Border Crisis, Southside Chicago Crisis, Orphan Train Crisis

Border Crisis, Southside Chicago Crisis, Five Points Crisis

By Cleo Lamps

The United States is no stranger to crisis. On our southern Texas border, tens of thousands of children are crossing into this country without documentation in the hopes of being reunited with relatives or to start a new life. These children endured brutal conditions to realize this hope. As of the writing of this blog, the United States’ response to this humanitarian crisis remains to be seen. The exhausted, traumatized under-age illegals languish in warehouse conditions. Escaping poverty and gang violence in their own countries with the promise of better circumstances in the United States has not been realized.

On the Southside of Chicago last weekend, forty-seven persons received hospitalization for gunshot wounds. An eleven year old girl died from a stray bullet speeding into the slumber party she attended. Poverty and gang violence in the neighborhood produce body counts and ambulance calls every weekend. There is no place for the citizens of these areas to go. Their children walk to school under a system of guards known as “Safe Passage”. Like their counterparts crossing the Southern borders, the Chicago children desire a world that is safe, but live in one shrouded in fear and vigilance.

Nearly one hundred fifty years ago, the youth of Five Points, NYC, reached the tipping point. The staggering number of homeless waifs roaming the streets as a result of poverty and violence startled a young Five Points minister into action. Before foster care, before Human Resources, Charles Loring Brace devised the orphan train to give homes to over one hundred fifty thousand orphans. Brace conviced the Midwestern farmers to open their hearts with love and to give these children a second chance at life. Many orphan train riders grew up to fulfill their individual potentials as a result of Brace’s innovative efforts.

Maybe that is what is needed today at the southern border or in the Southside of Chicago. Pastors. Urban missionaries. Christ-followers. People who care about others and employ a creative spirit in finding solutions to difficult problems. As long as poverty and violence dominate the streets, no child is safe in any city, in any country.

To learn about the orphan train, read A Mother’s Song, historical fiction by Cleo Lampos. Available at,, Barnes and Noble


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