P.E.A.S Magazine April 2014 Edition

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April 2014

Frustrated Community Continues Searching for Missing 8year old

Relisha Rudd MISSING/CHILD PERSON ADVOCATES Gaetane Borders President Peas InTheir Pods SMonique Smith Founder KnownAsMonique Foundation



Ma azine

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Peas In Their Pods


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Janice Lowery Chief Executive Officer GaĂŠtane Borders President/Training Specialist Denise Bethune Editor/P.E.A.S. Magazine/ Publicity Manager Paula Whitebear Administrative Assistant

INSIDE EDITION April 2014 Featured Missing Children

Relisha Rudd

Age 8 Missing From Washington, D.C.

S.O.F.I.A Start Out Fresh Intervention Advocates


Yolanda Butler Business Consultant Vickie Britton Researcher for Missing Children Anita Harris Parent Mentor Marcus Dent Guardian Angel Nancy Fairbanks Webmaster

Realizing yoUr Best In Every Situation Their perspective on missing Relisha Rudd

Gaetane Borders President Peas In Their Pods &

SMonique Smith Founder

KnownAsMonique Foundation

Kwame Alexander

poet, children’s book author, playwright, pro ducer, dynamic speaker, performer

Month Tasty Treat Pat Holmes

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Peas In Their Pods is an incorporated not-forprofit organization that provides a specific service to those who have missing loved ones. The organization is self-funded, and is comprised of a team of volunteers who work diligently to assist families during their time of greatest need. We are here to help parents find their missing children. We do not take the place of the Amber Alert System. We simply pick up where they leave off or never engage due to program criteria. Peas In Their Pods Organizational goal takes pride in helping to find missing children of color, fight against child abuse, and provide information to the public.


FOR MORE INFORMATION OR JOIN THE COMMUNITY: ANNUAL HONK FOR ALL MISSING PERSONS For questions/additional information please e-mail: krushangel@gmail.com

In honor of National Missing Children’s Day (May 25) the Guardian Angels – Baltimore Chapter and Peas in Their Pods are hosting a nationwide campaign across the country where participants hold signs and banners of missing persons from that area to raise awareness of the number of people who go missing each year.

Date – Sunday June 1st 2014 (Rain Date June 7th 2014) Time - 11:30 AM TO 1:00 P.M. P.E.A.S Magazine April 2014 Edition 5



abduction is of a child age 17 years or younger

•The parent must have contacted law enforcement to report child missing. •A RILYA Alert may also be issued if the child is classified as a runaway by the police. If the parent has reported missing child and has convincing evidence that child does not have a history of running away, an alert will be initiated within the 1st hour. We recognize that at times, not all information is readily available (ie. license plate numbers, name of abductor, or witness to abduction. In such cases, the available information will be reviewed and verified prior to RILYA Alert. •The law-enforcement agency believes the child is in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death. •All children of color meeting the criteria for the Amber Alert will also receive the RILYA Alert If these criteria are met, alert information is assembled for public distribution. This information may include descriptions and pictures of the missing child, the suspected abductor, and a suspected vehicle along with any other information available and valuable to identifying the child and suspect. *The staff at Peas In Their Pods respectfully requests that once a child is found that any organization posting information remove their pictures from their sites.

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Relisha Rudd: Socio-Economic status should never be the case

Gaetane Borders President Peas InTheir Pods Relisha Rudd’s disappearance has truly struck a chord in

toddler. Yet, she and her

everyone’s heart. Her face has been on posters circulating

brothers were never re-

in social media as well as popular media outlets, and her

moved from the home.

story has been told many times over. News reports have

She missed an endless

described the turbulent life that she has been forced to live,

number of days from

one filled with reports of abuse, neglect, poverty….and

school. Yet, it was not

abduction. I am always outraged when I hear reports of a

until recently that school

child having gone missing. However, this particular case is

staff reported this. She

all the more infuriating.

