We are the do-gooders, and the philanthropy facilitators, and there’s never been a more urgent time to do good and facilitate philanthropy (aka “love of humankind”).
The separation of children from their parents is breaking everyone’s hearts – on both sides. This is simply wrong, wrong, wrong. And these children, who have done nothing wrong, will be permanently scarred.
Yesterday’s article from Vu Le of Nonprofit AF, Actions we can take to end the inhumane policy of separating immigrant kids and families, really struck a chord with me. I can’t say it better, so I’m encouraging you to read the article in its entirety. It’s not about politics. It’s about right and wrong. Humanity and cruelty.
Vu suggests concrete actions we can all take, and I’m pasting these below so you can find one or more that resonate with you (I’ve boldfaced the ones that seem the easiest). Please do just ONE thing.
If we all do nothing, nothing will be what we deserve.
Nothing comes from nothing.
Here are the actions:
- Read “How You Can Fight Family Separation at the Border” from Slate. The article provides context on the policy the administration is using to justify the atrocities it’s committing and lists many organizations on the front lines fighting.
- Donate to those organizations listed in the article above.
- Support the Keep Families Together Act. Read this informative article in the NAACP. Then call and email your senators and other elected officials. Clear directions and templates are in the article.
- Save June 30thfor Families Belong Together rallies. People are gathering in DC and all across the US. There have been many rallies this past weekend. We need to increase the number and size of rallies. There should be announcements this week about nationwide mobilizing efforts. Get your friends and families there. As Pramila Jayapal said at the rally in Seattle today: “We have to raise the level of outrage.”
- “Ask your senators and representative to arrive unannounced to local detention centers and demand access to detainees so conditions can be documented.”
- “If you are represented by Republicans, don’t give up on them. Republican representatives are speaking privately about their opposition to these human rights abuses but are not willing to take action publicly. Ask them to speak out and take action. Support them in opposing the president.”
- “Write/call the White House and Jeff Sessions.”
- If you are in Seattle, support Northwest Immigrant Rights Project. “Many of the parents have been moved to Seattle […] Attorneys are working with them right now. We are looking for Spanish- speaking or Cantonese-speaking attorneys with immigration experience, if possible (Not all of the parents are from Central/South America). If you are such an attorney in the Seattle area, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.”
- “Support the people around you who are distressed, despairing, afraid, and/or numb.”
Please, do your job and facilitate love of humankind.
You may not be able to do the job alone, but together we can move mountains.
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
— Martin Niemöller, a Lutheran minister and early Nazi supporter who was later imprisoned for opposing Hitler’s regime.
Thank you for this informative newsletter, sorely need. I will pass it on to some of my friends.
Sharing with family and friends in the US, thank you, Claire.
Thank you, Claire.
Thank you, Claire, for speaking out on this horror.
Claire, thank you for standing up for humanity and all that is good in this country. I’ve been looking for ways to help from my blue state and these actionable steps are just what I needed.
I’ll share this on Twitter.
I’ve received some surprising (to me) backlash from folks who object to me “mixing business and politics.” Here’s what I’m telling them:
I usually steer clear of “politics,” but IMHO, it’s always appropriate to speak up about injustice.
Especially when those being treated unjustly cannot speak up for themselves.
If we don’t do it in the social benefit sector, then… where?
I believe separation of children from their parents is an issue about which both sides have genuine concerns (whoever is president). The children committed no crimes.
As I noted in the article, it’s not about the “p” word, politics. It’s about the “p” word, philanthropy.
Both political and philanthropic decisions have potential to affect human lives, positively or negatively. We need to assure we’re on the side of humanity.
Fundamentally, our business is to facilitate philanthropy (“love of humankind”).
How what is going on right now, with vulnerable children becoming political pawns, falls into the “love of humankind” camp is beyond me.
Claire, you know I have great respect for you. I also do not disagree with any of the main points of your post. However, please do not pretend you’re being non-political or politically nonpartisan. The problem with children being separated from their parents existed under President Obama, though admittedly at a different scale. However, you didn’t post about the problem until now. Then, you claim politics isn’t involved. Really?
Your post ignores the fact that 80 percent or so of the children “separated from their parents” were separated PRIOR to crossing into the USA by the parents themselves. These children are endangered when they are placed in the hands of smugglers. Yet, you’re silent on that dimension of the issue. Nevertheless, you want me to believe you’re being non-political and/or nonpartisan.
While raising the issue of the temporary separation of children from their parents, you fail to address the permanent separation of children and parents (e.g., Kate Steinle who was killed by an illegal immigrant). Where was your compassionate blog post about the Steinle family and the other victims of illegal immigrant violence? You expect me to believe you’re being non-political?
