I’ve been mulling over what to say about this for at least a week now. There’s no arguing, at this point, that the United States is running concentration camps at our southern border. The conditions are horrific and the guards running them are racist, misogynistic assholes. This post isn’t about how we got here or what’s wrong with detaining refugees and immigrants in camps. It’s about what I’m doing, and perhaps what you can do, in response to it. It’s hard not to feel paralyzed by horror in witnessing our concentration camps. I’m ashamed of what our country is perpetrating in our name.
I’m certainly not the first or the best informed on this topic but I’m here presenting thoughts on what we can do all the same. Writing this out helps me think about the issue. I can only hope this also encourages a few others in my small audience.
We have to recognize that this is part of a pattern and no one should be claiming this “isn’t who we are.” This is totally who we are. It’s only recently that we’ve tried to redefine who are to not be the kind of people who put other people in camps. It is scary and stressful, but we can’t ignore it. Ignorance will not solve this problem. Maybe it’s shallow, but I don’t want to look back on my life and know that did nothing and ignored concentration camps in our own country.
At Rollercon, I’ll be participating in a fundraiser called Reps for RAICES. Derby trainer Prime organized it and invited people to take part. I’m hoping to raise $300 in donations and I’m planning to match up to $500 of donations. I’m very proud to be part of a community that wants to work against oppression.
RAICES isn’t the only organization out there. There are a lot of places you can donate to, depending on how you want to prioritize your dollars. Last year, Slate published a comprehensive list of organizations working against family separation at the border and, since not much has changed in the last year, it’s still a very good resource. Another resource is helpdetainedchildren.org, which lists the organizations working to provide aid to migrants.
I read recently that charitable organizations most appreciate recurring monthly donations because they can plan programs around a stable amount of income. Although they love all donations, recurring donations are the best. I have decided to make a recurring monthly donation to the Women’s Refugee Commission. Even if you can only make a recurring donation of $5 per month, it will make a difference.
You can also send money in other ways. It turns out, you can donate airline miles via lawyersgorgoodgovernment.org to help volunteer attorneys travel to people who need legal support. I have a bunch of Southwest miles, so I will be donating some to support the cause.
I was cheered by the news that Wayfair employees staged a protest when they “discovered … that Wayfair intended to fulfill an order from BCFS, a government contractor that is operating camps at the border, for $200,000 worth of bedroom furniture,” as the Boston Globe reported. I’ve made the argument before that the only thing that seems to motivate this country’s upper class is money. We have to demonstrate that it is more profitable to NOT support government-sponsored internment camps than it is too supply goods and services.
If you’re looking for companies profiting from detaining migrants, We Are Your Voice Mag has a list. The most notable inclusion is Amazon, if only for its popularity among regular people. Bank of America is also profiting from the camps. If you want to divest and change banks, you can take a look at my posts on divesting from Bank of America.
Make Demands of Congress
Most organizations working for immigrants are saying the most important thing we can demand of congress is that they defund U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The National Immigrant Justice Center has a form you can fill out that will send an email to your congresspeople. I am using it as a template for a letter that I’m sending to my congresspeople via ResistBot.
This one is tricky because a lot of the volunteer work needed is on site at the border, which is not where I live. Additionally, the professions most in demand are lawyers and interpreters. I am not a lawyer, and although I speak Spanish, I’m not confident in my ability to run live interpretation for a bunch of scared people. If anyone discovers other ways to volunteer, please let me know. I am very interested but not sure what to do.
There are lots of protests happening around this issue. I am personally planning to attend some hosted by NorCal Resist in my area. If you don’t know how to find protests near you, ask your politically savvy friends, search on ResistBot, or try scouring facebook for events near you.
Don’t Take My Word For It
Here are a few other lists for what you can do to help end family separation and support immigrants.
- Five actions you can take to help end family separation and support families from the Women’s Refugee Commission
- Make Freedom for Immigrants a Reality from Freedom for Immigrants
- What can you do to help immigrants whose rights are under attack? from Lawyers for Good Government
- Here’s how you can help fight family separation at the border from Slate
Talk about It
Whatever you decide to do, I would love to hear about it. Leave a comment or let me know what you’re doing to stop concentration camps in our country. Or, leave a comment to commiserate about how terrible it is that we still have to fight so hard against injustice. Talking about what we do makes us stronger! Go forth!