lived in a shelter where

She had been missing for some time before police knew,

staff failed to see that

as her mother had allowed her to go live with a janitor that

Tatum was showering

worked at the homeless shelter where the family had resid-

the kids that lived there

ed for some time. Her mother described this janitor, Khalil

(including Relisha) with gifts and an inordinate amount of

Tatum, as a family friend, and someone that Relisha loved.

attention…which is classic grooming behavior enacted by

Ultimately, Tatum killed himself and his wife


(alledgedly) and left the nation wondering where Relisha

We should collectively ask ourselves whether there is a

was. Some believe that she might be a victim of the ever

greater issue in this case. That is, whether it’s more than a

booming sex trafficking industry, while police are now re-

few individuals that put Relisha in harm’s way, or rather a

ferring to her search as a “recovery,” which highly suggests

systemic bias that permitted this situation to occur. Per-

that they believe that she, too, may no longer be alive.

haps it was easier for school and agency officials to turn a

So why is this case so upsetting to me? It’s because I

blind eye to what was obvious simply because Relisha is

hold parents to a higher standard than others. Though

poor, Black, and from the inner city. Would such egre-

none of us are perfect, certain actions and behaviors are

gious lack of judgment have occurred if she were from the

nonnegotiable. 1) Parents are not supposed to harm their

“other side of the tracks?” I think not.

children. 2) Parents are supposed to protect their children. (3)Parents put their children’s needs above theirs. According to published reports, none of this happened

I truly hope and pray that Relisha is found by the time you read this article. However, her face will always serve as a reminder that there are hundreds upon thousands of

for Relisha. Moreover, her mother refused to cooperate

other children who share her story. We, as a society, must

with police in the early days of this case which has led

help them, and make it known that no child is disposable

many to ponder if she knows more than she is admitting.

simply because of their socio-economic status. They are all

Aside from her mother’s possible involvement, one

deserving of safety, love, and respect. We miss you Rel-

also is forced to question whether her school or other agen-

isha, and we will never stop fighting for justice for you!

cies did enough to protect Relisha. There is a chronology of CPS involvement dating back to when Relisha was only a P.E.A.S Magazine April 2014 Edition 8

Relisha Rudd

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"With a bolt of lightning on my

kicks . . .The court is SIZZLING. My sweat is DRIZZLING. Stop all that quivering. Cuz tonight I’m delivering," announces dread-locked, 12year old Josh Bell. He and his twin brother Jordan are awesome on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood, he's got mad beats, too, that tell his family's story in verse, in this fast and furious middle grade novel of family and brotherhood from Kwame Alexander (He Said, She Said 2013). Josh and Jordan must come to grips with growing up on and off the court to realize breaking the rules comes at a terrible price, as their story's heartstopping climax proves a game -changer for the entire family.

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Kwame Alexander

Kwame Alexander is a poet, children’s book author,

Publishing, Alexander is a pivotal

playwright, producer, dynamic speaker, performer, and the

figure in contemporary American lit-

author of fourteen books including And Then you Know:

erature and publishing. As a literary

New and Selected Poems, Crush: Love Poems for Teenag-

expert and commentator, he has ap-

ers, and Family Pictures: Poems and Photographs Celebrat-

peared on a variety of television and

ing Our Loved Ones. He has delivered awe-inspiring key-

radio programs including NPR's Tell

note speeches, and performed his cutting-edge brand of po-

Me More, Tavis Smiley, BET's Teen

etry to audiences at numerous conferences, colleges and

Summit, News Channel 8's Entertain-

venues throughout the world, including: Oberlin College,

ment Forecast, and several NBC and Fox affiliates. He has

UC Berkeley, Stratford-on-Avon, Brixton Town Hall,

also been featured in Publisher’s Weekly, the Washington

Hampton University, Duke University, University of Mary-

Post, Poets and Writers Magazine, Detroit Metro-Times,

land, America's Choice National Conference, National

Washington Times, Sacramento Observer, Baltimore Sun,

Council for Teachers of English Convention, the Gwendolyn

Vibe Magazine, Source Magazine, and The Virginia Pilot-

Brooks Writers Conference, and the New York State Coun-

Ledger Star.

cil for Teachers of English Annual Conference. From 2005-

The Kwame Alexander Papers, a collection of his pro-

2011, Kwame was the founding producer of the Capital

fessional and personal documents, is held at George Wash-

BookFest, an annual touring book festival that reached more

ington University’s Gelman Library. Recently, Kwame

than 10,000 book-lovers in Charleston, SC, Washington,

served on the advisory board for Nikki Giovanni’s The 100

DC, and Richmond, VA.

