Feature Image Miguel Perez/Pixabay

I’m sharing the letters received this week from the Texas Civil Rights Project because they explain the situation in Texas really well. Hopefully that’s okay since this is a public initiative that needs help.  However, being familiar with the Doctrine of Fair Use due to some recent personal issues (the publishing/sharing of my private letters by the recipient), I’ll write to TCRP to be sure.

Jul 1

(after signing another petition)

Dear Mick,

Thank you for signing our petition.The Texas Civil Rights Project is hard at work to end the Trump administration’s needless immigration crisis. Currently, we have an urgent need for volunteers, especially Spanish-speakers with legal expertise.Fill out this form if you’re ready and able to help out.

https://texascivilrightsproject.org/get-involved/families-volunteer/ 

Jul 2

I received this next letter after volunteering again to help.

Note:  You cannot use that ^ form without checking “I am fluent in Spanish, K’iche’, Mam, or Q’eqchi’.” If you don’t check one of those, the form won’t submit.

I found two other forms that don’t require a second-language fluency.

  1. Advocacy (fundraising, thank-you notes, thank-you calls, and admin help IN Austin) and
  2. Community Engagement (social media, calls, etc.).

I basically checked everything except travel there (For now — but, who knows? I’ve so missed using my skills and I can’t tell you how much I want to be useful again especially for something so needed.)

Dear Mick,

Thank you for expressing interest in the Texas Civil Rights Project. You will hear from a member of our team to discuss any opportunities we may have available and how we can best utilize your time and talents. Please be patient with us as this issue continues to evolve. Our needs will change from day-to-day but we will do our best to respond to you in a timely manner.

Jul 3

This letter really gave me a lot of pride in the beautiful kindness of people everywhere.  We are not our government.  We are beating hearts that love each other and our children, and we know how we would feel if they were torn from us.

Dear Mick,

The Fourth of July, Independence Day, is a day to reflect upon America, to ask who we are and what we stand for. For weeks, as our team at TCRP has fought at the front lines of a human rights crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border, I’ve asked myself these questions.

Our long-standing supporters know that we are a small but dedicated organization that fights for civil rights in Texas. That is still who we are.

But when we found out in May about the family separations happening on a large scale at the border because of a new “zero tolerance” policy of the Trump Administration—about young children being taken from their parents, sometimes in the dead of night, without any means of contact, about parents deported without their children and children deported without their parents—we knew it was our duty to represent the families caught up in this rapidly unfolding crisis with every resource we had.

I never thought I would see families callously and deliberately ripped apart by the U.S. government. I’ve cried a lot. I’m also incredibly angry.

I’m angry that our country, which should be a beacon of hope for anyone seeking asylum, would not only turn away immigrants but go as far as to tear apart families.
I’m angry that the American Dream, the promise we imbue in our children, is littered with asterisks—barriers that disproportionately affect immigrants, yes, but also people of color, women, LGBTQ+ individuals, the poor, and people with disabilities.

I’m angry about the conversation I had to have with my 2½ year old daughter who asked me about that chilling photo of a child her age screaming in terror because officials were threatening to take her mother away.

But, I’ve also been filled with pride and hope.

When we started monitoring federal court proceedings in McAllen and signing up hundreds of families to represent, we didn’t know that TCRP would be thrust into the national spotlight.

We began receiving media inquiries every two minutes. Our social media inboxes were flooded with people asking how they could volunteer. Lawyers traveled from across the country to help represent our clients pro bono. Modest donations began coming in from all over—from concerned individuals who simply wanted to do something, and small businesses who decided to use their unique talents and creativity to organize their communities. And this past weekend, over 700 rallies in every single state expressed resounding support for the work we and other organizations are doing.

While the past month has damaged my faith in the moral solvency of the current administration, it has tripled my faith in the American people’s capacity for empathy and action.

It is precisely because of you all that we were able to scale up our efforts more than we ever imagined, representing more families and helping guide the national conversation.

It is because of you that our team is able to keep going, mentally and emotionally, as more troubling news comes in from the border.

