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Posts Tagged ‘border patrol’

Initial Reflection post last night’s Houston Vigil Against Detention Camps at SW Key:

Last night, I went to an action/vigil against detention centers or what I now choose to call concentration camps. Together I joined hundreds of people in front of the SW Key Juvenile Detention Center in Houston; ironically this center is on a street that was recently renamed Emancipation Ave.

As I stood strong against these centers, I found myself wondering why more of my friends didn’t join me; I do understand some were bound by Jewish law so a Friday night or Saturday vigil is not appropriate for them, but I have been at a bunch of actions and I haven’t been seeing enough of them. If we are supposed to take care of the stranger, the widows, the orphans, the poor, why aren’t more of our faith based leaders and their congregants joining this holy work?

As the evening progressed, I watched as the police officers initially charged at the peaceful activists with their aggressive energy and a bunch of horses too. Watching them, I found myself fully grasping that they were  following orders regardless of their beliefs. Is that what many Nazis did? Follow orders without wondering the full ramifications of what they were responding to. To be clear, the officers were not cruel, they were simply ‘doing their job’ and following orders. But I wonder if they even considered that all of the protesters were feeling deep pain for what brought us to stand for hours to protest how our country is treating refugees and undocumented people.

And finally, I stood in awe of the protesters. People of all ages, backgrounds, and spiritual traditions who stood together chanting, singing, drumming, and sharing their thoughts. The vigil was grounded in values and kindness. People were coming together for love of humanity and anger about how horrific our government is treating those they deem illegal. No human is illegal!

Salas Haider and I

7/12/2019 Houston Vigil Against Detention Camps at SW Key with my beloved tribe including Donna Olson-Salas, Chava Gal-Or, Sarah Haider, Federico Salas-Isnardi  

 

 

 

Deeper Reflections: 

As a young girl, I remember questioning, ‘where were all the Germans when their beloved neighbors were being taken away?’ I also used to question how all of those Nazi soldiers could have been OK with the dehumanization of people. I am still wondering those same questions.

Today, the questions are the similar. Why aren’t more people standing up for humanity?How can the border patrol, police officers, and other ‘professionals’ who work at the Deportation Centers live with themselves? How can we have so many leaders who essentially describe refugees as vermin?

As we watch parts of our government dehumanize those seeking asylum from their own hell, I am wondering why more moral people aren’t standing up against the atrocities we hear about daily in the news? Why aren’t more people actively engaged in loving humanity?

While the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum may demand that people don’t use “Holocaust” terms to describe the current treatment of refugees, I feel certain that many of the “Detention Centers” could be better described as Concentration Camps on a good day. Children have been ripped from their families; families have been separated from their loved ones; there is a shortage of water, beds, food, and all necessities for those that are being detained.

And meanwhile, there are many loving people that are choosing to do little or nothing to help humanity. What’s wrong with this picture? LOTS!!!

A long time ago, I came to understand that I can do many things and some will be done well, some less well. Regardless of the fact that I can’t do it all, humanity always needs me to do as much as I can. That means I can love and care for my family, work for a living, have a nonprofit that helps people, write, paint, and I can still do more than one thing. Babies are in jails instead of being loved and held by their mamas and papas!  And that is not the only issue I care about; I also care about the environment, education, health care, and so much more.

And what angers me more than anything right now is that I have good friends, community members, and neighbors that would probably watch their neighbors be taken to a concentration camp before choosing to show up and defend them. What is their excuse? Work. Family. Hobby. Too much to do to take on one more thing.  Or perhaps they think they can only do one thing at a time. . .  I call BULLSHIT! And I am not talking about my friends who have loved ones who are struggling with health challenges. They need to focus on navigating health challenges. When my sons were critically ill at different times, I also stopped doing what I could to make the world a better place, but as soon as I could, I returned to showing up in the world or at least I really tried.

Young families have their own challenges too. . .I get it. AND I also understand that my own sons learned that I cooked for those who were sick, went on actions for humanity, used to volunteer/sleep at a homeless shelter one night a week throughout the late fall and winter.  My sons understood that I showed up. They also watched their father leave the house to go on volunteer calls with the Red Cross whenever disasters hit our community. Our children can handle us showing up to make the world a better place. In fact, if they see us parents caring deeply, they may even choose to show up themselves. One of mine does; the other, not yet. 

