Detained Children: How To Help

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone!

We made it through this week- and I’ve got big plans for this weekend that I’m just itching to get to! But first, I wanted to take some time to discuss something a little more serious before we all jump into “TGIF/Weekend Mode”.

I’ve stated in the past (more than once, I’m sure-) that I try to keep things at Blondie Birdie lighthearted and fun. The world can be such a bleak, depressing place sometimes- to the point where it’s overwhelming- and it’s nice to have something else to focus on when the news and the headlines just get to be too much. Writing this blog is a nice and much-needed break from all the badness going on in the world- and I hope it offers some happiness and comfort to those who read it, too.

Sometimes, though- we see things happening around us that can’t simply be put on the back-burner and which need our immediate and undivided attention. That being said, I’d like to take a quick break from posting about fashion, or food, or my travels in and around New England- and talk about helping innocent children who are presently being detained in prison-like camps at our borders as part of a cruel and unjust “zero tolerance” immigration policy.

Now, I know there are many different and strong opinions on both sides of the immigration debate- but it needs to be repeated and understood that people from outside countries who come to our borders and make it clear that they are seeking asylum are not committing a crime. Seeking asylum is *not* illegal- despite what some news outlets would want you to believe.

These people are leaving their homes, families and friends- pretty much everything they’ve ever known- to escape poverty, war, corrupt governments/authority figures, and persecution to seek safety and a chance at a future that would otherwise be uncertain or grim if they were to stay in their homeland.

Many of these people are coming here with small children as a means to protect them and allow them access to a better life- only to have those children taken from them and sent to glorified concentration camps for an unknown period of time. Many of these children do not speak English- and many of them may never be reunited with their parents ever again. In an already problematic child services/social services system that is riddled with human error and overcrowding- these kids have so many odds stacked up against them from the start.

Despite your opinion on immigration- surely you all must agree that these children don’t deserve to be punished in this way, and that they shouldn’t be used as pawns by politicians and wannabe’ totalitarian dictators.

But, there are ways to help- and I wanted to share a few organizations who are actively working to help both the children detained in campsites along the border, as well as their families- and who need donations to continue to do amazing work.

KIND (Kids in Need of Defense): I’ve actually worked with KIND’s Boston branch before, and have seen firsthand all the good they continue to do by providing trained, qualified pro bono legal representatives to assist and aid children in their immigration proceedings and ensure that each child is placed within a safe and suitable living environment- as well as granting them easier access to the tools and counseling they may need to adapt.

KIND are actively taking donations to pay for mental health counseling, violence prevention workshops to assist at-risk girls- and pay for the training to enlist new legal representatives to help with their cause. Please consider helping them out! They’re amazing!

– Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP): Similar to KIND’s efforts, ASAP works to assist the most vulnerable asylum seekers- of all ages- who have fled violence and sexual abuse in their homelands to find them stability and reunite them with family while walking them through the immigration process. ASAP also comes to the rescue for any asylum-seeker facing unfair deportations/raids/etc in all areas across the country.

– We Belong Together: Focusing on promoting equality for, and empowering immigrant women while simultaneously providing the tools needed to keep refugee families together- We Belong Together works tirelessly to aid the mothers, daughters, sisters, nieces, etc. who are at-risk and are often the most vulnerable when it comes to immigration proceedings.

– Al Otro Lado: For my Southern California people! Al Otro Lado is currently working to assist refugees and provide legal support for immigrants in the Los Angeles area. Right now, given the crisis- they are offering their aid to the infants and unaccompanied minors being detained at the border.

Any bit helps and will go towards making a huge difference for a child and their family.

Many of my friends are immigrants who came to this country when they were young. Some were fleeing war, while others were fleeing persecution, poverty or famine. A friend of mine in college once told me how she had come to the United States in her early teens with nothing more than the clothes she was wearing and a little money she had secretly saved up- to avoid an arranged marriage with a man more than twice her age. Another one of my friends, openly gay- told me how just being himself and loving who he wants in his native country could get him killed.

I couldn’t imagine my life without knowing these individuals and I certainly couldn’t imagine turning my back on them if they were in the same situation that many of these families at the border are in right now. These people I know are some of the hardest working, kindest and most patriotic people you’ll ever meet- and, despite everything going wrong in this country right now- are still so grateful to be here.

I implore everyone reading this- regardless of your stance on immigration- to do the right thing and help these children. They shouldn’t have to suffer.

And with all that being said- I hope you all have a fantastic and beautiful weekend. Much love to all of you. I think we could all use it right about now.

I’ll be back on Monday with your regularly scheduled blogging content!

xx

– Ashley –

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