He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
I have a new friend. Her name is T., and she just finished second grade. She is my reading buddy for the month of June. My boss believes in community involvement and has allowed management staff three hours per week to participate in a summer reading program where at risk elementary students are paired with a reading mentor. They ride a school bus from summer school to meet with their mentor. T. and I meet once a week at a local museum with other students in the program. Restaurants bring breakfast so students can also learn table manners. After conversation at breakfast, we find a place in the museum where T. reads to me from a book that she chooses. After individual reading, we gather as a group for teacher lead reading. For every book that T. reads this month, she gets a different colored plastic bracelet. T. is actually a good reader for a second grader. With a little help from me, she can read aloud from nonfiction books that are six chapters in length. She prefers books about mammals like manatees, dogs, cats and wolves. She avoids anything about reptiles or insects. T. has three sisters and lives with her mom and dad in a house that they just repainted green. Her bedroom that she shares with her sisters is pink. She has a dog and likes to go to the beach. Why is T. in the program? Probably because English is not her first language. T.’s family is Hispanic. We don’t talk about it, primarily because I don’t want to pry or upset her, but I am sure she has seen the news of parents being separated from their children at the borders or of children coming home from school to find that their parents have been deported. I don’t know the circumstances of their citizenship, but for anyone of brown skin, this has to be a trying time. So, T. and I read about puppies and block out the rest of the world for a little while. Whenever I work with T., I think about the children in Guatemala. I recall their parents’ willingness to bring their children to the Malnutrican Center and leave them temporarily until they are better. Very few of those parents expect the separation to be more than temporary and most visit their child weekly even if it means hours walking or riding a bus to get there. I superimpose the faces of those dear people and their children over the ones that I see on the news and my heart literally hurts. What our nation is doing to the families only seeking a better life is inhumane and evil. With this post, I want to encourage people to look behind the news, see the faces of your neighbor, the lawn man, the employee at the fast food restaurant. Open your heart to their pain. It is tremendous stretch, but necessary in order to make a difference. Talk to those you are close to. Make plans to help. Do more than send money. Call your US Representatives and Senators. Tell them the madness must stop NOW. Do it for T. Do it for all the children and families who have been separated. Do it for your own children raised in the lap of luxury. We all think that the Holocaust was a long time ago and across the ocean. But, that terrible time in history could be our future. It started with small prejudices and grew to atrocities. Let your voice be heard. Today.