families belong together

families belong together

Image: a hand holding a pin that says “I Vote,” with flowers in the background. 

Image: a hand holding a pin that says “I Vote,” with flowers in the background. 

Budapest, 1947. Across Europe and the USSR, millions of war orphans and poor children are institutionalized in cold, industrial orphanages, where their physical needs may be met, but there is little love, attention or care, and children fail to thrive. Hungarian pediatrician Dr. Emmi Pikler has different ideas and opens an orphanage called Lóczy, where children are nurtured and treated with respect, and their surroundings can foster their natural development. 70 years later, her pioneering philosophy of respectful infant care has spread across the world and is now known as RIE.

 

Texas, 2018. In six weeks, nearly 2,000 immigrant children have been separated from their families and kept in metal cages. Border Patrol officers joke about the noise while young children sob for their parents. When the officials do acknowledge the children, they’re only told to stop crying, but at least one doesn’t understand - she only speaks an indigenous Guatemalan language, not Spanish or English.

 

It’s hard to know where to start when faced with a crisis that’s so blatantly wrong. It’s racist, and immoral, and un-Christian, and not based in US law, and being used for political gain, and causing generational trauma, and echoing dark times in American history when families were separated and institutionalized during slavery, Japanese internment, and Indian schools. But as ‘kid people’ who believe in respectful childcare, I think it’s enough for us to say: this is wrong. We knew better 70 years ago, and we know better now. As RIE practicioners, we can’t nurture the children in our care and stand by while others are abused. As nannies, we can’t support the families we work for while others are ripped apart. Domestic work is inherently linked to family and immigration issues - this is our fight. Here are four ways to help:

 

1. Vote. Today is primary day here in DC, and although we don’t have any ballot measures related to immigration or representation in Congress, I’ll be taking the baby down to our polling place this afternoon, because making our voices heard is the most significant political action we can take.

2. Call your representatives. Like I mentioned above, DC doesn’t have congressional representation. But chances are you do! It’s essential to call your senators and representatives and ask them to put an end to family separations. 

3. Donate. The ACLU is always a good bet when addressing legal issues like immigration, and RAICES is doing work on the ground in Texas to get legal help to immigrants and asylum seekers.

4. Protest.  There is a national day of protest planned for Saturday June 30th. If you’re local, you can join me in protesting at the White House, or click through to Families Belong Together to find a rally near you.

 

 

 

building blocks of baby sleep

building blocks of baby sleep

preventing child sexual abuse