Background: Last week I partnered with Dr. Ned Holstein and Fathers & Families in a campaign to protest Florida Department of Children & Families’ actions in the “Elian Gonzalez II” case in Miami. In that case, Rafael Izquierdo, a fit, loving father, has faced numerous obstacles to reunite with his 5-year-old daughter.
Thousands of you have answered our call to action, and the campaign has been covered or cited in hundreds of newspapers, including by the Associated Press, syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker of the Washington Post Writers Group, Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service, and over a dozen Florida newspapers. Florida DCF, to its credit, has agreed to meet with us. To learn more or to join our campaign, click here.
In our letters and faxes to Florida DCF we asked that they contact Dr. Holstein and meet with him to discuss the issues put forward in our protest. As the Miami Herald reports below, today that meeting occurred. In addition, Dr. Holstein met with embattled father Rafael Izquierdo. The article is Fathers’ rights group meets with Cuban dad (Miami Herald, 10/24/07).
According to the Herald:
“A national fathers’ rights group has taken on the cause of a Cuban father trying to gain custody of his daughter, an effort that included sit-downs with key players in the case Wednesday.
“Dr. Ned Holstein, president of the Boston-based nonprofit Fathers & Families, flew to Miami to meet with the father of the 5-year-old girl at the center of the dispute, Rafael Izquierdo.
“Holstein was also scheduled to meet with staffers at the Department of Children & Families Wednesday afternoon to ask them to drop their efforts to keep the girl in the United States.
”’We’ve been following this very closely,’ said Holstein, who said members and supporters of his group have sent more than 2,000 e-mails to Gov. Charlie Crist’s office and DCF in recent weeks.
”’I don’t think there’s bad faith here,” Holstein said. ‘But I think we’re involved in a culture in which a father is considered irrelevant’…
“Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Jeri B. Cohen has ruled that Izquierdo is a fit parent. A second phase of the trial — to determine whether the girl will be harmed if removed from the Cubas home — is scheduled to begin Monday. Holstein, a physician who founded the nonprofit advocacy group following his own divorce, said he was impressed with Izquierdo’s ‘dedication to his daughter and determination to do the right thing.'”
Read the full article here.