Best African American Poems (Sourcebooks, 2010). His

Since 2006, Kwame’s Bookinaday (BID) writing &

first children’s book, Acoustic Rooster, will be published in

publishing program has created more than 1000 student au-

Fall 2011 by Sleeping Bear Press; and his first YA novel

thors in more than 30 schools across the country, and in

will be published by Harper Collins in 2013. Kwame is cur-

Canada. In the summer of 2010, Alexander created the Book

rently the poet-laureate of LitWorld, a literacy organization

-in-a-Day International Fellowship, and took eight writer/

dedicated to supporting the development of literacy in the

educators on a creative journey to Tuscany.

world's most vulnerable communities. Contact info:

Kwame regularly conducts creative writing workshops and performances in middle and high schools, reaching more than 500 students monthly. Most recently, he served as Poet-in-Residence at Foxcroft Girls Boarding School in Virginia (January 2011); and Poet-in-Residence for Loudoun County Virginia’s year-long, award-winning, Try Poetry 2010 initiative, where he presented to more than 1000 high school students. According to Publisher's Weekly, Midwest Book Review, and the National Association of Women in P.E.A.S Magazine April 2014 Edition 11


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MISSING: Relisha Rudd

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Who Failed Relisha Rudd? SMonique Smith-Person Author, Founder and Advocate The Known As Monique Foundation The second most popular question since the disappearance

piece of wood and

of Relisha: Who failed Relisha? At the top of the list

all she did was put

….where is she? Relisha’s story to me is as if I’m watch-

her hand over her

ing my life unfold right in front of my eyes. Were there

mouth and shake

news articles about me? Did people gather to search or

her head.

print flyers to pass out in hopes of finding me? Prayers

I have my hand

and candle light visuals? Was I in the care of someone

over my mouth and

who didn’t care at all?

I’m shaking my

Relisha’s story is the life I’m living and fighting to

head, too. Except, I

minimize the abduction, abuse and in many cas-

do this to express

es…..murdered. Here is an excerpt from my book released

my shame towards

in October 2011 entitled. “I Am The Ancestor; Before I

them. Each person

Die I Must Share My Story” …. As you read it I want you

who ever questioned what was going on with me could

to be alarmed and then forever ALERT ~

have done something to help. They all could have con-

Reflecting on my life, I can see how there were family

fronted Tammie, reported my uncles to the police, and

members and friends alike who just stood by and watched

asked me more questions because each of them had an

me suffer at the hands of Tammie and my uncles. I was

idea that something just was not right. They witnessed, at

kicked, slapped, punched, slammed, and pushed, shoved,

the very least, the way Tammie would yell at me, call me

slung, and nearly choked to death in the most obvious of

all kinds of names, and force me to stay in my room, or hit

ways. My innocence was taken at the age of four and my

me for very minor problems. Yes, they could have done

virginity was snatched away from me at the age of thirteen


by a sick minded uncle while others were in the house at

Instead, they chose to sit by and just let it happen.

the time. To make matters worse, his brother thought it

They became participants, willing participants in the abuse

was fine to do the same. They raped me over and over

indirectly yet directly. That was the one time they could

again mentally as

have chosen to not mind their business. Their silence was

well as physically.

not golden. Their silence contributed to my misery and

They stole a piece

pain. Being called a “snitch” or “tattle teller” for that pur-

of my very soul and

pose would have been a great reward. They could have

had no intention on

“dropped dime” at any moment for me. Short of beating

giving it back. Yet,

me themselves, they are just as guilty. Yep, they stood by

my family did noth-

and did nothing.

