Your children are my children. What happens to young people in Kansas matters to me. What happens to children in Virginia matters to me. And what happens to children in Syria matters to me. White. Yellow. Black or Purple. Protestant. Muslim. Catholic. Or Buddhist. Genetics determines race. Origin of birthplace determines nationality. In large part, parents determine a child’s religion. We have never been in control of our birthplace or our genetics; yet, so many of us spend days, months, and years shouting our superiority to our neighbors of the world as if we had anything to do with it at all.
A child born of two Muslim people in the Middle East is no more responsible for their demographics than I am responsible for being born with two green eyes to a white teenage girl and her loving Catholic husband in the Midwest. At what point do we wake up and realize we never had a choice? And neither did they.
I firmly believe your children are my children. We are a community of the world. When your children suffer; we suffer. We are not separate. Children who are raised and nourished in loving homes become loving adults, who contribute in a positive way to society. Children who are raised disenfranchised and broken grow up struggling. When they struggle and they are vulnerable; they seek shelter with those who mirror their pain. And what does a child with unresolved pain do when he/she becomes an adult? That child, who is now an adult, turns that pain inward or outward as he or she sees fit.
Does it benefit us, as a community, to ignore children? To turn our heads to their suffering? To vote against their needs? I no longer care about politics. I no longer care about whether you find yourself on the line of Democrat or Republican. As a mother, a wife, a daughter and as a friend, I care whether someone has morals. I care whether you contribute to the community in a manner considered to be ethical. I care whether you justify racism or sexism or xenophobic behavior as a means to an end. I care if you demoralize another human being for their limitations.
And I think you care too. I think you desire for your children to be viewed as someone of value. I think you desire for your children to be viewed as worthy. I think you desire to be heard. I think we all desire to be heard. If your children faced insurmountable suffering, would you not look for a way out? We all want our children to survive. We all want our children to thrive. But what if you had no options?
Children face gang violence, sexual violence, physical violence. Clean water and food could be considered a luxury. If faced with a child, truly faced with one of these children, would you look the other way? Would you build the walls higher? Would you plant the stake even deeper? I don’t think you would. I think you feel the same as I. Your children are my children and I will not remain silent.