Thursday, June 14, 2018

#FamiliesBelongTogether National Day of Action Brooklyn Rally, Au revoir, les enfants!

Goodbye, children film.jpg 

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After the Families Belong Together rally, I watched the old Louis Malle film Au revoir, les enfants. Its a story about a school boy in the 1943-4, whose best friend, a Jewish refugee, is hidden at his school, granted asylum there, before being taken away by the Nazis in a horrific final scene, along with the priest who granted him asylum and two other boys.

"Au revoir, les enfants! À bientôt!"  he shouts saying goodbye to the children before being taken away.  They reply: "Au revoir, mon père!"

The film ends with a final epilogue:

"Bonnet, Negus and Dupre died at Auschwitz; Father Jean at Mauthausen. The school reopened its doors in October. More than 40 years have passed, but I'll remember every second of that January morning until the day I die."

Watching the film, I thought of the rally we all attended earlier in the day about the current administration’s detention policies similarly separating families and detaining kids.

“Its all too much like the Nazis” noted Caroline earlier, explaining why we were going to the rally at Borough Hall with our little one.  Brooklyn is an immigrant community.  We were all there.

You just don’t get the time back you lose in detention.

You don’t forget what you saw, the earie feeling of being alone.

We are watching as the US creates its own Gullag, its own concentration camps of outsiders, similar to those students taken away from their schoolmates in the Louis Malle film.

My DACA students sit feeling just as estranged in our classrooms, wondering what will happen to them.

My college Gwen posted on my facebook feed:

Having spent the last two weeks visiting synagogues in Amsterdam and Prague I don’t know how this is happening in our country. It must stop now.

The organizers for today’s rally wrote:

The policies of the current administration are not only unethical and immoral, they are in direct violation of The 1967 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights. These policies not only separate children as young as 18 months from their families, they leave children vulnerable to agents accused of numerous transgressions, including physical and sexual assault. I am working with Families Belong Together , MoveOn , United We Dream and the New York Civil Liberties Union - NYCLU to put an end to this cruelty. I am hosting a rally at Borough Hall in Brooklyn on the National Day of Action, June 14th., at 5:30pm. This is a nonviolent protest sponsored by The Action Network and Families Belong Together. I invite you to join us:

Daniel Altschuler, with Make the Road by Walking, noted the action was part of a National Day of Action called #FamiliesBelongTogether. Immigrants and allies demanded that they stand up to Trump and his administration for the inhumane treatment of immigrant families and asylum seekers, especially for the separation of parents from their children.

Thursday’s actions followed the national wave of protests that took place two weeks ago, on June 1st, when a national outcry broke out about the humanitarian crisis that immigrant families are facing on the U.S.-Mexican border. Long Islanders are calling on the entire Long Island Congressional delegation to stand up against Trump’s heartless actions and defund Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the rogue agencies that are tearing families apart.

“The treatment of children by any nation is the heartbeat of that culture. We as a nation cannot stand idle while the administration perpetuates a barbaric practice that goes against who we know ourselves to be as Americans,” said Julia Fenster, President of Nassau NOW. “This humanitarian crisis will not go unnoticed—these children’s cries will not be silenced and these broken families will not be forgotten. Families belong together!”

Silvia Garcia, member of Make the Road New York and Long Island resident said,“As a mother I cannot begin to imagine the heartbreaking pain that these parents must feel, surviving the journey of reaching the border, escaping violence and poverty of their countries of origin with the hope that their children will be safe. The separation of families must stop. Children belong with their parents, families should not be torn apart."

"Separating children from their parents is a policy of torture. Not a “tough deterrent.” As a mother of two, and as a human being, I am heartbroken and horrified by what our government is doing. In addition to working towards a pathway to citizenship, we must end this policy and hold accountable politicians like Peter King who allow it to happen," said, Liuba Grechen Shirley, Candidate, Congressional District 2.

“I am horrified by the sanctioned kidnapping and separation of families at our border,” said DuWayne Gregory, Candidate, Congressional District 2. “Our nation was built by immigrants, and this practice goes completely against our values. Peter King and his Republican peers have refused to stand up to Trump and his bigoted and inhumane policies, and we need new leadership to bring humanity back to Washington.”

“It comes to no surprise that much of the longitudinal research on childhood trauma indicates long term physical and mental health risks throughout an individual's lifetime. Why is it then that the current administration cannot see the trauma they ignited in these children and families? Do they know how important the attachment to a parental figure is for our wellbeing as humans? This is not an immigration issue, this is at it's core a humanitarian issue,” said Sabrina Sportorno, Youth and Family Counseling of Oyster Bay - LCSW.

"Separating children from their families is both cruel and inhumane. This administration’s policy is terrorizing these children and their families,” said Renee L. Ortiz, College Director, The Center for Social Justice & Human Understanding, Inc. "The fact is, separation of families has no justification as it does absolutely nothing to make us safer and completely violates what we stand for as a nation. We implore Congress to take a stand and end this policy immediately."

The rally was part of a national wave of actions, condemning the Trump Administration's policies around family separation. 

Sue Brisk Families Belong Together Nationwide Brooklyn Rally is an emotional turnout. OPPOSE THE CRUEL INHUMANE & UNJUSTIFIED SEPARATIONOF CHILDREN FROM THEIR FAMILIES AT THE US BORDER AND OTHER POINTS OF ENTRY. White House press secretary #SarahSanders said today its a "moral policy" to enforce the separation of families at the border, continuing, it is "very biblical to enforce the law which is repeated several times throughout the bible" blaming the Democrats. After she was repeatedly pressed, "Come on Sarah, your a parent don't you have any #EMPATHY for what they these people are going through?" She brushed the off the journalist continuting "This administration is just following the law on the books for over a decade and the Prez is just enforcing that." The bible reference was made after #AttyGenlJeffSessions said today, "I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear command in Romans 13" to justify his zero tolerance re the border separations. This concept that a bible reference is #Sessions solution, tearing #families & very young children apart, who dont have a voice, #kids- is a #horrifying#inhumane policy. #amilies belong together. #AbolishIce Abolish #Sessions #Inhuman #cruel #Trumpmustgo

The New York Times later published a report on the actions.

Marches Across the U.S. Protest Separation of Migrant Families

Barbara Kurek was among a group at a rally in Huntington, N.Y., on Thursday protesting the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant families.CreditKevin Hagen for The New York Times

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