By Victoria Lynn Hall
Click here to watch Mary Hollywood’s “At The Crossroads” talk with Emma, a refugee from El Salvador who was held in the Homestead detention center in Florida.
“The deliberate infliction of trauma on detained children is a moral crime, and should be seen as a legal one as well.”Marianne Williamson
The photo above of Marianne Williamson standing with protestors outside of the Detention Center in Homestead, Florida where refugee children were being held was taken on June 28, 2019. Barely more than six weeks before, 16 year old, Emma Melgar Arita was grateful to be leaving that facility after a difficult two months spent inside.
During those two months, Emma and the other children there had seen the protestors and the hearts and signs they held, only to be told that these people were “the bad guys, trying to get us out of there so they would deport us all.”
Listening to Emma tell her story to Mary Hollywood, it really hit home for me how children, ALL children, need so much more than just food, shelter and other material necessities. Among other things, they also need to know that someone cares about them, they need hope and they need a sense of belonging, especially when they are in a transitional situation.
The fact that frightened and uncertain children in the Hampton Detention Center were routinely robbed of the care and hope that others were trying to give them should be considered just as much of a crime as denying them food or water.
Fortunately for Emma, she had her angels; the family, friends and strangers who found ways to give her the love, care and hope she needed to get through her struggles then and now.
But as Emma herself says, she was lucky and there are many more children who continue to struggle that need angels too.
Please join ALL Children @ ALL Borders on May 8th & 9th for a Virtual Summit to Amplify the Voices of Children and Mothers. Go to allchildrenallborders.org to learn more.
Marianne Williamson was not the only presidential candidate to visit the detention facility where Emma was held in Homestead, Florida in June, 2019. Now Vice President, Kamala Harris also made an appearance at the site and she said one of the first things she would do if elected was to shut down private detention centers.
The Homestead facility was actually shut down by the Trump Administration in August of 2019 but the federal government announced plans to possibly reopen it in February of this year.
This idea has been met with concern and protests by many different groups, including environmental activists who say the migrant camps – which are located directly adjacent to the “Homestead Air Force Base EPA Superfund site” (part of the Homestead Air Force Base that was used for the storage of hazardous materials) – may have exposed children to toxic chemicals. (Source)
In a recent article entitled, “Promises Broken, Children Kept” for the Brown Political Review, Ricky Zhong writes of this issue and others involving the use of for profit facilities for this purpose which should be obvious to anyone:
“Handing for-profit companies the responsibility of running detention centers is much like handing for-profit companies the management of prisons: both lead to perverse incentives such as a desire on the company’s part to keep the children locked up and to make use of these facilities for as long as possible.”Ricky Zhong
During their virtual summit this Mother’s Day weekend, May 8th and 9th, ALL Children @ ALL Borders will announce plans for a revolutionary Transitional Village. Click here to learn more and to donate funds toward realizing these plans.
Watch Emma’s conversation with Mary below or on our YouTube channel and be sure to subscribe as we will have more content surrounding this issue and the upcoming Mother’s Day summit going forward.
A self taught artist and creative entrepreneur, Victoria Lynn Hall lives in the Kansas City area with 4 spoiled cats. She believes in art and the magic of kindness.
Mary is the host of ‘At The Crossroads with Mary Hollywood’ where she discusses ideas that go beyond left and right as she tries to forge a new road altogether. A teacher at heart, she lives in San Diego with her family.