Photo by James Gordon, Los Angeles, California, USA: “Playful boy in the expansive courtyard of the Great Umayyad Mosque of Damascus, Syria” Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons. This mosque, the fourth holiest place in Islam, is now in ruins.
What do we mean by “extreme vetting”? A Homeland Security
official explains that refugees have been been vetted thoroughly all along.
Teaching and Supporting the Children
“Schools should be safe havens that embrace all students and families, regardless of citizenship and national origin, and that includes unaccompanied and refugee children. The 1982 U.S. Supreme Court case Plyler v. Doe ruled that undocumented children have a constitutional right to receive a free public K–12 education, which provides the means to becoming a “self-reliant and self-sufficient participant in society,” the court wrote, and instills the “fundamental values necessary to the maintenance of a democratic political system.” However, today’s increased enforcement measures by the Department of Homeland Security and campaign promises made by the incoming administration threaten that right for thousands of undocumented youth and the 4.1 million U.S.-born children who live in mixed-status households with at least one parent or family member who is undocumented.”
The report offers facts about undocumented students, immigration raids, what school communities can do, and taking action beyond the classroom.
A companion piece, “What Do I Say to Students about Immigration Orders?”
offers clear, honest tips for helping undocumented students and children of undocumented parents. This thoughtful essay offers ten additional steps of constructive action teachers and other adult role models can take.
Out Beyond the School
Forces of Good(ness) in the Twitterverse
Bana Alabed, thankfully safe, had a poignant question for the president, seeking his empathy. Bana is the brave little Syrian girl who has been using Twitter to alert the world of the plight of these children, now political pawns subject to the political whims of egomaniac adults.
The video can be found here
. Please follow her! Bana’s mother, Fatemah, has also set up a Twitter account
. Mother and daughter preach love, peace, and understanding. These are the message we need so much more of.
After the Super Bowl
Here’s the full, uncut version of the famous advertisement by 84 Lumber. It’s beautiful!
In this powerful video, Malala has hope that the Syrian child refugees will survive and one day be able to return home. That hope, however, is dampened by the grave concerns she has for what may be the irreparable damage that has been done to these young lives. The statistics are as staggering as they are frightening.
Malala tells their story for the world to hear.
It doesn’t have to be that way! Syrian children need money for an education. Let’s help them come home and rebuild their country.
First, to my dear readers, a happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!
While I look forward to spending time with some of my precious family, for which I am extremely grateful, my heart continues to ache for those who are separated from their families. I think of the Syrian refugees, of whom more than half are children. I continue to shed tears for them, for how they have been treated by the despots in their home countries, as well as for how these people have become scapegoats, targets of shameful racist demagoguery both among existing politicians and candidates seeking political office next year.
A family of Arctic wolves spends time together at the Lakota Wolf Preserve, Columbia, NJ. PHOTO: Copyright 2015, Daniel L. Berek
Wolves are often portrayed in popular literature and folklore as the evil. Of all the pictures I have taken of these magnificent animals, this one best shows how popular myth so often gets it wrong. My point: the same applies to the hateful things said about the Syrian refugees and Muslims in general. My experiences with both show the opposite.
So, on this Thanksgiving, before I join members of my own family, I took a few moments to pen a letter to President Barack Obama, to express my support for his wise and humane policies regarding the refugees and immigrants. In my letter, I express my feelings that his plan to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees “has great metaphorical and practical meaning, as that is the number of children saved during the Holocaust, thanks to the Kindertransport and the generosity of the British people.”