Refugees Rising. Our Time Is Now! #FamiliesBelongTogether
By Cha Vang, Executive Director
We are living in heartbreaking times.
Children being torn away from their parents.
Families seeking refuge and asylum from violence and poverty being turned away.
Immigrants are being denied entry because of their faith.
Sadness, anger, and powerlessness. Those are all feelings I’ve had all week. Seeing the images of families in search of a home reminds me so much of our family’s journey and hardship in coming to the United States. From the war-torn villages of Laos to the refugee camps of Thailand and finally to our communities here in the United States--a generation of soldiers, mothers and children lived through similar hardships in hopes of a better future for the next generation.
Outside of internet trolls and ignorant family members, I am hopeful that deep down--the vast majority of our refugee community has a deep empathy for the families at the border. Our collective hearts break when we see and hear children being forcibly separated from their parents. That we see our own parents pain in the faces of parents who are imprisoned in immigrant camps.
The time for our community to remain on the sidelines is over. As refugees or the children of refugees--WE know better than most the gut wrenching choice parents make in deciding to give up everything and leave their homeland because that choice outweighed the certainty of death in the face of violence and war. We know exactly what it feels like to be rejected by the majority of this country--many of whom were anti-immigrant and vocally opposed our resettlement. We know better than most the power of compassion and love--as we were the recipients of both when our families first arrived.
Our time is now. It is our turn to stand up and make our voices heard loud and clear. We cannot be afraid in condemning the inhumane treatment of families seeking asylum. We will be bold in challenging those in power--holding them accountable and voting them out if they fail to stand up for basic human rights. We will not turn our backs to families in need, simply because they are not Hmong. We will offer love and compassion to our Muslim brothers and sisters for they carry the burden of dealing with this country’s hatred and racism on a daily basis.
Our country has become a shell of its ideals, a nightmare compared to the dream our parents had hoped for. So what do we do about it…
Join me in trying to make a difference… here’s how:
- Change starts at home. Have important but difficult conversations with members of our family that have only gotten the false news or fragmented perspectives about family separation. Show the images of children crying. Play them the audio of a little girl crying out for her mother. Show them this video of a father’s heartbreaking phone call with his daughter after he’s been deported.
- Register to Vote. Register a friend to vote. Take the Pledge to Vote together. We can post things on Facebook and protest in the streets and scream til we are blue in the face--but unless we vote, our voices won’t matter. www.registertovote.ca.gov
- Show Up! Attend a #FamiliesBelongTogether March on June 30th
- Support organizations on the frontlines with donations and supplies. Click here for details - https://shrtm.nu/N2oA
- Ask every elected official--on every level-- what they’re doing to protect immigrant children. School board members can take steps to address trauma among students impacted by deportation. Mayors and city council members can provide resources and establish sanctuary cities. Congress can pass compassionate immigration reform and end these atrocities.