What we need, and have needed for decades, is comprehensive, sensible, compassionate immigration reform. Congress needs to do its job. In addition, would-be-immigrants need to obey the laws of the country they wish to call home.
In the 1890s, my great-grandparents fled the pogroms of Eastern Europe. They wanted to come to the USA, but immigration quotas kept them out. They made it as far as Toronto, Canada where they were permitted to reside for one year until they could legally complete their immigration to America. My great-grandparents respected the laws of the USA (unfair as they were). They waited in line. As a result, they were able to legally enter the country and were never separated from their children.
Today, the USA must engage more humanely with undocumented-immigrant families. But, that is not enough. We need to deal with the broader problem. The USA needs comprehensive immigration reform including a possible guest worker program. Open borders is not a solution. I’m not afraid to be political.
Michael, I have great respect for you as well. And I’m happy to hear you do not disagree with the main points of my post. Truly, that was the purpose. I wanted to remind us we’re in the business of philanthropy — love of humankind. Whether kids are separated before or after crossing the border is equally sad. The parents who sent their kids out of Germany on the Kindertransport (and I have family members who survived this way) did so only out of desperation and a sense they had no other choice if they wanted their children to thrive.
I had no intention of wading deep into the facts (and fantasy) around this complex issue. There are many layers, and I tend not to wade into these issues generally on Clairification. This issue, however, feels different than many others. Reverand Graham is against this. Even the President now says he’s against this. And if you’re making an argument based on failure to obey laws (which I personally find to be a pretty inhumane argument when applied to families seeking asylum due to life-threatening circumstances in their home, certainly it is not the children who are culpable.
Immigration reform is a complex issue which, I agree, is needed and has been needed. While the Congress continues to fail at its job, the answer is not to punish the people caught in the cross-hairs. This is the richest country on earth. We should be the most loving and generous. If we lose our humanity, then… who are we? Ripping babies from their mothers’ arms is decidedly not walking the philanthropy — love of humankind – talk.
I put myself in the shoes of the desperate, frightened parents and the terrified children. I am grateful I was not born into their lives. But accident of birth does not make these families criminals. If we turn a blind eye, we are culpable. Yes, let’s work for immigration reform. Meanwhile, let’s stop committing crimes against humanity and work to rescind this “zero tolerance” executive order that is wreaking real havoc on peoples’ lives.
Michael, as an avid reader of your blog, I’m saddened and disappointed by your lack of empathy for people in situations of hardship that you can’t even begin to imagine. Sensible and comprehensive immigration reform does not preclude the dignity and respect that should be afforded to every human being. Giving immigrants adequate due process and treating them with humanity does not equal open borders. And I take issue with your assertion that these separations are temporary – there is a mountain of evidence showing that the government has no real plan for how they’ll reunify families. The former acting director of ICE even stated that it’s entirely possible that children and parents will remain permanently separated: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/06/how-will-kids-find-parents-trump-executive-order-family-separation/563264/
I do agree with Claire that this issue is not political – she is raising her voice on an issue that is systemic and goes beyond any one person. This humanitarian crisis is being exacerbated by elected officials on both sides of the aisle. Undocumented immigrants have never been treated with such blanket cruelty in America under any administration, Republican or Democrat. I urge you to put yourself in the shoes of people who are seeking a better life for themselves and their families. Please try to find compassion within your heart.
Thank you Courtney for joining the discussion. I want everyone to feel they have a forum here for civil discourse on philanthropy which, at it’s core, is a value-based proposition. When people care deeply about something, it moves them to act. As Robert Payton, former head of the Lilly School of Philanthropy at Indiana University, famously said: “Philanthropy is defined as voluntary action for the public good.” I love this definition, as every word has impact. It’s not coerced, but voluntary. It’s not passive, but active. And it’s directed like an arrow towards serving the public good.
The real purpose of fundraising is to enact transformative change. Preferably, on a large scale. A scale beyond which one human being could accomplish on their own. This issue cried out to me personally because it’s one I believe requires a philanthropic (“love of humankind”) solution. Regardless of politics or party of preference, it is clear action must be taken to transform the current horrific situation of children being separated from families into something less cruel and damaging. If we don’t all speak out in times like these, we may regret the transformation that occurs. It’s a bit of the “Golden Rule” run amok.
When one person is treated inhumanely, it’s as if all people are so treated.
Consider donating to the fundraiser above benefiting the non-profit Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) which promotes justice by providing free and low-cost legal services to underserved immigrant children, families and refugees in Central and South Texas.
$4000 per minute is being donated. The initial $1500 goal (the cost of bond fees for one person) has now exceeded $3M.
This is not a political or partisan issue. This is a human issue.
