"Love's In Need of Love Today:" Who Will We Choose To Be In Times of Scarcity, Cruelty
...A Monthly Practice Invitation
for Your Empowered, Heart-based Life...
(WATCH: Click above for the new live performance video of my acoustic cover and reframe of Stevie Wonder's masterpiece "Love's In Need of Love Today.")
"GOOD MORN OR EVENING FRIEND, HERE'S YOUR FRIENDLY ANNOUNCER"
First, I just wanted to say that I was really honored by how many of you reached out to let me know that you read last week's blog post about my travels this Summer and what I learned. Thank you. Truly. It means a lot to know that people are taking the time to sit and read.
I'm writing to you today about something that I didn't have the opportunity to touch on in that last post. This subject was just too large to put amongst all the other things I wrote about.
It's not necessarily the easiest subject to address, and it will get into areas that might be politically controversial or uncomfortable, but I feel compelled enough about this subject to wade into it with you all today. I appreciate you exploring this with me and am happy to hear your thoughts on it.
(Graffiti with hate speech in Galicia in Spain, on signs for the Camino de Santiago.)
"THE FORCE OF FEAR INTENDS TO MAKE YOU ITS POSSESSION"
While I walked the Camino de Santiago for 2 weeks this past Summer, I had the privilege of talking to many people from nations all over the world. The conversations were thrilling and enlightening. We talked about a range of subjects, from our individual purposes for walking, to our views on the universe and spirituality, to our perspectives on current events and the direction of the planet.
I always made a point to ask each person how things were in their home country. I was curious as to what types of issues were important or concerning to their people, and how they felt about the state of their country.
The one common conversation that showed up in nearly every interaction I had with fellow pilgrims was their fears around the international refugee crisis.
From what I am hearing and reading, this crisis is happening everywhere.
The concern was so consistent that it drove me to want to do more research, to know more about what's happening and what caused this global issue.
What I've discovered is this: millions of people have been displaced from their homelands all over the world, and need to relocate in order to continue to survive, and almost every nation in the world is grappling with how to handle this crisis right now. Fears around this crisis have caused major shifts in the political landscape of most Western nations, including our own, toward nationalism. There is a global shift toward national self-protection and self-preservation above all else.
There is a common fear amongst those I spoke with that the refugees/immigrants reaching their countries are coming to take advantage of their country's resources and social safety net, the refugees/immigrants are criminals and will make their country less safe, the refugees/immigrants will refuse to assimilate and will detract from their native culture.
Over and over again. I heard the same thing: Fear. The same fear, across people of many nations. Germany, UK, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Australia, US. Nearly verbatim concerns.
What I DIDN’T hear was conversations about WHY we have a refugee crisis in the first place or how to address this problem at the SOURCE so people don’t need to migrate.
I’ve spent some time now researching this issue and I think the reason we are not having conversations about the source is because our nations, especially the U.S., are in fact the cause of this crisis.
Many of the refugees are fleeing due to the effects of climate change (drought, food shortages.) As we know, we have been and continue to be major contributors to climate change globally.
Many are fleeing due to extreme poverty and violence created by past US military intervention and the disabling of socialist movements throughout Central America in the 1950s-70s.
Climate change--- imperialism/colonialism---- war--- poverty----violence. These are the causes of this crisis. These are the issues we must address as a species.
"LOVE'S IN NEED OF LOVE TODAY"
The global refugee crisis will most assuredly get worse if we do not do something to directly address the issues that created it.
But even as we work to eradicate these issues, we will still need to decide in the meantime:
"Who will we choose to be to one another in times of scarcity, cruelty and need?"
Here's why that question is important:
Any one of us could become a refugee in a moment, whether through a natural disaster, war, financial disaster and/or disease.
Although we may not think it, we are all a breath away from becoming dependent on the generosity of our neighbors, friends and family to help us get through a life-altering event. And in those moments, I think that we would all hope for kindness and compassion from those who might aide us in our time of need. I think we'd all also hope that if we were treated with cruelty that those who witnessed that cruelty might raise their voices in protest.
But right now, all over the United States, we are not choosing compassion or kindness. Instead, we are choosing (with our tax dollars) unspeakable cruelty and harm that continues to this day.
More than 2,700 children were separated from their parents under President Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy, including those with families seeking asylum on humanitarian grounds. This policy was instituted specifically to deter migrants from coming to the U.S., and almost assuredly will create psychological harm to the children detained.
Those same children are put into a system that is not prepared to care for them. One doctor described conditions as "extreme cold temperatures, lights on 24 hours a day, no adequate access to medical care, basic sanitation, water, or adequate food."
All of this takes place after these children travel sometimes thousands of miles to arrive, fleeing violence.
And this is not even mentioning the adults who are not only facing illegal delays of their asylum claims at the border, but also facing incredible abuses while being detained, including sexual assault, being held for long periods in freezing cold cages, forced to sleep on the floor, being held months or years behind bars without having committed or being charged with committing a crime, and rampant complaints of verbal abuse while in custody.
This is just the tip of the iceberg of the incredible mishandling, corruption and cruelty happening in regards to how we treat migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, the vast majority of whom are being held in for-profit prisons (a major concern, as for-profit prison's primary objectives are to make profit and cut costs.)
It's not how I would want to be treated if I were fleeing violence, poverty, danger, disease or disaster. I don't think it's how you would want to be treated either.
"SEND IN YOUR HEART, RIGHT AWAY"
As a people, we must do better than this, and we have to figure out a way to treat all beings with compassion and kindness, regardless of citizenship, now before even more displacement happens in coming years.
This is why I'm getting involved. And I'd like to invite you to get involved as well.
Here's four ways I am,
and you can, get involved.
Learn about the issues by clicking any of the hyperlinked articles in this blog, and/or visit the Freedom for Immigrants website. Honestly, a simple Google search of "immigration," "refugee" or "asylum" will also give you plenty of resources for learning.
You can also learn about Freedom for Immigrants proposed community-initiated alternative to detention programs here.
A broad coalition of activist organizations are coming together on Saturday, Oct. 12th in Los Angeles and all over the country, to "unite in broad regional coalitions drawing together people of faith, unions, anti-nativist fighters and other progressives to target camps, jails, shelters or other parts of Trump's anti-immigrant, deportation machinery, including corporations profiting from the dehumanization of our communities."
One of my mentors, Tanya Kane-Parry is co-hosting an information session about how you can volunteer with Al Otro Lado, a bi-national, direct legal services organization helping indigent deportees, migrants, and refugees in Tijuana, Mexico navigate the often-times corrupt and opaque immigration system.
If you'd like to attend, click the picture or click here for more info.
In the beginning of November I'm working with friends to produce a fundraiser charity concert, but in the meantime, you can donate now to these two organizations doing incredible work to help migrants/refugees/asylum seekers:
That's all I got for now, thanks for reading!