Angelica Rebeca Gonzalez-Garcia (Guatemala)
Backstory: The 31-year-old mother fled domestic abuse with her then seven-year-old daughter.
Testimony: “On May 10, 2018, the day after our arrest, Officers came into the room and told me that they intended to take my daughter away from me… Most devastating of all, the Officers said I would never see my daughter again. When the Officers told me this, I felt like collapsing and dying. I cannot express the pain and fear I felt at that point. My daughter was only seven years old and she was much too young to be taken from me.
“When I asked why, the Officers said that I had ‘endangered’ her by bringing her here… During this same conversation one of the officers asked me ‘In Guatemala do they celebrate mother’s day?’ When I answered yes he said, ‘Then Happy Mother’s Day,’ because the next Sunday was Mother’s day. I lowered my head so that my daughter would not see the tears forming in my eyes. That particular act of cruelty astonished me then as it does now. I could not understand why they hated me so much, or wanted to hurt me so much.”
Again, as a parent… as a HUMAN, I am grief-stricken. How can we be treating people with this level of cruelty?! I feel so helpless. I feel sick.
Like any parent with some awareness of what’s happening in the world, I have been deeply disturbed by the “zero-tolerance” immigration policy that our president and his administration have adopted. Just as he instituted it, he can stop the barbaric, heartless and inhumane practice of separating children, often young, from their parents. He has chosen not to. Instead he is doubling down on separating families and putting children into what are, at best, prison camps and, at worst, concentration camps. I would encourage you to read what former Japanese internment camp prisoner, now psychotherapist, Satsuki Ina had to say about what the current administration is doing and the lasting effects it will have on the thousands of children being held.
We are not helpless. There are things we can do and I wanted to share some resources I’ve come across recently. To be clear, these aren’t things to make us feel better about what’s happening. I would encourage you to remain uncomfortable and disturbed. As odd as that may sound, the moment we stop being emotionally impacted by what’s happening is the moment this practice becomes normalized and accepted. It is not normal and it is completely unacceptable.
As Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.” Paying for great journalism is one way we can have an impact. I recommend the New York Times, Washington Post or The Guardian. Good journalism takes a lot on money to sustain. Many of the stories that have been written and syndicated about the separation of families and detailed accounts of the prison camps where children are being held would not be possible without the money generated by subscriptions.
If you can’t volunteer or give money, there’s an awesome app called 5 Calls that makes it exceptionally easy to call your elected officials. No matter what issue(s) you care about, calling elected officials is a simple and impactful action you can take on your lunch break or any other small window of downtime in your day.
My hope is that this information shows that you can do something. Stay angry, upset, outraged and disturbed, but don’t wonder what action you can take. If there are other things you’re doing, hit reply and let me know. Just like you, I want to help and am trying to gather as much information as I can.
Originally sent to subscribers of Outcome Unknown, an email list focused on parenting.
I largely avoid news. I read long-form analysis mostly. Reading about the barbaric separation of immigrant families, specifically taking kids away from their parents and putting them in what amounts to jails is abhorrent. I feel powerless and heartbroken. There are some things you can do though.