Families Belong Together


On June 30th, at rallies all over the country, people gathered together to send a message. I was able to participate in two of the Santa Clara County events. I was again inspired by the beauty, cleverness, humor and passion expressed on the signs and T-shirts. Some of the sentiments deserve to be shared with those who could not make it (this time). It feels like we are in an existential battle for the soul of our country and it will not end quickly. There will be other opportunities.

The unifying factor is the public tsunami of emotion that was inspired by the increasingly cruel treatment of immigrants and refugees – most recently the separation of children from their families combined with the arrogant insensitivity to their trauma. In fact, we were told that the suffering was intentional, meant to send a message to others who might be hoping for asylum in "the land of the free".

Clearly, the people who think this is a good plan are not concerned with our opinion about their abuse of children, vulnerable people, and international humanitarian law. If anything, our shock, fear and anger seems to invigorate them. Clever signs and T-shirts won’t inspire anyone in Washington to rethink their plan. The overwhelming backlash has caused them to act as if they are responding to public opinion, but the basic agenda hasn’t changed. They are resisting efforts of advocates and service providers and show no attempt to create a viable plan or allocate sufficient resources. More resources are still dedicated to arresting legal asylum seekers at the border - adding to the number of traumatized parents and children.

To date, the reunification is being done in such a way as to maintain a level of fear and insecurity. Detainees are being told to renounce their asylum claims and agree to deportation in order to have a chance at finding their children. They are thrown back into the violent world they were trying to escape, with another layer of trauma, minus the assets they sacrificed for the trip, and sometimes without the children who were pulled from them on their arrival. Suffering is still being utilized to manipulate behavior.

Under extreme public outcry, our leaders have offered to jail the children with their parents, while still refusing to accept applications for asylum. Concurrently they are implementing policy changes that will make virtually all of these people ineligible. The official US policy is that these people do not deserve asylum or even sympathy or respect. Lawsuits and protests may slow the process, but have not altered the government agenda of punishment and deportation.

For many in the crowd, this was their first rally. Some signs expressed disbelief that it’s come to this in our country.

  • It’s wrong to traumatize helpless children. I can’t believe I have to make a sign that says this. or
  • State sponsored kidnapping is wrong.How is this controversial?

One person held a sign that said,

  • Thanks Trump for turning me into an Activist.

Even if people in charge are not listening, one of the most important messages is the one that we sent to ourselves on Saturday. Father Jon Pedigo asked everyone to look around at the huge crowd at the people who had shown up at San Jose City Hall, standing in 90+ degree heat. He emphasized that we were not alone. We had all come to demonstrate our dedication and express our support for a group of desperate people. This vulnerable group of immigrants and their children has united people of compassion all over the country. They have reminded us of things much deeper than our personal or political differences. We can no longer be distracted from the intolerable actions that are being done in our name and paid for with our taxes. People of all ages, colors, backgrounds and beliefs took time to reconnect and appreciate others who care. Father Jon then invited all the sweaty people to hug those around them, and we did.

A lot of people showed up, but a lot of people did not. Now that people are aware of what’s happening, how can it be allowed to continue? Fear overrides compassion and many people have been convinced that kindness makes us weak and unsafe.They have effectively built a wall around their hearts and sacrificed their humanity for the illusion of safety.

One rationale for this inhumanity is, “We are a nation of laws. The bottom line is that these people broke the law.”

Jumping right to the bottom line eliminates the need to acknowledge the circumstances that have transformed terrorized parents (and children) into “criminals.” The implication is that if the law is not blindly enforced, no matter the cost, we will lose everything. But laws are made (and interpreted) by men with their own agendas. One lady’s sign said it best,

  • Slavery was legal.The holocaust was legal. Segregation was legal. Legality is not a guide for morality.

Laws have their place, but it is connection, collaboration and compassion that keep a society strong and sustainable. If we do not value them, these qualities will be systematically eroded.

Clearly this will be a long confrontation with a dedicated force on both sides, but the other side has positions of authority, a well defined agenda, a long term plan, and the motivation of fear. If our only goal is to make them stop hurting people, and by chance we were even moderately successful, we would lose our unifying force. We need to both maintain focus on the immediate issues and agree on long term goals that will keep us connected. For instance, a society where compassion is the norm and there are no circumstances under which it is acceptable to intentionally traumatize small children (or anyone). To do this we need to seek solutions that acknowledge the existence and value of everyone involved, even when it is inconvenient. Saturday at the rally we took a step in that direction, reminding ourselves that we are all part of the same large family and Families Belong Together. The words of Martin Luther King Jr still ring true:

"We will live together as brother and sister or perish together as fools."