ing to help me. Even Miss June saw first hand the bruises Tammie put on my body using a 2x4 P.E.A.S Magazine April 2014 Edition 14

Relisha Rudd I want my book to open the spirit of anyone who sees themselves on these pages to take responsibility for the disconnection they have caused. It is also my desire that whomever the person may be that they will at least try to correct what they have done. Whether it’s a military vet who knows he has a child overseas he had never seen, or a social worker who dropped the ball on an adoption case from years ago. Please, stop what you are doing and take steps to correct the mistakes you have made. If there is no way for you to go back and at least try to undo what’s been done, then pay it forward. When I think about the countless news reports of children who are abused by sick-minded adults, I can’t help but wonder how anyone could sit back and not do anything to help. What really causes someone to know a child goes to bed exhausted from a ruthless beating and not call to report the crime to the police or other authorities? ? Why is a child overlooked and allowed to be raped by two different men for nearly 15 years and have her life threatened if she told anyone what she suffered? I pride myself on being a pretty smart woman however this is one thing I just cannot figure out for the life of me!

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Who Failed Relisha Rudd? SMonique Smith-Person Author, Founder and Advocate The Known As Monique Foundation Everyday, there are people like the ones I described

(Baby, I don’t know why she acts the way she does.)

above who knowingly fail to perform their duties. They are

Offers false hope (It’s going to be alright, Honey.)

family members, friends, neighbors, strangers, municipali-

Only disagrees with the severity of the abuse (I just wish

ties, and even people who work for various government agencies who, for sake of not getting involved, look the other way. They ignore the signs, fail to follow proper procedures, and take short cuts just to lighten their load. They allow a child to be enrolled in school without getting

she didn’t hit you so hard.) •

Indirectly blames the child for the abuse they suffer (Baby, next time, don’t do anything that will make her mad.)

Offers rest as a remedy for your pain (Baby, just go lay down for a while. You will feel better later.)

Discourages the child from telling anyone (If you tell some

all of the paperwork because “every child deserves an edu-

body, your mommy will go to jail and you’ll never see her

cation.” They are fearful of challenging what they know to


be wrong all because they don’t want to get cursed out by

Think it’s only abuse if there are signs of “real vio

the client on their caseload. All of them are equally re-

lence” (Well, I never saw her slam the child to the ground

sponsible for every wrongful act that causes damage and

or nothing like that.)

harm to innocent children everywhere. In short, these peo-

sive (Tammie and I have been friends for over 16 years.

ple are what I call Role Players. Role Players are people who:

Don’t think the person they know could possibly be abu She wouldn’t hurt a fly.)

Sympathizes with you by appearing to be in your corner,

Do not report unexplained cuts, marks, and bruises

on your side, “got your back” but they really want get in

Ignore a child who fearfully cries whenever they are near a

your business (That’s a shame that Tammie never told

particular person

you” or “I don’t care what she says: you will always be my

Witness abuse and shares the account with someone se


cretly and asks the confidant not to say anything • •

Knowingly help an abuser by restraining the child during

how (Here, Baby. Put this money in your pocket and treat

the abusive act.

yourself to some ice cream later today.)

Work for government agencies and school systems but do

someone (Your child can start school today, but you’ll

Role Players do what they do because:

need to bring her birth certificate back as soon as possi

ble.) Justifies abuse as “love” (Baby, she didn’t mean to hurt you. She just loves you, that’s all.) •

Comes to the aid of a child after the abuse promising to help the next time (If this ever happens again, tell me and I will deal with it.)

