Thank you Amnesty International USA for sponsoring this post.
As mothers and fathers, I think the one thing all of us strive for is to give our children a better life than we had. We work hard and we make sacrifices. We want to give them the best life possible. We never want them to know pain, or fear, or disappointment. If our child is experiencing pain, fear or disappointment, we do every single thing in our power to help relieve that. So what if I told you that your children would experience all of those, just because you were trying to give them a better life?
That is what all of the children and parents face in Berks County Detention Center in Pennsylvania. This is the only place in the U.S. that you can detain a child that has never committed a violent action. At least 60 fathers, mothers, and children are currently being held in Berks. Their only so-called crime is seeking safety for their families as they flee violence or persecution.
Can you imagine your child in jail?
Families are being forced to flee violence in their home countries and seek safety in the U.S. for themselves and their children. However, once they get here, they are jailed for seeking safety. This puts parents at an unimaginable crossroads – one I can not imagine every having to decide between – risking violence by staying or risk being behind bars if they flee. Can you imagine having to make that choice for your family? Many of the parents and families in Berks Detention Center are fleeing horrific, documented violence in South America.
Have you ever heard of Berks Detention Center? To be honest, until I was contacted by Amnesty International about writing this post, I had no idea that Berks Detention Center even existed. I had no idea that families were held there upwards of two years. Four families held for two years were finally released this past August. Can you imagine your child having to leave to walk or talk in jail? This harsh detention regime undermines access to asylum and traumatizes children who have endured violence and psychological harm in their flight from human rights abuses. Take a minute to watch this short video to learn a little more about what is going on in our own country.
The U.S. has always been a beacon of hope for people seeking safety. You know that saying “it takes a village?” Well, as individual members of our community we are responsible for ensuring our children grow up safely. Each Berks child is our child. We must ensure that children and their parents have access to safety when they arrive at U.S. borders! As a parent, if this resonates with you like it does with me, please visit Amnesty International’s website to learn more about the situation and about what you can do to help end the expensive and inhuman practice of detaining families.
It takes a village & we need to be that village for each other!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.