Do you find yourself wondering when we’re going to take to the streets and protest human-rights abuses at our southern border? You have a chance to walk the walk on Tuesday, July 2, during MoveOn’s National Day of Action to #CloseTheCamps. Stop wondering and start doing. You ARE the hero you’ve been waiting for!
If you’re looking for an event in Manhattan or Brooklyn, I’ve got three right here (descriptions are from the event organizers):
- Noon: Middle Collegiate Church, 112 2nd Ave. (between 6th and 7th streets), Manhattan. A rally to encourage Representative Carolyn Maloney to help #CloseTheCamps.
- 4 p.m.: Congressman Max Rose’s Brooklyn office. 8203 3rd Ave. Brooklyn. While members of Congress are home for the Fourth of July holiday, we will gather at 4 p.m. at Congressman Max Rose’s office to demand that the camps are closed.
- 6 p.m.: Across from Senator Chuck Schumer’s home at 9 Prospect Park West in Brooklyn. On the year anniversary of Senator Chuck Schumer going AWOL from his own town hall, we will stand outside of his Brooklyn apartment with signs depicting giant eyes, to remind him that we — and the world — are watching.
If you genuinely can’t walk the walk — whether that’s because of physical limitations, juggling two jobs and school, lack of childcare, or anything else — you can still talk the talk! Call your two senators and one congressperson and demand that the U.S. stop running for-profit concentration camps. Calls from constituents make a huge difference. Please do not underestimate their impact.
Can’t make a phone call during business hours? Well, you’ll just have to let your fingers do the walking. Use Resistbot to send a message to your elected officials by Facebook Messenger or Twitter. You can also text the word RESIST to 50409 and the bot will walk you through the texting process. I’ve found Resistbot to be very helpful. It’s available 24/7 all across the country, it’s free to use, and I’ve gotten snail mail responses from my senators.
Okay, but what if you have no idea what to say? In that case, I’ve got a script for elected Democrats whose thoughts or plans are unknown or who say the right things but don’t do anything effective.
My name is [Your Name] and I am a constituent calling from [Your Zip CODE]. The treatment of immigrants at our border is unacceptable. The overcrowding, neglect, and disease are identical to certain German concentration camps. Press releases and speeches on the [Senate or House] floor are not enough. I expect more from my elected officials. Tell me what meaningful action the [senator or congressperson] plans to take.
You can adjust this script for different scenarios. If you’re fortunate enough to have officials who are actively working to expose and stop the abuse — such as Joaquin Castro, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Presley, Madeleine Dean, or Rashida Tlaib — you can thank them and ask what else you can do to help. If you’re unfortunate and have elected officials who think some people deserve to be treated worse than animals, you tell them that they are FUCKING WRONG.
Also, you should feel free to use “concentration camps” to describe these detention centers. Even though we are not in World War II Europe, the term is accurate. Auschwitz — the notorious extermination camp with its gas chambers and crematoria — wasn’t the only kind of concentration camp. Other Nazi concentration camps were designed to kill through starvation, disease, and overwork. Diarist Anne Frank and her sister Margot died in 1945 in a German camp called Bergen-Belsen after they contracted typhus, which is primarily spread by lice. Bergen-Belsen was one of those places that didn’t have gas chambers or organized mass killings. Nevertheless, it is estimated that over 50,000 people died there from starvation and disease. No one who is committed to the historical truth will deny that Bergen-Belsen was a concentration camp.
I’ve always been haunted by a former classmate’s description of meeting a skeletal Anne in Bergen-Belsen. Anne was wrapped only in a blanket in freezing weather — she had ripped off her clothes because she couldn’t bear the lice anymore. Meanwhile here’s another story about lice. This one comes from 2019 from our border, via a Q&A that Isaac Chotiner of the New Yorker conducted with one of the lawyers who visited the children’s camps.
“… we received reports from children of a lice outbreak in one of the cells where there were about twenty-five children, and what they told us is that six of the children were found to have lice. And so they were given a lice shampoo, and the other children were given two combs and told to share those two combs, two lice combs, and brush their hair with the same combs, which is something you never do with a lice outbreak. And then what happened was one of the combs was lost, and Border Patrol agents got so mad that they took away the children’s blankets and mats. They weren’t allowed to sleep on the beds, and they had to sleep on the floor on Wednesday night as punishment for losing the comb. So you had a whole cell full of kids who had beds and mats at one point, not for everybody but for most of them, who were forced to sleep on the cement.”
So there you have it. If you want to know why someone doesn’t just DO SOMETHING already, I’m telling you RIGHT NOW that the person who has to act is you, and I’ve told you exactly what you can do, including actions you can take from home or work in two minutes tops. Now YOU have to decide how you’re going to live with yourself if you don’t act.
For further background, read ProPublica’s story exposing thousands of Border Patrol employees as being proud white supremacists. These people aren’t protecting you from criminals, my friends. These people ARE the criminals. I’m doing my best to protect you from them but you have to help yourselves too.
P.S. If you’re okay with people being treated inhumanely, you’re a white supremacist and this blog is not for you.