. A group of people who collectively restored my hope for humanity.
The group is currently organising a shoe box appeal and discussing how to raise money for good causes. A few days ago there was an invite for those finding themselves alone to come to Christmas lunch. One lass was upset because she can’t pay a bill, another lass offered to drive over and lend her 50 quid. No one in this group is rich. What they have is shared.
It’s not a religious group or one set up for philanthropists. It was created by parent victims of UK social services. There appears to be a large Welsh contingent. Many have had children forcibly adopted, some are about to face that. Others are hanging onto contact with their children by a thread. This group is where hope and faith in the UK justice system comes to die.
I didn’t write about it to depress you. I wanted to tell you about love and courage. Sometimes the group has me smiling. At other times I weep and avoid the group because the pain and injustice is too raw. Out of the pain, something rare and beautiful has been born. It is a community that the upper echelons of society secretly binned. Read the government blurbs about adoption and fostering and you will quickly discover that resources and support are being given almost exclusively to foster parents and would-be adopters. I could explain this, but that’s not what I wanted to write about today.
Being part of this group made me question my understanding of children’s services. In a former life I was professionally involved in the Welsh child protection system. I was a doctor. I would have been, and still am, the first person to say that if a child is at risk, the system should step in. But this group makes me wonder whether something is amiss in the Welsh care system.
What if vulnerable families were given equal support to that for foster carers and adopters? If forced adoption courts were open and transparent, allowing external, truly independent appeals? What if parents were viewed as having human rights that also need protecting? Has the aggressive Welsh care system been proven to improve lives in situations where families are simply vulnerable, rather than abusive? If a WhatsApp group can be so organised in caring for each other and the vulnerable in society … what could they do if given half a chance and some real support in looking after their own children?
Anyone wanting to donate shoe boxes or money, please bring them to the Christmas Support Meeting meeting, 13 December, 12.30-3pm, at St John the Baptist Church, Cardiff CF10. All donations will be given to Morgan’s shoe box campaign. Morgan’s Army is a charitable foundation, pledging to support families of children diagnosed with cancer in South Wales through helpful initiatives and supporting major projects of children’s cancer charities in South Wales.
Cymru and the bloody papers that bound it to Westminster
An international conference held to forge stronger ties beween fellow European independence-seeking nations met in Brussels on 16 November. It was held at the European Parliament with the provocative title, ‘Peaceful agreements or bloody papers?’ Debate centred on the premise that nations such as Cymru have been bound into unions though some, at best, dubious legal proclamations.
Typically, such changes to the laws and political structures of the conquered nations have only ever been reviewed and amended by the imperialist power that wrote them. Rarely, if ever, have these laws been scrutinised and commented on by a democratic body consisting of elected members from the subjugated nation.
With the purpose of sharing an understanding of each other’s histories and to learn from each other’s recent steps towards independence, Cymru was joined by delegates from Catalonia, Euskal Herria (Basque), Scotland, Süd Tirol (South Tirol), Veneto (Venice), and Vlaanderen (Flanders). The debate was organised by the International Commission of European Citizens (ICEC) and hosted by the Flanders contingent.
As one of imperial Britain’s oldest colonial conquests, Cymru was received with attention and interest from the other member countries. Jill Evans, a member of the European Parliament until the sad events of Brexit, spoke of Cymru’s desire to represent its own interests on a world stage. Iestyn ap Rhobert and I, respectively a co-founder and a director of YesCymru – the cross-party movement working to regain Cymru’s sovereignty – discussed with delegates from other bonded nations the political and economic success that could come to Cymru after independence.
A particularly eloquent speech was made by the president-minister of Flanders, Jan Jambon. He said it is increasingly clear that smaller nations, such as Estonia and Slovenia, are seeing success in the world due to their nimbleness. It allows them to adopt new ways of thinking, reinvent traditional political systems, adapt to technological opportunities, and mould their economies to the realities of the ever-increasing speed of global commerce. Cymru is primed to be just such a nation.