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Not John Waters’ Pink Flamingos but still a powerful statement displayed in Kensington

  • Published in Local

A local Kensington couple uses their collection of plastic lawn flamingos to call attention to social ills, such as this tableau illustrating the Trump administration’s policy of separating immigrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. PHOTO BY PETER ROULEAUA local Kensington couple uses their collection of plastic lawn flamingos to call attention to social ills, like this scene illustrating the Trump administration’s policy of separating immigrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. PHOTO BY PETER ROULEAUKENSINGTON — Pink, plastic lawn flamingos are regarded as a tacky decoration by some, but for one local couple, they have become a medium for public expression.

For several years, Michael Laythan and Mandy Golden have arranged large and small flamingos in their yard in exhibits designed to call public attention to social ills and to protest policies.

“When I first met Mandy in 1990, she was wearing flamingo earrings,” Laythan said. “She gave me one, and I hung it on the mirror in my car, and they’ve been sort of a theme for us ever since. Ten years ago, I was finishing up a year-long treatment for Hepatitis C, and Mandy asked friends of ours to buy a flamingo or two. When I woke up the first morning after the treatment was finally done, the yard was just full of flamingos. Since then, the ‘mingos have come out off and on. We find it’s a good way to make known our opinions about what’s happening in the world.”

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Van Hollen back from trip to U.S. Border detention centers

  • Published in News

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.)  FILE PHOTOSen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.)            FILE PHOTO  Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) spent Father’s Day in Texas, visiting a border patrol processing center and two detention centers, to see firsthand what was happening to families crossing from Mexico into the United States.

He spoke with a woman from Guatemala who did not know where her 12-year-old daughter was and other women whose children had been moved to facilities in New York and Florida.

Not only are children being separated from their parents, but brothers and sisters are also separated from each other, as the detention facilities are not co-ed, he said.

Van Hollen traveled with Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Or.). They were prohibited by Homeland Security from taking photos and talking with anyone besides those who had been approved, he said.

Listening to the mothers’ anguish and seeing children age 10 and older lying down, all covered in the same shiny silver blankets that often are used by marathoners after they finish their race, was “gut-wrenching,” he said.

“This trip confirmed my worst fears about what was happening. It was even worse than I thought.”

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