Parenting Blog

I’m Dreaming Of A Decent America, Just Like The One I Used To Know

Amnestly Intl Berks

Thank you Amnesty International USA for sponsoring this post.

A few nights ago, while dreaming of a relaxing winter weekend spent decorating the majestic 8-foot Douglas fir you and your kids thoughtfully selected then tied to the roof of your car and crossed-fingers it would still be up there by the time you pulled into your driveway, and of a quiet night hanging stockings by the chimney with care as Stevie Wonder’s Christmas album plays sweetly and candles flicker safely on the mantle and fresh-baked cookies are eaten with ice cold 2% milk in glasses adorned with Santa Claus, snowmen and reindeer, the U.S. Senate passed a nearly 500-page tax bill, written in secrecy, with scribbles in the margins, read in totality by absolutely no one.

That’s not what this story is about but it’s exactly what this story is about.

I’m Dreaming Of A Decent America, Just Like The One I Used To Know

Goodness and light is under attack in America. Fairness and decency are becoming as antiquated as dial-up modems and cassette decks in cars.

Few places is the decline of fairness more evident than Berks County Residential Center in my home state of Pennsylvania. Sounds like a charming place when written out in black text on a beaming white computer screen, right? A cozy home for grandma, maybe, a place to live out her final chapter with grace and dignity. Unfortunately, this is the exact opposite of what Berks actually is and stands for. Berks is the exact opposite of grace and dignity.

Imagine your child.
Imagine your family.

Amnestly Intl Berks
Imagine you and your young children fleeing violence only to end up in a detention center, held for months, years even, torn apart from each other and society, buried beneath a stack of bureaucracy, pent up behind a literal and metaphorical wall, marginalized by ignorance and hate.

America was once a welcoming place of hope and promise, now parents are facing an impossible choice: stay and risk violence or flee to the U.S. and risk ending up behind bars with their children.

This is 2017 in America. Welcome.

Whether for two weeks or two years, no family should be jailed for seeking safety. Imagine those shoes on your feet, on your kids’. The horror.

Whatever happened to compassion.

Whatever happened to decency.

Whatever happened to America.

Berks is currently holding at least 60 parents and kids. Many of them are from Central America, where Amnesty International has documented horrific violence. Imagine your family needs to a safe place to escape the horrors of home. The United States was once that place. It should be still.

There’s only one place in the whole of the United States, the land of the free, that a child who’s never committed a violent action or crime can be held for nearly 700 days. That place is Berks County Residential Center in Pennsylvania. And that’s disgusting.

It’s not difficult to understand the things we as Americans shouldn’t be partaking in when it comes to families seeking freedom from violence in their homelands:

1) Don’t put kids and parents in jail.
2) Don’t fund putting kids and parents in jail.
3) Welcome refugees.

This isn’t complicated.

It’s time for the U.S. government to end the cruel practice of family detention at centers like Berks once and for all. They must immediately release detained families. Amnesty International USA is fighting to ensure that people with asylum claims are given a fair hearing and humane treatment.

Let’s make America the land of the free once again. Let’s make America decent again. Go Amnesty International, go!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Amnestly Intl Berks

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