I’ve been debating with myself for several months about whether or not I should post about what’s happening in the US right now. I have watched in horror over the past 18 months at what has taken place in the US. I haven’t just watched though. I’ve also voted, protested, and called my representatives regularly. But I’ve felt (and still feel) very powerless. A part of me had the feeling that it was inappropriate to discuss politics on a website dedicated to books and to my writing. But over the past few days, I realized two things:
- This is not a discussion of politics. It has nothing to do with political party. It’s about right and wrong.
Which led me to my second realization:
- I don’t think that I could live with myself if I don’t use my voice to speak out for what’s right. That applies everywhere. As a writer, everything I write involves my beliefs, values, and opinions. That can be explicit, in a nonfiction article or essay, but it can also come through elsewhere.
I have my own political beliefs and positions. I won’t get into that here, because as I said, it’s irrelevant. I also won’t say that separating children from their parents is evil. “Losing” those children surpasses “evil”. That should go without saying. It breaks my heart that there are people who don’t understand that. If this were happening somewhere else, the press would be calling it a human rights violation or a crime against humanity. Because that is what it is. I applaud the people in this country who are publicly condemning this and trying to do something about it. These are people from all walks of life, all political viewpoints, all religions. If you feel threatened right now, please know that you are not without support in the United States. A lot of people support you.
If you can, please consider contributing to one (or more) of these organizations:
- American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)- This organization works to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the US.
- Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative is a part of the Southern Poverty Law Center. It provides pro bono legal representation to detained immigrants at four detention centers in the Southeast United States.
- Families For Freedom is a human rights organization that fights for families facing deportation.
- Immigration Advocates Network is a collaborative network of immigrants rights organizations that are committed to increasing access to justice for immigrants.
If you can’t afford to contribute financially, you can do so in other ways.
- Propublica is tracking bigoted violence and harassment. They are collecting and verifying reports to create a national database for journalists, researchers, and civil rights organizations. If you are a victim, or a witness to a crime, please tell your story.
- Read, watch, listen to or promote art by marginalized people. This helps by giving the creator royalties, clicks, views or downloads. It also brings more attention to their voice.
- Call your representatives!!! I can’t say it enough. It is the most effective way to get their attention. It is far, far, more effective than tweets, mass emails, or Facebook posts. Calls get attention. Click the link to find contact info. #callyourrep Remember, these people work for you!
- Follow these hashtags on social media to organize and learn more about things that you can do to help.
- Also, check out this thread on Alida Garcia‘s twitter. Garcia is an attorney and public affairs, strategist for electoral and issues advocacy campaigns. She gives concrete suggestions to people.
I don’t have a lot of followers and I don’t know how much this post will accomplish, but it’s the platform that I have at the moment. If my saying this costs me a few followers then so be it.
I want to leave off with a quote from Elie Wiesel, writer, professor, political activist, Nobel Laureate, and Holocaust survivor:
“We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must – at that moment – become the center of the universe.”