Let you leave the house knowing that you are about to run away from home.

not follow all procedures designed to accurately identify

Decides to just comfort the child the best way they know

Claims not to understand why a person abuses a child

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• • • •

They don’t want to get involved for fear of being called a snitch. They don’t want to break up the family where the abuse is happening. They don’t want to bring public shame on the family where the abuse is happening. They think the problem is too big for them to handle. They are afraid the abuser will target their family and seek retaliation

Relisha Rudd • • • • • • •

• •

They have enough problems of their own and don’t have time to deal with someone else’s problems. They honestly think that they are doing a child a favor. They are in denial. They decide to just wish it all away. They don’t think calling the police will make a difference. They can’t imagine the abused child going into the foster care system. They were probably abused as a child and don’t have the strength to relive the pain and experience through an abused child. The abused child, for the most part, is well fed, dressed nicely, and goes to school everyday. They just don’t make the time to care. Each time you turned away blindly all those years ago, you

beat me just as hard as Tammie. You even raped me along with my uncles. When I told you I was being touched you acted as if you did not hear or understand. Though time has passed and some wounds have healed, the child in me is scarred for life. Some scars are still extremely painful. Just thinking about them takes me to my knees. Years have gone by and everyday you say to yourself, “I could have helped. I should have done something to get that child out of the house.” Now that you see me as an adult, it causes the pain in both of us to resurface once more. No matter how hard you try to focus on the woman I have become, you can’t help but wonder how much smarter, stronger, happier I would be had you intervened. Immediately, you are held responsible for the decision you made to not help, to not get involved. The memories of that lifetime that you kept in the past smacks you right in the face. And when you finally get a chance to greet me up close, it’s not wrapped in kindness or excitement

knowing what to say at all. It’s way too late for apologies because those words have already caused me to flash back to the time of my abuse. As I look straight into your eyes, right now, today, this very moment, sadness and shame fills my heart. In my mind, there are thoughts of you doing nothing to help me. But now, I realize that you were the one who needed the help. I realize that you were just as scared as I was. Some would say that I am giving you a pass by saying that and you don’t have the right to have an excuse. Well, I guess that’s just the humane and understanding side of me. Everyone deserves a chance. Either way, it’s time for you take ownership and make an amends for what you have done. I am the book that I read about a little girl being abused, neglected, and stripped of her innocence. I am the song that I sing about a child crying themself to sleep at night. I am the movie that I go and see about a child walking out of the house that holds nothing but horrible memories and never returning. I am Symbolie Monique Smith. I am the ancestor. Celie don’t have nothing on me. Shucks, I would have taken a “Mista” any day. It’s no secret that I have overcome great odds. Easily, I could be dead and gone, strung out on drugs, prostituting for a living, or sleeping on the streets of Baltimore. However, my Creator has helped me to take one day at a time and stay close to him. My healing process began long ago when I learned to forgive you; your healing process will now begin. Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done to avoid what’s to come. Just as I, you too will have to live with the roller coaster of emotions you’ll walk away with once we tell each other “Goodbye”, Role Player. Prayers wherever you are Relisha and know that I am with you.

or fond memories. It’s awkward and even a bit uncomfortable. Your hug is soft and a bit cold and your kiss is not a kiss at all. You start with the pity in your eyes and then in your voice. It’s just like the voice that was there all those years ago. In your ignorance, you let “I had nothing to do with it, you know that right?” slip out of your mouth and then quickly apologize for not

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SMonique Smith-Person, Best Selling Author of "I Am The Ancestor, Before I Die I Must Share My Story" and Founder of The Known As Monique Foundation. The Foundation's goal is to help reduce the number of missing children and adults, raises awareness on Human Trafficking, Advocate, and provide education and support to children and adults everywhere. Get Involved at http:// knownasmonique.org/ — with Known As Monique

women and children of Domestic Violence. S.O.F.I.A. is focused on helping those who have experienced Domestic Violence become selfsufficient, positive and successful. We offer a variety of workshops that encourages advocacy and outreach, a Support Group for those who have experienced Domestic Violence, presentations on Bullying, Self Defense Conflict Avoidance for children and Selfesteem sessions for women and children. We are currently seeking new members for our newly created Men Against Domestic Violence (M.A.D.V.) in which strategies and solutions are disCynthia Walker has been a devoted community vol-

cussed to "Break the Vicious Cycle of Domestic Vio-

unteer since she was a teenager. She was always

lence". We will be facilitating workshops and men-

available to lend a helping hand in various communi-

torship to our youth. Meetings are held on the 2nd

ty and national organizations, teenage support groups

Wednesday every other month. As community serv-

and school functions. Cynthia just simply “enjoys

ants, our focus will be to reach out to males of ALL

helping people” and is very passionate and commit-

ages to practice the "Well Meaning Male” model.

