"Beautiful dreamer, awake unto me..." Stephan C. Foster (1864)
We got word that there was a rally, to protest our U.S. government forcibly separating children from families that illegally cross our Mexican border, and those legally seeking asylum. Of course Mr. G and I went to protest this atrocity, happening in our country. An immoral policy enacted in our name. While the largest rally took place in Chicago, we purposefully attended a rally closest to our little piece of the world. We went to add our voice to a simple but passionate national chorus: "This is evil. Not in our name. Where are the children?" As per usual, I had my camera(s) with me. And while my focus and intent were on participating in the rally, and listening to the poignant featured speakers, the moment and movement were so powerful...
"Sounds of the rude world. Heard in the day..." - Beautiful Dreamer
The rally fittingly took place in the Veteran's Memorial Pavilion, Fishel Park (in the heart of Downers Grove, IL); adjacent to a large play ground. The playground was filled with playing, laughing children - even more fitting for this day. By my rough estimate, 1,000 people were in attendance. To be sure a small number, amidst the hundreds of thousands who rallied across the United States. But, to my mind, that made the featured speakers' testimonies all the more personal and salient.
Grace Arimura (right) testified about her experiences of being imprisoned, along with 10 members
of her Japanese American family in an American Detention Center during World War II. She was 16 years old.
Prevail Bonga (left) read aloud a few of the stories of the 3,000+ forcibly separated immigrant children detainees
before sharing her Congolese family's challenging journey to American citizenship.
"Whoa, ah, mercy mercy me...Where did all the blue skies go?" - Marvin Gaye (1971)
By now you know, the entire world knows, what's going on...
My United States of America government has forcibly separated immigrant children from their parents (families that illegally crossed our border and families who have come seeking asylum), split siblings apart, put them in detention center cages - before shipping them away from their parents, to points all over America (in the dead of night, in secrecy). Furthermore, my U.S. government has put babies and toddlers in 'Tender Age Detention Centers (detention facilities for children 5 years old and under). National outrage forced the administration to seemingly suspend this despicable policy. Now the this administration is trying to enact policy that allows them to detain children and babies with their families indefinitely (in military based detention tent camps).
"Poison is the wind that blows from the north and south and east."
But this American horror story doesn't end there. The nearly 3 thousand forcibly separated and detained children, toddlers, and babies have not been reunited with each other, or their parents, and it's become painfully clear that: not only does this administration not have a plan to reunite the families we forcibly separated; they never intended to. They don't know where these children are or even who they are - resorting to DNA testing to try to match children with parents. But we know very little else because this administration is denying entry to these detention centers, refuse to answer even the simplest of questions. And their story changes, sometimes by the hour.
For nearly two years, our American president has been railing against, scapegoating, demonizing, otherizing, people of color (in voice, action, and policy). That the 35% of Americans, who support trump; love and feed off his racist rhetoric, is no surprise. Nor is it surprising that the Republican party protects and enables his venality in the name of political power. But I really, truly thought that forcibly separating children, toddlers and babies from their parents would be a bridge too far, even for trump's most ardent supporters. Sadly, judging by the vocal and ardent political, pundit and social media commentary in support of this heinous policy, this segment of the American populace is perfectly fine with abusing children in the name of 'strong, defended borders.' This president's appeal to the darkest, ugliest nature of humanity has successfully and deeply taken root. But, last Saturday, a group of women in Downers Grove,IL, along with millions of other Americans, organized and came together, in every state in our nation to say: "This immoral, evil act is Not America(n). We will not tolerate this inhumane inhumanity, not in our name..." As this atrocity unfolded and continues I've doggedly held onto my belief that we are better than this. On this day we, the people, confirmed it.
"You may say I'm a dreamer. But I'm not the only one." - John Lennon
But this battle, that has been forced upon every decent American, has only just begun. Where are the children? We took them, we're responsible for them. Thus we must not, we cannot, stop protesting, contacting our representatives, voting our values, until each and every child is reunited with their families. We will win the day. The alternative is too horrific and unacceptable. So we fight on. Dreamers are we all...
Vivre! Rire! Aimer!