This morning I attended my 4-year-old grandson’s end of year show. The class had studied the earth’s biomes all year and each child wore a different costume and sang songs to reflect the many different climates and animals on the planet. My grandson was a proud penguin.
Before the performance began, the children waved and blew kisses to their beaming parents.
The show’s theme, “What A Wonderful World” contrasted sharply with the images and reports from the news. Watching the show, I saw children filled with promise, excited about summer: day camp, library programs, travel to grandparents, and lazy days swimming and going for ice cream. My joy for my grandson mixed with anger about the children, the same age as those in the room and younger, being separated from their parents.
On the radio, as I drove, I heard horror stories. Tales straight out of both fiction, The Handmaid’s Tale, and fact, Nazi Germany, an event generations have vowed: “never again.”
A week ago, I delivered a promotion speech to the English Language Learners at my school. I told them how they had left me deeply humbled. In a society where ELL students are seen as limitations or students who are lagging behind their peers, these kids have proven they can do anything at all. They arrived shattered and beyond hope. They came seeking asylum in a country built by immigrants who once sought asylum. My students and all the immigrants before them came here to learn English and build a better life. In the process, they shared lessons about experiences no one should have to witness; about starting over and about transformation. Let’s remember what this country was built on and by whom. When my grandparents, (asylum seekers) came to America, they were greeted: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,……” Their journey wasn’t easy but it wasn’t further traumatized by being put in a cage. This policy is nothing less than inhumane.
As the children sang, “What a Wonderful World” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3yCcXgbKrE, my eyes misted.
Surely, we can do better.
The November election can’t come soon enough.