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This is not political. And please don’t come here playing “devil’s advocate” or whatever. He’s the fucking devil. He doesn’t need an advocate. I’ve heard your arguments, and they are null and void. Don’t @ me.
If this your first time here, welcome! I’m Joelle. I’m an activist. And I’m mad as hell.
I’m also a mother of two young children, and as I nursed my infant these past few days, I can’t help but weep. Because we are together, he will never be torn away from my breast, all because of the color of our skin.
My family was privileged enough to be born on this side of an imaginary line that our ancestors created as they slaughtered and enslaved millions of people. I call bullshit.
I will not stand by, claiming that I can do nothing. Because my words, my actions, my skin color matters. My wallet matters. My Western European last name matters. I experience white, American privilege. And if you do too, then listen up.
What can you do?
- Stop Separation is an organization that works in Tornillo, Texas, the location of President Donald Trump’s first tent city constructed to house immigrant children separated from their parents.
- Buen Vecino pursues its mission to educate by providing resources to immigrant communities. This one is actually super important to me because I know one of the founders. They are currently accepting donations to help him (an attorney) go to Texas to provide aid to those detained.
- KIND, Kids in Need of Defense, ensures that no child appears in immigration court without sufficient representation.
- The Texas Civil Rights Project works to protect and advance civil rights in Texas. Since most of the children detained are in Texas, they are working at maximum capacity at the moment.
- The Youth Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights is a champion for the rights and best interests of unaccompanied immigrant children, making sure that wherever they land, whether here in the U.S. or in their home country, they are safe.
- Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center is stationed in El Paso, Texas, where a large portion of migrants and asylum seekers go through the border. The help low-income immigrants with legal representation.
*After doing some research, these are some of the organizations that haven’t gotten as many donations as others. Many websites have reached their bandwidth limit, and cannot accept donations or visitors right now. I figured, these are the ones that need our help the most at this very moment.
Contact Your Representatives
This one is pretty obvious, but it bears repeating. CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTATIVES. Call them, write them, email them, call them out on social media. Need a script? Here you go:
My name is Joelle Duff and I am a constituent of yours. I am contacting you today to express my outrage over this administration’s horrific decision to separate parents and children as they seek asylum in the United States. What is *your representative’s name* doing about this situation RIGHT NOW?
Here is an overview of the bill being introduced by Democrats in the Senate.
Think of Your Network, Profession, and Talents
Okay, so what I’ve suggested so far are things on a broad scale; anyone can do them. What I want you to do now, however, is think outside the box.
Think about your job. What is it that you do? What about your talents and hobbies? Do you have a large following on social media? What about your network? Whether it’s a mom’s tribe or local professional organization, how far is your reach?
Your difference may not be obvious at first, but here are some suggestions:
- If you are a blogger, WRITE. Write how angry you are. What your readers can do. You can reach more people than you realize by being your authentic self.
- Do you run fundraisers for the PTA? Contact the restaurants that you usually work with and ask if you can host a fundraiser for one of the above organizations. You can also host a fundraiser if you sell a product or service.
- Do you speak Spanish or another native language from Central America? Are you in the legal profession? The Texas Civil Rights Project needs volunteers.
Regardless of what your network or talents are, everyone can SPEAK THE FUCK UP. Don’t let it slide, people. Thanksgiving wasn’t the time to confront your problematic dad? Now, for sure, is. Get yourself educated and then be LOUD. One voice may not make a difference, but collectively we can show the world that this administration does not speak for this country.
Attend a Protest or March
There are a ton being planned around the country, which you can find here.
A very important note about protesting: We are dealing with a really sensitive, important issue. Things can get messy. Obviously, we want everything to be peaceful, but that may not always be the case. If a protest gets violent, understand why. Martin Luther King Jr. said the following about protesting:
Yet the average white person also has a responsibility. He has to resist the impulse to seize upon the rioter as the exclusive villain. He has to rise up with indignation against his own municipal, state and national governments to demand that the necessary reforms be instituted which alone will protect him. If he reserves his resentment only for the Negro, he will be the victim by allowing those who have the greatest culpability to evade responsibility. Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention. There is no other answer. Constructive social change will bring certain tranquillity; evasions will merely encourage turmoil. Negroes hold only one key to the double lock of peaceful change. The other is in the hands of the white community.
