Homestead Florida. Remember this name. It is one of many child detention centers for children fleeing Central America. This one happens to be the largest one in our country. You read that right. We have child detention camps in our country. It is also run for profit. Yes, people get money for locking kids up. Caliburn International LLC expects to make up to $200,000,000 a year on this “investment” from lots and lots of our taxpayer money. This is not WWII Japanese Internment Camps or Nazi Concentration Camps. This is 2019 Detention Camps for children in our country. History is repeating itself.
This photo and the story that goes with it grabbed hold of me this morning and wouldn’t let go. The story goes like this: A woman was bearing witness at Homestead. They, the protesters, are allowed to stand across the street from Gate 1, one of many gates of entry. This boy saw them and waved. She waved back. He did a fist bump. She did a fist bump. She did a heart hand. He did a heart hand. He beat his heart. She beat her heart. She told him, “No Estan Solos (You are not alone)”. He replied, “Estoy solo (I am alone)”. One more heart hand and he was gone.
We promised over 60 years ago that we would never allow such atrocities again. Yet here we are. Taking children away from their parents. Putting children in cages and tents in the middle of deserts or in this case on the edge of a mosquito infested swamp. It’s hot. It’s humid. The sun is strong. We don’t give them hats yet the guards all have hats. When asked why, the guard said, “They sweat them up.”
Several congressmen and women as well as media groups have “been allowed” inside. Isn’t that weird, that they need special permission? And it is hard to get that permission to go inside. No cameras or recording devices allowed. They are shown only some areas. No speaking with kids except with a few hand chosen ones. When Senator Merkley was there one of the three boys he was allowed to speak with responded to his inquiry of why they behave so well. “Because they tell us we will never see our families again if we don’t behave.” What the F*&%? Who on Earth says that to a scared child who is alone and in such a place? That is evil speaking and we can never normalize that. We have heard that finger printing or FBI background checks are not part of the hiring process. So we know who is working inside. We know why the kids walk in straight lines and never touch each other and listen so well.
I have taken on the task of helping arrange accommodations for those who travel far distances so once they arrive to bear witness and protest they will have a bed at night. To be honest I’m not quite sure how on Earth I will do this. But there is one thing guiding me, “Estoy solo.” He is not alone and we will show him that he is not alone and that we will close this godforsaken place down and reunite every child with a family member or friend.
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No Estos Solos,