ted when becoming involved in her projects. Cynthia found her new baby, S.O.F.I.A. a non-

In 2010 S.O.F.I.A. launched the PSP Program (Protect, Shield & Prosper) a series of Dating and

profit 501©3 organization based in Montclair New

Domestic Violence workshops to bring awareness,

Jersey, after she met Joanne Paul at a township meet-

prevention and education to teens in our community.

ing. Joanne Paul's daughter, Monica was gunned

These workshops were presented throughout New

down at the YMCA in Montclair by her abusive and

Jersey to over 2100 participants and we look forward

violent boyfriend in front of their children and other

to presenting them throughout the country.

families while they were taking part in swimming

Cynthia is the Founder, Visionary & Executive

lessons. In 2009, S.O.F.I.A. or Start Out Fresh Inter-

Director of S.O.F.I.A., a Certified Domestic

vention Advocates was created to breathe new life for

Violence Advocate currently serving as a volunteer

P.E.A.S Magazine April 2014 Edition 18

on the Clifton/Little Falls NJ Police Dept. Domestic Violence Response Team, a mentor with Sister to Sister, a teen mentoring program at Montclair High School, National Domestic Violence Advocate for Black Women Empowered based in Greensboro, North Carolina and wears a host of several hats within the community. S.O.F.I.A. is the proud recipient of North Carolina based Black Women Empowered Community Service Award 2012, Montclair NAACP 97th Annual Thurgood Marshall Freedom Fund “The Julian Bond” Community Service Award 2013, Essex County New Jersey Board of Chosen Freeholders Proclamation Community Service for Domestic Violence 2013 and Giblin Association Community Service Donation for 2013. We are truly dedicated and committed to our work within the community, beyond solely helping domestic violence victims. We are an organization that sincerely cares and is actively involved in changing the current domestic violence statistics. “God gave us two ears and one mouth and that is the exact order that we, as a community, should use them”. “Train yourself to be a good listener.” It could save a life.


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CARROT AND ZUCCHINI BARS 1 ½ cups flour 1 teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon ground ginger ¼ teaspoon baking soda 2 eggs, lightly beaten 1 ½ cups carrots (3 medium) 1 cup shredded zucchini (1 medium) ¾ cup pack brown sugar ½ cup raisins ½ cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans) ½ cup vegetable oil ¼ cup honey 1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven 350 In large bowl stir together flour, baking powder, ginger and baking soda. In another large bowl stir together eggs, carrots, zucchini, brown sugar, raisins, nuts, oil, honey, and vanilla. Add carrot mixture to flour mixture; stir just until combined. Spread batter evenly in an ungreased 13x9x2 inch baking pan. Bake about 25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Spread cooled bars with frosting, cut into bars. Cream cheese Frosting In medium bowl beat one 8 ounce package softened cream cheese and ¼ cup of soft butter. Beat in 1 -1 ½ cups powdered sugar. Stir in 1 teaspoon of lemon flavoring and ½ teaspoon vanilla. P.E.A.S Magazine April 2014 Edition 21

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To educate, equip and empower underserved girls with the knowledge and skills to succeed in college, career and community. Chantell M. Garrett

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Search continues for missing 8 year old Relisha Rudd from Washington, D.C.

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Children Learn What They Live If a child lives with criticism, He learns to condemn. If a child lives with hostility, He learns to fight. If a child lives with ridicule, He learns to be shy. If a child lives with shame He learns to feel guilty. If a child lives with tolerance, He learns to be patient. If a child lives with praise, He learns to appreciate. If a child lives with encouragement, He learns confidence. If a chile lives with fairness, He learns justice. If a child lives with security, He learns to have faith. If a child lives with approval, He learns to like himself. If a child lives with acceptance and friendship, He learns to find love in the world.

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Peas In Their Pods

children are our first priority www.peasintheirpods.com

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