This week my social media has been blowing up with articles and memes posted by concerned friends and family with regard to children being separated from their families at the border.
With each post, each new piece of knowledge, my heart broke a little bit more. Until tonight, when a woman was asking for suggestions and contacts for helping the children on a fundraising page turned ugly. Really ugly. My heart broke by the nasty things that were being said about children and their families and I broke down. I was honestly and truly shaking. My insides were vibrating. I felt an anger and rage that I've never felt before.
What is happening is scary and horrific. The fact that people support and attempt to justify it, is even worse.
So, I realized that the only way I could really calm my rage was to do something. So I sat down, did some research and came up with 6 ways that everyday people can help - even us Canadians.
Children are being separated from their families at the US border and housed in deplorable conditions. (If you haven’t been following along, here’s a brief breakdown of what’s going on)
We know this. It is not fake news. It is happening and it is real.
I can go through a big preamble about why this is a problem, how it is wrong and all the ills that go along with it. But frankly, I don’t think that’s necessary. There is no argument that can justify this. There is no good reason for this to be happening. This is evil, plain and simple.
We know this is wrong.
People are sharing stories and memes on social media. This is a great first step. Awareness is key. But after we raise awareness, what can we do?
1. Sign this Petition through change.org calling for an end of tearing children away from their families.
2. Raise awareness. Share the posts you’re seeing on social media. Share news articles. Use the following hashtags:
3. Contact Political Leaders. Justin Trudeau is not offering an opinion on this horrific policy and instead insists that he will not “play politics” over immigration. Write him and tell him that this is unacceptable, that human rights are a Canadian issue and that he must take a stand to condemn this treatment of children and their families. He can be reached at:
House of Commons
(No postage required!)
Phone: 1 613 992-4211
Likewise, contact your local MPP and premier demanding that they use their voices to help but an end to the separation of children from their families.
4. Donate. There are people on the front lines right now, and advocacy groups that need money to help cover migrant families’ legal fees and post bail to reunite them with their children faster.
RAICES ( Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services) is a Texas-based nonprofit organization dedicated to providing immigrant families and refugees with affordable legal assistance. Right now, they have a direct fund set up for family re-unification through posting bonds. By donating to help cover parents’ bonds, they can be reunited with their children sooner. Donate to the bond fund here.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is a nonprofit that advocates for civil rights and individual liberties. The organization is addressing ICE and border patrol abuse, immigration policies, and more, along with educating the nation on how to uphold the Constitution. You can donate to help the ACLU's efforts here.
Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center provides legal assistance to low-income immigrants and advocates human rights for all. They are based out of El Paso, Texas. You can donate by buying items from their wishlist or through a monetary donation
Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) – “KIND partners with major law firms, corporations, law schools, and bar associations to create a nationwide pro bono network to represent unaccompanied children through their immigration proceedings.” You can donate here
5. Fundraise. Host a paint night or wine tasting or just a house party and charge admission! There’s so many ways to raise money for a cause you care about (in fact, here’s a list of 131 ways). Personally, I am fundraising through my direct sales company. If you love Thirty-One Gifts, please consider ordering through my fundraiser where 100% of my commission will be going to the RAICES bond fund.
6. Volunteer. I know most in my circles and who follow my blogs and social media are in Canada, so it is a bit harder for us to be on the front line. That’s fine. I’m adding this just in case any Americans stumble upon it and are able to help.
The Texas Civil Rights Project, is seeking “volunteers who speak Spanish, Mam, Q’eqchi’ or K’iche’ and have paralegal or legal assistant experience.”
Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center is seeking a number of volunteers to help in a variety of capacities. You can see the full list here. They also accept students for placements.
So, if you are feeling disgusted and hopeless about this situation, remember there are things you can do! Please feel free to share any other ideas and resources to help the kids and their families in the comments!