A Patriotic Plea from an Abuse Survivor

One of my favorite things about summer is the 4th of July fireworks. I love the drama, noise and the way they light up the dark sky.  I’m not a “backyard-let’s set off our own fireworks” type of girl. I’m a “big show, loud booms, beautiful big lights” type of girl.

Our town does the fireworks on July 3rd for various reasons. So, after the show last night, I posted some of my favorite shots, along with a video. I loved the entire 23 minutes of spectacle.

Then, as I checked Facebook to see if it all loaded, I saw a post by a friend that stopped me in my tracks.

My friend wrote an intelligent post about the number of migrant children still in cages and the horrible conditions in which they are living.  It broke my heart, because it reminded me just how complacent many of us are right now.  I mean, I care, and I’m sure many of you do, too. I have researched how I can help. I have called my “representatives”. (Quotes are there because my congresspeople do not represent my values, at all.) I have given to charities, spoken out against this, helped some refugees in a very small way.

Otherwise, I’ve done squat. Really.

I have this tiny person in my head screaming, “DO SOMETHING!”  But, what?

On this same Facebook post, a woman posted an extremely insensitive and ignorant-to the-facts-of-the-children-being-detained post… telling my friend to not call them “migrant children”. She says they should be called “illegal immigrants.” I got fired up, responded to her ignorant comment, but now what do I do?

Is there a rally cry? What can we do?

Those of us born in the U.S. got the luck of the draw, you know.

If we had been born in Guatemala or Honduras, for example, most of us would be yearning for a better, safer life.  We would aspire to live somewhere we could raise our children with better odds.

I breathe a sigh each time I think of just how lucky we are. I stress… it was purely luck.

None of us did anything extraordinary to have the privilege of being Americans. Yet, here we sit, watching fireworks light up the dark sky, filled with wonder and pride, while fellow Americans are separating desperate families and putting children behind chain-link walls, having them sleep on the floor or cots, many without soap and toothpaste, stripping away the reasons we feel a sense of pride.

I know I’m being a Debbie-Downer here. I don’t want to take away your joy on this festive, patriotic holiday.  However, as the adult-version of a child who was sexually abused most of her childhood, I beg you to consider helping these children.

Because if I know just one thing about how our government is treating these children, it is this:

Children of abuse and suffering do not recover well… not without a lot of help. When terrible, painful events happen to you as a child, they stick with you for life. You are forever altered, and your view of the people who committed these acts rarely change.

As my friend, author of the heart-wrenching post, also pointed out: We are training these children for life.  These children will become adults one day, hopefully, and they will have a certain view of Americans.

As an American, would you rather them love or hate us?

If you are wondering what organizations are trying to help these families, here are a few:

UNICEF uses 0.89 for ever dollar donated to help children.

Save the Children is setting up transition centers full of fresh daylight and toys and places for children to play. They are also caring for children and trying to meet their needs.


The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services is out of Texas and has approximately 130 attorneys providing legal services for immigrants.

If you don’t currently know much about the American Civil Liberties Union, I suggest checking out their site. Attorneys donate their time to help in so many cases regarding our civil liberties. Right now, they are along the border, trying to provide legal assistance to migrant families.

There are many more, so do the research and find one that fits what you want to do to help.

Listen, I will admit… I was on a natural patriotic high after last night’s fireworks show. It was an electronic slap in the face to see my friend’s post. However, it was a much needed one. I don’t think it is patriotic to just celebrate.

I think you can also be socially conscious and figure out how your going to help these innocent children, who are being, at the very least, mistreated at the hands of our own government.

I commented on that thread, I wish we could form a human fence, blocking our government from these defenseless children. I’m not sure… maybe we will end up doing that… but for now, I need to do this.

I need to ask that you continue to celebrate July 4th, and all it means, but also find it in your heart to help us protect and lift-up the message of what America has been for centuries:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

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