Saturday, July 2, 2016

These Children Are Our Children! - LA Progressive

These Children Are Our Children! - LA Progressive:

These Children Are Our Children!

Remember all too recently when thousands of unaccompanied children crossed the border into our country as they fled from torture and certain death in their homelands, particularly in Central America? Yet, instead of greeting these innocent children with open arms, we treated them like criminals, turning them away—caring nothing about what would await them if they were forced to return to their countries of birth.
Amazingly, those protesters (in places like Murrieta, California, and Oracle, Arizona) held sway, the FBI gave in, and, carrying those frightened, apprehensive, and panic-stricken children, the buses took away the real victims of this controversy. That whole scene reminded me of how the U. S. government turned the Jews away who had crossed the ocean to escape the Nazi terror, only to be returned to European concentration camps, torture, starvation, “scientific” experiments, and death. Aren’t we admonished to Never Forget?!
Have you thought (since then) what has come of them? I have continued to worry about them (the pictures are burned into my memory) and, thus, have gotten involved in programs whose aims are to do what our government at many levels has generally not done. One such advocacy group is CLUE—Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice. It is through its staffers that I was introduced to people from the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, the secular CARECEN (Central American Resource Center), the Catholic Esperanza (hope/promise) Immigrant Rights Project, and the North Hills United Methodist Church (with a congregation of about 65-70% Central Americans) and its Welcome Center for Unaccompanied Minors (whose leader is Pastor Fred Morris who has spent many years in Nicaragua and Brazil, the latter of which is where he, many years ago, was tortured for his championing of human rights).
I must add, before I continue, how proud I am of Congressmember Tony Cárdenas who has taken an active role in advocating for the rights of these and all undocumented people—those who deserve a right to come out of the shadows and be allowed to become or continue to be contributors to their communities without fear of penalties and punishments, let alone deportation and separation from family.
I am so grateful for all the time Pastor Morris granted me as he enlightened me about many of the situations of which I would not ordinarily have been aware. What follows reflects much of the information he so generously shared during our conversation.
You probably have heard stories of the thousands of young people who have left their families, friends, and homelands with the hope they will arrive in America where they can survive in peace. Yet, we have heard of the risky trips, escaping from those at home who would enlist them in gang patrols or kill them, the rugged terrain they must traverse if they manage to get away, the trains on which they grittily hold for dear life, the hunger and dehydration, the assault and rape that must be endured.
And if they manage to overcome all those obstacles, there are still the gangs in Mexico which might kidnap them when those innocents make it that far and hold them for ransom to be paid by These Children Are Our Children! - LA Progressive:

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