If you keep up with news, you would’ve known by now that USA is slowly morphing into a YA dystopian novel.
The immigration policies and the “zero tolerance” directive have led to the deportation of entire families, and have separated children and parents in a cruel and inhumane way. It’s not new to hear about a literal infant being ripped away from its mother’s arms – while breastfeeding for God’s sake – and I honestly don’t know how one can even consider that acceptable.
It’s a time of fear, sorrow, and cruelty. But it’s also a time of hope and strength, as people come together to do what they can. The YA and “Kid Lit” community has come together to stand in solidarity with the families being separated at the border. Recently, twenty YA authors joined hands to form a fundraiser, “Kid Lit Says No Kids in Cages”, which has now expanded into a marvelous collaborative effort and display of solidarity.
“As members of the children’s book industry who have built careers with teen and youth readers around the world, we jointly and strongly condemn the inhumane treatment of immigrant children evidenced by the United States Department of Justice in the past week.”, the website reads, “We believe that innocent children should not be separated from their parents. We believe the “Zero Tolerance” directive issued by Attorney General Jeff Sessions is cruel, immoral and outrageous. We believe the Department of Justice is engaging in practices that should be restricted to the pages of dystopian novels.”
The fundraiser collects money to reunite immigrant kids with their families and implores its supporters to get actively involved in the movement. The creators of the fundraiser – many of them POCs and immigrants themselves – are using their unique position to contribute to the cause in a way that ‘s meaningful and productive. Among the original 20 authors include Melissa De La Cruz ( Blue Bloods), Margaret Stohl ( Icons), Adam Silvera ( They Both Die at the End ), Tahereh Mafi ( Shatter Me ), and Rainbow Rowell ( Fangirl ). Their initial goal was to raise $42K, which they easily surpassed within 24 hours. Now, the fundraiser boasts over 4,700 signatures and has raised over $200K.
The banner has also led more authors to come forward and share their support and experiences, one of them being Tomi Adeyemi ( Children of Blood and Bone ), who took to Twitter to share her own childhood experience where she almost got separated from her mother. “When I was in sixth grade I had to testify in immigration court for my mom. I sat there on the stand—11 years old—trying to explain to a judge why I needed my mom to stay. When I realized the judge might actually take her away, I cried so hard I could no longer speak. It was single-handedly the worst experience of my life and in the end we were lucky. She got to stay. There are absolutely no words for the unspeakably horror trump and this government are inflicting on innocent immigrants and refugees. Families are being ripped apart,” she wrote as she urged her followers and readers to donate and sign the statement.
The money collected through the fundraiser is being donated to six organizations actively working towards reuniting families, namely The Florence Project, ACLU, RAICES, Women’s Refugee Commission, Kids in Need of Defense and Al Otro Lado. It’s beautiful to witness the writers you’ve come to love and adore take a step towards voicing against the injustice happening in the country. As a reader, and a member of the community myself, I feel proud and hopeful when I see these kinds of selfless acts of kindness.
As these authors and members of the kid lit community use their presence and voice to an advantage, it’s also a call to all industries with a prominent voice to make use of it for a good cause. Even though children are no longer being separated from their parents, families are still victimized, torn apart and require help.