I attended the Keeping Families Together rally this past weekend at Bowling Green, and I could not find the words to say to the attendees what was on my mind at the moment. But if I had been able to speak to you, Bowling Green, I would have told you that we were standing upon the traditional land of the Haudenosaunee and Miami nations. This land is not your land, and it was not made for you, even though you all sang this song with love and good intentions in your hearts.
If I had been able to speak to you, I would have told you that separation of children from families is not new within the United States – many Indigenous children in the not-so-distant past were ripped from their families to attend boarding schools and to die there far from home. I would have echoed Ms. Maya’s words when she called upon us to look at the United States’ policies of interfering with countries in Central and South America, to exploit their people and extract resources. These policies have inevitably contributed to conditions of poverty and violence in these nations, which have led so many people to our doorstep to escape.
Today, I ask you to acknowledge that cruelty and greed are exactly the values upon which the United States was founded and the responsibility that this nation shares in creating the immigrant crisis. I implore you to make the United States the beacon of hope and compassion that it can and should be. Remember the larger context in which this nation has negatively affected other peoples for its own profit, and take action, even when the immigrant crisis fades from media attention, to prevent such policies from continuing.