Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Just in Time for The 4th of July: Nothing Says Patriotism Like Resistance

With permission, I share here the final speech from the Juneau, Alaska "Families Belong Together Rally" this past Saturday June 30, 2018. Hundreds of people braved the rain to stand in Capital Park to protest our US government policies. Our dear friend Claire Richardson spoke on behalf of the Walker/Mallott Administration.

photo of Claire speaking by Gillfoto

photo of the Juneau rally by Gillfoto

photo of protest signs at the rally by Gillfoto


Hearing passionate people like Claire speak of the current Trump administration's policies—and how we can, in fact MUST, resist them—gives me hope... something I need for today's celebrations.

June 30, 2018 Families Belong Together Rally--Remarks by Claire Richardson, Chief of Staff Lt. Governor Byron Mallott

My 89-year-old immigrant mother called me recently and boy was she upset. She had just finished her weekly delivery of Meals-On-Wheels on a 40-mile route in rural Delaware.
She turned on her television when she got home and there was the story about thousands of little children being separated from their parents at our border.

She was sick to her stomach. You see, my mother arrived on America’s shores by boat sixty years ago. My older sister was then just two years old. My dad had come over earlier for a job. My Mom had little money, no advanced education, and a toddler to feed. Like millions of other immigrants, my mom has been imagining the horror of what if would have been like if little Anne Marie had been taken from her arms.

What, she wanted to know, were we going to do about this outrageous situation.

What I have been able to share with Mom is that the anger she and every one of us here today feels can be channeled into action.

We’re here today, in Alaska, making our voices loud and clear, We will not tolerate what is happening on our border.

And those voices include Alaska Gov. Bill Walker and Lt. Governor Byron Mallott. Byron and his wife Toni, are in Anchorage right now attending a similar rally.

Both Toni and First Lady Donna Walker, have called attention to the fact that Alaska is no stranger to this idea of separating children from their families. In an opinion piece printed in Alaska newspapers they wrote: “….from the 1930s through the 1970s, the U.S. government took thousands of Alaska Native children from their families, loaded them onto boats, planes, and dogsleds, and sent them to state boarding schools, with the intention of erasing their cultural identity and their connections to home. These Alaskans, including Toni and Byron, now look south and recognize the fear in these children’s voices. Wounds that never fully healed are re-opening.”

We are publicly recognizing how these backward policies damaged generations of families, and we are standing up for our children. From revitalizing native languages, to providing equal education for rural and urban students, to ensuring all kids have access to medical care, we are slowly turning the page. We are hopeful about the next chapter for Alaska’s children.
The Walker/Mallott Administration is speaking out because we must always fight for those who are marginalized. We must speak out against using “national security" as a poor excuse to allow racism.
Our Administration has shared our concerns directly with our leaders in Washington and with the White House.

We are proud to see other Alaskan leaders. such as Senator Lisa Murkowski. demand that family separation polices are immediately ended, and to see businesses such as Alaska Airlines standing strong and refuse to transport migrant children.

Governor Walker adamantly opposes the policy of child separation. Governor Walker declined to volunteer sending Alaska National Guard troops to the Southwest Border for the ongoing border mission. Under his leadership, Alaska has not sent one soldier or one dollar to enable this misguided policy.

The vital work of securing our borders can, and must, be accomplished without systematically tearing apart families. It is pointless to defend our borders if we give up on the values they are supposed to protect. Our nation is not perfect, but we pride ourselves on a few things: justice, and the right to pursue a better future for one’s children.

If we become a country that embraces the mass-removal of children from families as an acceptable strategy for border security, surely we have lost more than we have gained.

A federal executive order has been signed, and a judge has ordered reunification of families. But families are still being detained, and countless children are still separated from their parents.

We, as a nation, are better than this. As leaders in Washington consider long-term immigration solutions, we urge them to learn from our Alaska history, and not repeat it.

Children don’t belong in camps.

They don’t belong in temporary housing.

They don’t belong in government-enforced boarding school.

Families belong together. Period.
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So it's not really a "happy" 4th of July... It's a resolute 4th of July. We RESOLVE that we will not be silent in the face of the Trump administration cruelty, recklessness, and lawlessness.

Trump and his Republican enablers do not stand nor speak for my America.

The light in me recognizes and acknowledges the light in you,
Lee

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