What do you do when something so terrible is happening around you and you don’t know how to stop it? I’ve decided to stand on a corner and hold a sign. Our country has anywhere between 20,000 and 60,000 migrant children that have been taken from their families and put into detention camps. The largest one is on the edge of a hot swamp in Homestead, Florida. It is run for profit and many people make a lot of money off of warehousing these kids. it is not licensed to follow child protection laws. What stands out to me with those numbers is the vast difference. Basically, our country doesn’t know. It doesn’t know how many children were taken from their families, it doesn’t know where many of them are, it doesn’t know how to reunite them all. It doesn’t know and it really doesn’t care. That’s why Liz and I stand on a corner. Because it’s wrong, so darn wrong.
A little over a year ago our country began taking children away from their families and putting them into detention centers. This is how our country welcomed their families, fleeing violence and poverty induced by climate change in their Central American countries. A year later and we are still separating children from their families and putting them into detention centers. Some even call them concentration camps. Whatever we decide to call these places we know they are horrific. Inspectors have gone in and proved this to be true. And now our country is opening several more. At least one in Texas and one in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, the place of the Japanese internment of the 1940’s and where Geronimo was imprisoned.
I can go on and on about this topic and the inhumanity of it all. But you can find this out by doing a simple search on the internet. Do it. Google “child detention camps”. Learn what we are doing and then don’t look away. Follow that action with your next. Make a sign, find a corner near you, and stand on it. It’s not glamorous standing with a sign. Some days it’s hot, sometimes it rains a lot, and sometimes it’s cold. But there is a power and a rightness upon each and every standing time. Most people ignore you, pretend you aren’t there. They don’t want their day disrupted with such uncomfortable thoughts. Some people even say some pretty mean things. And many don’t know what you are doing there or what your sign means and you have to explain it. Often they look at you with unknowing eyes. But there is always at least one who finds your eyes and thanks you with such deep meaning that it makes it worth while.
Don’t let our country do this without knowing that many of us are watching, witnessing, and we find it reprehensible. Make them uncomfortable. Then call each and every representative you have and demand their action to stop this. Remind them that this horror is on their watch. Ask them if this is how they want to go down in history, for separating kids and putting them in dangerous tents, because that will be their legacy if they continue to do nothing about it. Then prepare for the following week and do it all over again.
If you are in central Maine, please join us. Every Friday rain or shine, on the corner of Main and Temple, in front of Key Bank. Waterville, Maine. 4:00 – 5:00.
Please, join us and many others around the country by standing on a corner near you,
PS – It’s the end of July and it’s been 5 months now of standing on our corner every Friday. We have grown from 1 to 2 and now to over 30. This is important. I hope you too find a corner and stand there with a sign. More will join you. I promise.