In Solidarity: End Cruel Policies, Build with Compassion

As my husband and I tuck our sweet Cora in to bed tonight, I’m sickened by the accounts of toddlers ripped from their mothers’ arms at the border; I am devastated by the pleas of fathers gripping the hands of their daughters and begging for mercy; and I am heartbroken at the sight of young children in tears because they are alone and afraid.

America has a sordid history of taking children away from parents of color- an ugly history that traces from the auction block to native American reservations, homeless shelters, to  the war on drugs, and inhumane border detention facilities. As we look on with horror and respond in solidarity I’m reminded of the words of Dr. Martin Luther King;

“Law cannot change the heart, but it can restrain the heartless.”

Heartless, corrosive policies and rhetoric in Washington are irrevocably damaging lives. Put yourself in the shoes of a young mother or a toddler arriving at the border today. Having risked life and limb to flee their homeland in the face of violence, abuse and threats of death, they reach the border of a nation that claims to stand as a beacon of compassionate global leadership, only to be torn apart and placed in overcrowded detention centers.

We desperately need comprehensive immigration reform in this nation and, yes, comprehensive immigration reform proposals are nuanced and complicated, but you know what shouldn’t be? Our capacity to see each other’s humanity. I meet parents in our community who confide in me and share stories of what they have endured at the hands of our immigration system. Their resilience and resolve remains clear: they find solace in the promise of giving their children a better life.

As leaders we have to ask ourselves, as we navigate this new and dangerous landscape, so often seemingly devoid of empathy and respect –how do we resist and progress? What more can we do to protect and stand in solidarity with our neighbors, friends, and constituents impacted by the actions of this draconian administration? These times demand activist leadership.

As I think of the parents and children in detention centers at the border, I feel fierce outrage and clarity of conviction. We must do better as a nation. In moments like these we must show up, we must fight back – and I will continue to fight for and alongside our communities everyday.

Today, on the State House steps here in Massachusetts I was honored to stand  in solidarity with immigrant families and the bold advocacy organizations leading the resistance like MIRA and the ACLU.. We are losing our standing in the world because we are losing our compassion for others. Now, we must lead and legislate with conviction.

Heartless policies like those advanced by Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions are meant to make us feel small and discouraged, but together we can resist and progress.

Commit to join this fight and take action today. At every level of government, we have work to do. In MA, as part of the Safe Communities Coalition, we need to continue mobilizing to ensure the final version of this legislation includes provisions fought for by organizations like MIRA. And we must continue to work with community to protect those vulnerable to raids by ICE agents.

In Washington, we need to pass a clean DREAM Act. We need a permanent solution to TPS recipients and develop a path to citizenship. And, more fundamentally, we need to ensure that our immigration policies treat those coming to this country with the dignity and compassion that should be afforded to all human beings and immediately stop tearing families apart.   

 Together, we must mobilize, resist and progress. I am in this with you always.