There was a rally in downtown los angeles tonight for the kids separated from their parents at the border. The depth of the wrongness of this separation situation is staggering. I didn't really want to go, but in these situations I always ask myself, if not me, who? If I am not happy with things, I need to make my voice heard through all possible channels to the best of my ability. I need to do my small part- that is my civic responsibility.
I was raised with the understanding that you help to people less fortunate than you. My parents both grew up poor and I grew up working class, 4 people in a one bedroom, etc. We certainly did not have a lot but we never went hungry or wore shoes that didn't fit and we still had enough to give here and there when asked, when needed, when we saw injustice or pain or need.
Some people don't share that value and it is baffling to me. I have no clue how to make a person care about others, but i digress...
So, i was heading off to the rally when both of the people going with me canceled. Its a lot more fun to go with other people and a lot more doable. Now I really didn't want to go but I found out that the Woman's March Group, who were behind the rally, were collecting supplies and that they were one of the few agencies allowed direct contact with the kids being held prisoners.
Jut a note on that last sentence. Holding children in cages is terrorism, condoned by our government, war crimes, crimes against humanity, all of the above. It is Fascist. It is the lowest point thus far. There are pre verbal babies in diapers who may have never drank from a bottle before, alone in cages. If that is not enough to make someone care ...that is the wall I come up against. The brick wall of hopelessness and despair. And the only tool I have against it is action, small acts of kindness and resistance. Thats all we have, people.
So I texted a few numbers in my phone and asked if anyone wanted to join me or give cash towards the supplies that I would bring. No one joined me but people gave me donations totaling $255 which I spent on things from the list of things needed: diapers, wipes, tampons, toothpaste and tooth brushes, crayons, pens and notebooks, stuffed animals, bars of soap, and boxes of snack bars. The supplies filled 7 big bags, which I realized as I was paying that I would have to carry by myself, and i wasn't sure if that was doable. My brain works that way, doesn't think ahead. I asked the store if they would give me a discount because of the purpose, but they said no, but they helped me put the bags in my car.
I drove downtown and parked 3 big los angeles blocks away and held 3 bags in one hand and 4 in the other. they were really heavy and it was incredibly uncomfortable and I thought about people walking through the dessert trying to cross the border and, based on a buddhist prayer that someone once told me about, I hoped that my tiny suffering could lessen someone else's.
When I got closer I saw lady with a sign under her armed and I asked her if she was going to the rally and I asked her for help. She thanked me for allowing her to help and together we dropped the bags at the rally. The women working it were so grateful and I saw that there were lots of spanish books for kids and lots of great supplies.
Then I unrolled my little sign that said: children belong with their parents, not in cages- end the terror- abolish ICE. Then I made 10 cards for kids at the art table along with a bunch of other people. We wrote little notes in spanish and helped each other translate and shared each other's ideas and drew hearts and smiles. It felt so tiny, but it was great to know that by tomorrow, all of this stuff will have reached the detained people and hopefully it will give them some comfort.
I haven't written in a while because there is so much to say on so many subjects and I just don't feel qualified. I don't feel like I can handle the extent of it all, the vastness in addition to choosing the right words, having the right insights, having no answers, etc. A big part of adjusting to the brutality of the leadership of this country is an inside job, it is a private journey that everyone has to take, in addition to the public one. I am still finding my way, brewing. I only wrote this because I needed to get back to everyone that gave me money and this was the easiest way to reach everyone. Thank you everyone. I hope that enough people want to do better and keep showing up and I hope that things change. It's important to fight, even if we lose.
I hope that you all can get to the protest on saturday, they are happening all around the country. xh