My Past Is Guiding Me:

As a child, my neighbors stood by as I suffered. They did nothing! They heard the screams; they closed the ears. I want to be better than that.

Hineini, Hear I am. Where are you?

Onward with love, light, and blessings,
Chava

PS: Thanks for reading what will likely be part of my memoir which at this point is being called, Thriving: No Option. . . . If you like what you are reading, please take a moment and like it on WordPress or any social media site, And if you have feedback, I’d love to hear it.

 

 

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Our trek to Tucson has been empowering, challenging, and fun.  While I do not believe any of us would have called this trek easy; the boys and I seemed to thrive as we traveled the many miles from Washington DC to Tucson. The wild thing was that with the exception of three hours on an Arkansas road, nearly every mile went smoothly.

  • The traffic went smoothly.
  • The people we met were without exception kind.
  • We saw beauty along the roads.
  • We ate one gluten free meal at a Subway in Texas.
  • Aryeh nearly obtained his goal of collecting one knife a day during each day of the trek.  At one point, we found a knife from Subway in our bag, but the cheap plastic knife was not up to his standards. 😉
  • Dovi read a book a day and would have read more if he had the next books for his newest series.  Boy can that boy read; he reads 10 times faster than Aryeh and I put together.
  • Jill and Jim have been amazingly giving.  They have opened up their doors to strangers and become fast friends.
  • Our moving truck came on Thursday and then a crew of movers unloaded the truck on that same day. I am so grateful to Michael for finding the best movers and handyman in Tucson.  Locals should let me know if they want Joe’s information.
  • Friday, we started unpacking our house and on Sunday we are moving in.
  • Even with some challenges, the new house is awesome.
  • Feeling the love of our friends as they support the newest journey has helped us move forward.
  • Our last day of traveling was amazing.  We went to an incredible Antique Mall on the border of Texas and New Mexico.

  • We drove in pouring rain through Arizona towards Tucson.  We were surprised by the rain, but later realized it is normal.

With all the good, there are also some challenges.  I feel concern that my boys will take a little time to make friends; summer realities make it challenging to connect with people.  There is an exhaustion that is running deep within my bones from not sleeping well and from dealing with all the emotions of this move.  Wrapping up life in our nation’s capital, moving cross country, and leaving many beloved friends is all part of reality. I am anxious to get started in my work and am feeling a strong sense of both excitement and overwhelm.

New beginnings are scary and exciting too.  Meeting my new community will take time, yet I feel like I need to be able to get everything done today.  🙂 Our new home needs to still be unpacked and we need to find time to purchase a new sofa on a limited budget.  I also need to weed through some books and lose what I shouldn’t have traveled with in the first place.  I don’t want our home to be too cluttered.  And finally, with all that needs to be accomplished, family time should remain a goal; I love motherhood and hanging with my boys.

Below you will find the final insights that we found along our journey:

  1. Folks in Texas sure do ‘Drive Friendly’ even at ridiculously high speeds of travel.
  2. Success in Tucson can be solely graded by how Ginger and Meg welcome me each morning.  Their wagging tails/bodies put a smile on my face each and every day.
  3. We will need to adopt a puppy (all dogs are puppies) as soon as we finish unpacking our house.  We are missing the dogs that Michael took with him to Florida.  Dog energy is what every healthy home needs.
  4. Navigating dark moments is a part of life.  It was amazing to see how quickly we moved through bad moods never allowing them to stick with any of us for more than a brief time.
  5. Border Patrol gave me the smallest taste of what it must feel like to move through a border each day and be questioned.  Because we were American, spoke English well, it took us a moment.  Even in the moment, I felt anxiety because I had never faced this experience before. I am so sorry that their a good Palestinians that have to face this journey daily and with more hostility than I have ever faced.  As Aryeh said, “We didn’t fit any profile, so we were waved through in 5 seconds.”
  6. Happy people prepare better tasting food regardless of being at a nice restaurant, fast food, or ice cream stand.
  7. It’s a long way from DC to Tucson!

The biggest lesson of our Trek to Tucson was remembering the concepts taught in Anne Lamott’s book, Bird by Bird: When the miles you travel become overwhelming, just take a small step  and then another and then another.  Ultimately, you will reach your destination one action at a time.

Now on to new beginnings!

With love, light, and blessings,

Chava

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