This point is so, vitally important, especially if you do not identify with the community that is being targeted. You cannot understand, at a visceral level, what said community is going through. Your perception of the situation is fundamentally different than someone who has family detained at the border. If your “support” is dependent on the cooperation of a group of individuals, then you are aren’t a supporter. You are a hindrance and need to get out of the way.
Join a Local Community Group
I’m adding this one because local community organizations and Facebook groups are great. Options include Indivisible and Showing Up for Racial Justice, as well as a ton of Facebook groups that can keep you updated about how you can help in your community directly.
It’s Not Just About the Kids
I’m about to throw down some hard truths right now.
You can see the images and hear the audio of the children crying for their parents and be heartbroken. This is no joke. It’s horrifying and needs to end. Yesterday.
That being said, we all need to take a hard look at what our “rock bottom” is, personally. If it took you this long to realize that this administration is doing something wrong? Accept it and move on. Because the reality is, children have always been torn away from their parents in the name of AMERICA. The idea that families were separated during slavery or WWII in internment camps is abstract. But it happens all the time, as undocumented immigrants are deported without their children. President Obama was considered the “deporter in chief” – just think about that! One of the most progressive presidents in history has also deported more people than any other president.
This will likely be its own post, but it’s time for all of us to do some soul-searching. What are your values, and how can you live them out in a way that is authentic and actually makes a difference?
Need Some More Information?
Here you go:
- Here is a ridiculously comprehensive overview of what is going on at the US/Mexico border.
- Snopes debunked the claim that Dems started this policy in 1997. You don’t believe Snopes? There is no hope for you.
- I was going to try to link to something on Fox News to convince some of you out there, but then I saw this and nope.
What I’m Doing
I’ve already donated money to causes, and I’ve already called my representatives. I want to do more, and I want you to challenge me to do more. For every share this image gets on social media, I will donate $1 to ASAP, Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project.
Here is the square image that you can share across all platforms:
About this organization:
Since its founding, the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP) has fought the failings of our immigration system through rapid response legal assistance and an online community center that helps thousands of asylum-seeking mothers access legal information and build community power by sharing their experiences with other mothers across the nation. Through this online forum, we have helped women locate family members in ICE custody, access legal resources, and secure their family members’ release from detention.
We have also prepared a new resource for advocates representing families at the border—“Vindicating the Rights of Asylum Seekers at the Border and Beyond: A Guide to Representing Asylum Seekers in Expedited Removal and Reinstatement of Removal Proceedings”—after assisting hundreds of asylum seeking women and children in detention. This guide is currently being used by volunteers around the country to prevent the deportation of asylum seekers affected by family separation who have recently arrived in the United States.
And in federal court, we have been fighting family separation by suing CBP and ICE on behalf of a client and her seven-year-old son who were separated from their husband and father for more than five months. We will continue working with our client to demand justice for her family and set a precedent for thousands of other families who have faced similar harm by the system.
Like I said, I’ve donated and I’ve called. My network is my strength, and I want to use it to its fullest potential. Even if you aren’t one to talk “politics” publicly, I want to challenge you. I want you to see this issue not as partisan, but as personal. And through that, you will challenge me to see what I can do financially.
If you do share this image on social media, be sure to tag me (@joellecharming on all channels) and use the hashtag #JCfamiliestogether – that way, I can keep track of what I owe to ASAP. I will be documenting it all, so if you are worried about me keeping my word, you can follow me on Instagram and view my stories to keep up.
Even if you aren’t an activist – which, if you’re interested, you can find out more about how to start your activist journey here – you CAN make a difference.