It’s about kids. Just writing that tiny sentence brings me to tears. It’s about kids who were taken from their families. Kids who fled violence and/or poverty. Kids who find themselves in a foreign land far far away from their home. Kids who can’t speak the language of the land they now find themselves in. Kids who are deeply afraid. Afraid they will never see their families again. It’s about kids.
The news the past few days has been all over this issue. But yet as I stood on a street corner in a small town in Maine with a sign that says, “Keep Families Together” someone drove by and yelled, “Illegals”. While most of the interactions were positive, “God bless you.” “Thank you for caring.” Cars honking with drivers giving us a thumbs up. I found myself thinking about that comment. That notion of “illegal”. What is illegal anyway? Can people be illegal? Can children escaping unimaginable violence be illegal? Of course we know the answer is no, of course not. This notion that people can be illegal is propaganda rhetoric used to divide us. Used to cause fear. Used to create a division between the people of our country. Because we know that a divided people are so much easier to dominate and nothing is as successful as fear for causing division.
When I think of the children I selfishly think of my children and I weep again. I weep at the thought that someone would be evil enough to use them as political pawns. That someone would use them as a means to make millions of dollars everyday. That someone would take them away from me and bus them to a tent camp on the edge of a hot humid swamp many miles away. I weep at that thought because it petrifies me and truly hurts my heart. I feel it in my gut. So strong and so horrible. And I know I am not the only one.
So what is a person who feels so powerless and such sadness for these kids to do? I’m not sure I have the answer but for me I feel the need to raise my voice and encourage others to do so as well. To me, that’s what we do. One beautiful way to do this is to light candles. Candles shine such a gentle light and god knows we need some light these days. Candles are soothing and we need some soothing as well. We will light candles so we can feel that we are somehow in solidarity with those children who are spending so many of their youthful days in that concentration camp. Yes, that’s what I’m calling it. Others are too. As details about the conditions slowly leak out via human rights groups and whistle blowers we see it is not an exaggerated label.
Candles. Lighting candles at dusk and praying, sharing, and singing is what many of our souls need. So we will come together to light candles at the same time folks in Homestead will be protesting what is happening behind the green fencing used to house children who desperately do not want to be there. We will light candles hoping our light and love will reach them.
In the early hours of today I decided to set up a fundraiser to get candles and a sound system because we’ll need them. Within 12 hours we surpassed our fundraising goal. I was beyond surprised. And then I realized I shouldn’t have been surprised because there are beautiful, caring, compassionate people in our world. I know that. And today I was reminded of that. My tears were for joy. What a lovely change.
Thank you to those from near and far who were able to, and generous and caring enough to donate what they could so folks in Central Maine can stand under trees on a summer evening and light candles for kids. Love and light will win because so many of us care.
In peace and love and light; thank you.