And it is because of you that, just yesterday, one of our clients passed her Credible Fear Interview, a small but extremely important victory in the process of claiming asylum.

She is the latest of several parents who we hope we can reunite with their children, despite a harsh legal landscape that changes every day.

And so, this Independence Day, I offer a key reflection from these recent weeks—none of us are independent. We don’t wage these fights alone, nor should we. Our power comes from those around us. From neighbors and allies across the country. From families who love each other and turn that love into a tool to help others. And from the immigrants who come to our country with a vision for what it could be, and hope for a better future for their children.

Because of you, I share that hope, even when our country falls far short of what it should be.

With deep thanks,

Mimi Marziani,

President

Jul 5

This broke my heart again – fair warning. This is not an easy read.

Mick,

Like you, yesterday we received the news that previous estimates* of children separated from their families at the border were inaccurate, and that hundreds more children have been taken from their parents. It’s heartbreaking to learn, but, sadly, this gross miscalculation is not surprising given this administration’s handling of the human rights crisis it created.

We’ve witnessed a total lack of organization, information sharing, and transparency on the part of the federal government. Now they are reporting that they have to run DNA tests on parents and children to meet a court ordered deadline to reunify some of the families.

At least five of our clients have already been deported without their children, and at least two children were deported without their parent. This administration must inform the American people how they plan to reunite every family and they must terminate their plans for further detaining families.

If you’ve already called your elected official, attended a rally, and are wondering how else you can help, know that your donations to TCRP are actively funding the day-to-day logistics of the reunification process. We are doing what the administration will not and seemingly cannot do: actually track down and get these families legal representation.

Thanks to your generosity, more than a dozen attorneys have come to the border to represent parents who have been separated from their children. But yesterday’s news confirms the severity of the crisis has deepened. Now, more than ever, we are deeply appreciative of the contributions that have been made. If you would still like to donate to increase our capacity and reunite more families, please do so here.

https://texascivilrightsproject.org/donate/

We will keep you updated as more news unfolds.

Thank you,

Efrén C. Olivares

Racial & Economic Justice Director

*The estimate is now 10x the original number:  “As Many As 3,000 Migrant Families Separated At The Border Haven’t Been Reunited.” -HuffPost-

Jul 6

Today we got a note thanking us for a small donation and asking us to spread the word more.  We only gave $20.  It’s not a lot but a little helps too,

We were able to contribute in memory of my sister-in-love Joy.  (See Running-for-Joy5k).  I sent the notice to her fiance’ in 1984 John.  He has since remarried but his story about how he found our small memorial is one I’ll share again soon.  I’m pretty sure Joy would have not only approved but would have been there in Texas right now.   joy

I want to be there — so much — but am too sick (for now).  So far I haven’t heard yet how they can use my skills.  They are still sifting through thousands of volunteers and press requests over the past week.  I’ll keep you posted.

It’s really hard to read all this isn’t it?  *hugs* I know.  Thank you for reading it.  I realized that if I want to help, I can’t look away.  I have to be present through all of it, no matter how heartbreaking.  I have to be willing to be fully there to help. I keep telling myself this to keep focused here or I’ll just block it out because it hurts too much.

This is how I face my son’s search daily too. It doesn’t get easier the longer he’s missing, it gets harder.  But I also get stronger.  Thinking of him tears open my heart — every damn time — but I have to think of him to write letters to anywhere he might be.  Shelters.  Hospitals.  Libraries.  Journalists he might have spoken to about “something evil in Dupont State Park.”  Just before he left, he told us he was working with a journalist for that reason, but gave no more details.  I haven’t been able to find more in his papers.  So, using the same method here — a little a day helps – I can do something.  Even if it’s just writing a blog.

Prayers help, too, and sending light/good thoughts/love to these families.

Sharing the TCRP information helps a lot too.  Their links are below and are updated frequently:

To stay up to date on our efforts to reunite families and put an end to this cruel policy please sign up for our news alerts and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you.

♥.

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