Thank you for sharing this, Claire! I’ve already used the link in the article to contact my state senator. I hope others will do the same in the name of suffering children.
I respect and appreciate your fundraising advice but you are raising a political issue here that liberal ideas cannot solve. Your ideas about this are just plain wrong and only diminish the respect myself and I’m sure others have for you. We have a wonderful country and people that are from poor, socialist countries with dictators would of course want to escape. However they are breaking the law and entering illegally thus the consequences when they get caught! Criminals in our country are not entitled to take there children to prison with them so why should people that seek to enter our country and break our laws be any different? All that is happening now is we are finally deciding to enforce the law that Congress passed in 2008!
Ross, I appreciate your feedback and regret this diminishes your respect for me. When it comes to choosing battles, however, this one is an easy win.
It’s not a problem created by the media, or the democrats or the republicans. It’s been created by a draconian policy of deterrence, put in place by the executive branch of government.
It would make me ashamed of being an American if I just sat on the sidelines and watched it happen.
We seem to have a disagreement on the facts (there’s a lot of that going around these days). My understanding is there is no law or court ruling saying children must be taken from their parents if they cross the border unlawfully. There is a Justice Department policy not to prosecute children along with their parents, so … previous administrations made exceptions for those traveling with minors when prosecuting immigrants for illegal entry. Previous administrations prioritized deportation of gang members, security risks and felons. The zero tolerance policy refers every fleeing immigrant for deportation. While it would be wonderful if everyone entered through legal ports of entry, my understanding is that right now we have pretty much a “closed door” policy. Folks attempting to enter at the “legal” ports are being turned away. If you feared for your life, or for the lives of your children, wouldn’t you risk entering illegally? Many of these immigrants truly are fleeing for their lives. The narrative that they’re primarily doing it for selfish, economic motives is (IMHO) a largely false one.
Regardless of what the law was, or is, the current practice of government-sanctioned child abuse must be stopped. Trying to deter parents from coming by inflicting abuse on children is unconscionable.
2000+ kids have been separated at the border from their families in just the past 6 weeks since the new “zero tolerance” order went into effect.
I don’t think this should be a partisan issue. It simply must stop.
No doubt we could debate for hours the issues of terrorism, hunger, homelessness, and humanitarian crises that force people to flee their homes. We could discuss their genesis and the myriad ways to address these problems. They’re complex, and the fixes aren’t easy.
This issue is different. We need to fix it immediately, before countless children are irrevocably harmed.
The USA should be better than this.
Claire, I completely agree with your calm, fact-based responses and also agree with you that separating children from parents over a misdemeanor, is NOT a law, it was an interpretation created by the administration and could be ended today if they wanted. Sadly, children are being used as a ploy to push new laws which is reprehensible.
As you have written, this is a humanitarian issue and should not be a political one. And, I believe, we are all in the humanitarian “business”.
If anyone is interested in reading the facts about the actual laws and rulings you may go to https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2018/06/19/the-facts-about-trumps-policy-of-separating-families-at-the-border/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.c74d3617cc7a
Thank you Claire for opening this door– For asking us not to separate our professional lives (where we hope we are affecting change in a good way) from the urgent need for us to stand up together for human–and yes American–values.
Claire did not say she was a-political–only that this issue is so urgent we must speak up at the very least. Or better, act. What better group to ask than people who work in non-profits? Most of us are here in some philanthropic work because our belief systems reach out to include a larger range of people than our immediate circle. And indeed most of us are children of immigrants.
I appreciate there is civil dialogue underway on this forum but even more I appreciate Claire’s bringing it up. My mother who survived WW2 had a refrain which was “you must always stand up and be counted –the time will come when this is urgent…” As a child, I did not know what she meant. Now in these times, I get it. It is urgent we bring the topics up, and urge others to think clearly, not be complacent and indeed, act from our conscience.
In our high school civics class they used the term “the great American experiment in democracy”… we now see it is still an experiment…and it appears more vulnerable than we knew. Read Madeline Albright’s extraordinarily clear book “Fascism: a warning” to see how parallel our country is right now. It is eye-opening.
Gratitude for civil discourse and for Claire!
Thank you Catherine and Tandy. <3
Thank you Claire for speaking out on this human rights travesty. How ironic that the USA fought against Nazi Germany and are now employing the same tactics. It’s completely horrifying and must be stopped. Thanks again.
Hey Claire, Brilliant stuff indeed!
I agree with you. You did it perfectly though someone taking it negatively.
No doubt, you’re speaking out on this human rights travesty.
I’m going to share it on my network.
Thank you for such a nice content and surely I will discuss with my close friends that separating children from parents is totally wrong.