Since our inception 90 years ago in 1928, the East Bay Community Foundation (EBCF) has put families and children first. We, like you, know that the foundation of a healthy, vibrant, civil society starts with family. When parents and guardians have the support they need to be healthy, productive caretakers and members of society, children thrive.
We have all seen the horrific and heartbreaking reports over the last week regarding the doubling down on a “zero tolerance” policy towards immigrants, resulting in an increase in the separation of immigrant children from their parents and guardians at the U.S. – Mexico border. It is difficult to witness this traumatization and dehumanization of our immigrant brothers and sisters.
This practice of family separation as a tactic to instill fear, division, and hatred is sadly not new in this country. From the state-sanctioned separation and sale of enslaved parents and children during the 18th and 19th centuries, the forced separation and relocation of Native American children and parents during the 19th century, to the federal policies of forced internment of parents and children of Japanese descent during WWII, and the continued incarceration of large populations of men and boys of color, we have seen this before.
In prior eras, brave individuals and social justice organizations who aspired to higher values of justice, dignity, democracy, and equitable opportunity were able to break down inhumane and unjust laws and policies. Today, we must take the same stance and act against policies that cause unnecessary trauma and suffering for those most vulnerable.
EBCF cannot and will not remain silent during these critical moments. We absolutely condemn this most recent state practice of separating vulnerable children from their parents and guardians not only at the border, but in our communities. We affirm the value and humanity of our immigrant families. We are committed to working with our partners to make sure they find safety, create a home, and thrive in our region.
We know many of you are eager to support organizations working on the ground, right now, to protect immigrant families at the border. We have compiled a list of organizations that you may want to consider supporting (either through your fund here at EBCF or directly).
- Las Americas – provides legal services to the asylum-seeking parents being separated from their families at the border. In addition to financial support, they are also urgently seeking volunteer attorneys (contact Linda Rivas: firstname.lastname@example.org if this is of interest).
- Detained Migrant Solidarity Committee – currently a grassroots collective, at this time contributions are not tax-deductible – provides assistance at the Texas border to pay immigration bonds to get detained people free thus calling them to reunite with family, avoid bail bond lenders, and improve their chances in immigration court.
- The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) – which promotes justice by providing free and low-cost legal services to underserved immigrant children, families and refugees in Central and South Texas. RAICES is the largest immigration non-profit in Texas with offices in Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio.
- Supporters can directly fund the bond necessary to get parents out of detention and reunited with their children while awaiting court proceedings. Bonds are set at a minimum of $1500, and are usually in the range of $5-10K, even for asylum seekers without any criminal history.
- Al Otro Lado – a binational organization that works to offer legal services to deportees and migrants in Tijuana, Mexico, including deportee parents whose children remain in the U.S.
- The Florence Project – provides free legal and social services to men, women, and unaccompanied children detained in Arizona.
If you are compelled to take further civic action, here are a few upcoming events:
- June 23rd – San Francisco – Families Belong Together Rally at Civic Center at 10am.
- June 30th – Families Belong Together – Nationwide – search for an event near you.
At EBCF, we believe in “a just East Bay” — where all members of our community, including families, are treated fairly and have the supports in place to thrive. We urge you to stand with us.
James W. Head
President & CEO – East Bay Community Foundation
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