Please enjoy my YouTube slideshow (above) of the San Jose and Mt. View rallies, and the following messages I was able to document. (Note: I may not be in complete alignment with all of the messages. But I have listed all that I could, to offer a complete picture of the diversity and creativity of people who are uniting to stand in solidarity with immigrants and families.)

  • A little kindness can change everything.
  • A woman’s place is in the House (and the Senate)
  • Abolish ICE
  • All are welcome!South Bay Jewish Voices for Peace
  • All parents want a better life for their children.
  • America has been infested by Trump.
  • American Nightmare
  • Asylum Not Cages
  • Borders are kind of fake anyway.
  • Brutality is not a Soul-ution.
  • Bridges Not Walls
  • Cage Racists. Deport Xenophobic A******s.
  • Caging Children and Inciting Hate is no way to make America Great
  • Can’t spell detestable without DT
  • Caseworkers – not Prison Guards
  • Children are Sacred
  • Children in Jail – Sex Offender in the White House. What’s wrong with this picture.
  • C***** la Migra
  • Compassion is not weakness. Cruelty is not strength.
  • Compassion – not fascism.
  • Come on. WTF?
  • Criminalizing Immigrants does not make us safer.
  • Deport Jeff Sessions
  • Disgrace!
  • Do Unto Others….
  • Due Process for All
  • Dump Trump
  • Educate – Engage – Empower SIREN
  • Education Not Deportation
  • Elections have consequences – Vote on November 6th.
  • Empathy Makes America Great
  • End Government Sponsored Child Abuse
  • End Indefinite Detention
  • Estoy aqui con mis padres.
  • Even my dog is against Trump (sign on a dog carrier)
  • Everything Hitler did was legal.
  • Familias Unidas
  • Families Belong Together (and not in camps). Why am I making posters that point this out?
  • Families Belong Together.How is this controversial?
  • Family Separation is Terrorism
  • Family Values = Value Families
  • Fear Nativists – Not Immigrants
  • Fight ignorance – not immigrants.
  • Fighting for our future.
  • Find the babies
  • Free the children – Cage the Nazi’s
  • Free the immigrants – Lock up the Tyrant.
  • Free the kids (sign held by a kid).
  • Get some boundaries and leave ours alone.
  • Give a s**t about others.
  • Give the Children Back.
  • Gospel of Matthew 25:35 – “For I was hungry and you gave me food.I was thirsty and you gave me drink - a stranger and you welcomed me.”
  • Got Compassion?
  • Had Enough Yet?
  • Heartless Incompetence
  • Hello neighbor. I’m here to borrow a cup of hope.
  • Hey Dems Lead or Leave
  • History has its eyes on you.
  • How did we get great? Immigration!
  • Human need – not corporate greed.
  • Human Rights for All
  • I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.
  • I can’t believe I have to make a sign to remind us that it’s cruel to rip children from their parents.
  • I don’t know how to tell you this, but you’re supposed to care about other people.
  • I prefer crushed ICE!
  • I really do care and you should too.
  • I will stand with the most vulnerable. If not now, when?
  • If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
  • I’m here with my parents (held by a toddler)
  • Immigrants belong here. Racism does not.
  • Inhumane laws must be changed
  • Intolerable cruelty! End Family Detention
  • ICE – Incarcerating Children Everywhere
  • If you stand for nothing, what will you fall for?
  • Impeach Cheeto Voldemort
  • Impeach Hate – Vote!
  • In this house we believe, Women’s Rights are Human Rights, No Human is Illegal, Love is Love, Science is Real, Black Lives Matter, Kindness is Everything
  • Individually we are one drop of water.Together we are a Big Blue Wave.
  • It’s wrong to traumatize helpless children. I can’t believe I have to make a sign that says this
  • Jesus was a refugee child.
  • Justice is what love looks like in public.
  • Karma’s a Bitch “Donald” and she’s coming for you.
  • Keep Families Safe
  • Keep loved ones together.
  • Keeping Families and Children Together is a Family Value.
  • Kidnapping is not a family value.
  • Kids belong with their families (held by a toddler).
  • Kids need their parents (Held by little girl)
  • Know your history.The Pilgrims were uncodumented.
  • Leviticus 19:33
  • Lock Him Up!
  • Los Altos United Methodist Church Stands with Immigrants
  • Love Can Win
  • Love Trumps Hate
  • Love unleashes Unstoppable Force
  • Make America Decent Again
  • Make America Humane Again
  • Make America Kind Again
  • Make America Moral Again
  • Make America Smart Again
  • Make it Right - Reunite!
