It is a renewed era for violence and white supremacy in America. The humanitarian crisis at my country’s southern border is an atrocity that is fully avoidable. As I’ve said before, we have an openly white supremacist president and he is steamrolling equity and justice everywhere he can.
In just a minute, I’m going to give you some direction on how to take action regarding the separation of families and the violence perpetrated by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement on a daily basis. For now, I want to make a couple of points clear.
America Has ALWAYS Been Racist
Listen, I know it feels good to declare ourselves the land of equality. We want to see ourselves as the “shining city on the hill.” In many ways, we are those things. However, “equality” has been hard won for most people in this country…and it isn’t really even equal today.
The “shining city on the hill” was built by slaves on land stolen from native peoples.
There has never been a time in America when white supremacy wasn’t the dominate force in our culture. When people say “this isn’t America” they reveal a certain disconnection from reality. This may not be the America we want, but it is the America we have.
We have to acknowledge this reality before we can truly begin to repair what has been broken for hundreds of years. The current situation at the US-Mexico border is uniquely horrible and it is part of a pattern established in the late 1400’s.
Let us take ownership of our history and examine the ways in which our colonialist roots are woven throughout the structures of our government, health care, housing, judicial, and education systems. Only then can we move forward.
You Are Obligated to Act
If you are reading this it is likely that you work in education or the nonprofit sector. You work in public service and your humanity obligates you to take action to end family separation. Hear me when I say this:
Education is Political
Educators who hide in their classrooms and offices, focused solely on curriculum and planning, do a great disservice to the communities they serve. Policy decisions directly impact our students. More importantly, they directly impact children. Educators must advocate for children.
Are you a citizen or resident of a country other than the United States? You can take action too! Call or write to your government representatives. Tell them you are horrified by what is happening in America. Ask them to use diplomacy to hold our racist government to account.
How to Take Action to End Family Separation
I’ve spent the past few days researching options for how we can take action on the immediate crisis on the US southern border. Here are four ways to take action to end family separation:
- Call Your Republican Senator: All Democratic US Senators have signed onto S.3036, the “Keep Families Together Act” introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein. Now we need Republican leadership to sign on and take action to end this nonsense once and for all. Visit votesmart.org to find your Senator.
- Call Your Governor: Ask them to pass an executive order declaring that no state tax dollars be used to support the separation of immigrants and their families and to pull all of your state’s National Guard troops from southern border states. Visit votesmart.org to find your governor.
- March on June 30th: We are rallying together across the world to tell the US President, and the Republicans who support him and work for him, that their racist policies have gone too far. If you are white and/or not from an immigrant family, please remember that your role is to listen, learn, and support. Don’t center yourself at this rally, it is not the time. Visit MoveOn.org for details on where to march.
- Donate to Organizations Doing the Work: There are a TON of good people out there working to support immigrants and their families every day, even when we don’t have a full blown humanitarian crisis. You can find a comprehensive list of options for donating at Slate.com. Put your money where your mouth is and support the experts doing the work.
While I don’t know exactly how this current crisis will end, I have hope that we can get these families united and find a way to make space for people seeking shelter within our borders. I don’t think it will happen until Americans wise up and start paying attention to politics and policy at local, state, and national levels. But I think the current administration might be violent and destructive enough to push the voters to the polls.
What I do know is that there are a lot of good people in the world who really care. We know there are problems in our world and we want to work to make this a place where all humans thrive in harmony with the planet.
Doing the work is the surest sign that we haven’t yet given up hope.
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