  • May all bigots be reincarnated as helpless immigrant children.
  • Migration is a human right.
  • Moms Rising for Immigrants www.Momsrising.org
  • Mt. View stands in solidarity with immigrants.
  • Mt. View Voices for Peace and Justice
  • No cages – No camps.
  • No foil will replace the love of a parent. Return all children now.
  • No human is illegal on stolen land.
  • No KKK. No Fascist USA
  • No matter where you’re from, we’re glad you’re our neighbor.
  • No Muslim Ban
  • No Nuremburg Defense
  • No one chooses to be a refugee but you can choose not to be a dick.
  • None of us is free unless all of us are free.
  • Not on our watch.
  • Not by fighting what we hate, but by defending what we love.That’s how we will win.
  • Not a time for civility when children are in cages.
  • Not OK USA
  • Now you’ve pissed off Grandma.
  • November is coming – VOTE!
  • Of course I f****** care.
  • Of course we care. Why don’t you?
  • Only cowards lock up children.
  • Only monsters put children in cages.
  • Our Humanity will not be broken
  • Our lives begin and end the moment we become silent about things that matter. MLK
  • Pick on someone your own damn size.
  • Protecting your family is not a crime.
  • Proud daughter of an immigrant.
  • Put an end to structural violence.
  • Rather than a wall, America needs to build a giant mirror to reflect on what we’ve become.
  • Refugees need to be treated nicely (held by a young boy).
  • Resist Hate
  • Reunite Children
  • Rispecta me existencia o espera resistencia
  • Scapegoating immigrants will not make America great again.
  • Seeking asylum is not a crime.
  • Sending Love
  • Slavery was legal.The holocaust was legal.Segregation was legal. Legality is not a guide for morality.
  • Standing on the side of Love
  • State sponsored kidnapping is wrong and I can’t believe I even have to say it.
  • Still not my President
  • Stop being mean.
  • Stop POTUS Trauma
  • Stop pretending your racism is patriotism.
  • Stop Torturing Families.
  • Stronger together
  • Swedenbourgain Church says #Families Belong Together
  • Swingleft.org
  • Tech Immigration Allies
  • Thanks Trump for turning me into an Activist.
  • The only families that belong in jail are the Mansons and Trumps.
  • The world does not need more trauma. Keep Families Together.
  • Then they came for the children and I said, “Hell No!”
  • They are Children. You are monsters.
  • This is not the America that my grandfather escaped the Nazi’s to come to raise his family in. We can do better.
  • Thou shall love thy neighbors.That includes immigrants.
  • Toddlers aren’t lawyers. Provide representation.
  • Together we will stand against hate. www.Twwsanjose.org
  • Treasonous – Racist – Un-American – Monstrous -Pervert
  • Trump holds thousands of immigrant children hostage – SHAME!
  • Trump is a child abuser.
  • Trump keep your tiny hands off other people’s kids.
  • Trump, the only kids who belong in jail are yours.
  • Trump leave the tantrums to me (taped to a baby carriage)
  • Trump’s policies are UnAmerican
  • Trump’s swamp is drowning the US.
  • Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not. The Lorax. Dr. Zuess
  • Vote for Decency
  • We are one race – the human race.
  • We are supposed to be the home of the BRAVE and the land of the FREE. Let these BRAVE immigrants be FREE in this land – their new home.
  • We are the moral compass of this great nation.
  • We should all care.
  • We the people are not afraid of foreigners. We were all foreigners once.
  • “We the people” means everyone.
  • We will live together as brother and sister or perish together as fools. MLK
  • We will not be ignored.
  • We will vote.
  • We’re all immigrants – even you Donald.
  • We’re humans – not animals.
  • What kind of monsters put children in cages?
  • What if they were your children?
  • What would Mr. Rogers say?
  • When Corporations are more important than individuals, children become cattle.
  • When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.
  • Where are the Kids?
  • Where are the babies? Where are the girls?
  • Women Resist White Supremacy
  • Wrong is Wrong is Wrong
  • Yes to Refugees. No to Regime change wars that create them.
  • You know what they say… Small Hands - Small Heart
  • Zero tolerance for family separation.
  • 3000+ children taken from their parents. Welcome to Trump’s America.
  • 5th Amendment: “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law. Refugees are people.
  • 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act – 1942 Japanese Internment – 2018 Muslim Exclusion Act

Return to Blog


Leave a comment