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Elder Activists for Social Justice
Community Conversations

3rd Thursday of each month
9:00 - 10:30 am PST / 12:00 - 1:30 pm EST

We participate together over Zoom video conferencing in a lightly-facilitated, educational and interactive conversation. We have time to deep dive into our topics using an Elder and social justice lens...always provocative, meaningful and community-oriented.

We began, three years ago, by looking at issues related to racism, white privilege, wealth inequality and Islamophobia, and have recently studied Native peoples' history, reconciliation and the moral voice of an Elder. Each month’s topic grows from the previous month's and the interests of those attending.

Approximately two weeks before each meeting we may post resources about our subject which include relevant readings, videos, articles, and introspective questions. Our meeting format is participatory, and everyone has a chance to interact and share. All meetings are via Zoom video conferencing. Click for instructions and access to Zoom conferencingALL ARE WELCOME.


Our next Community Conversation will be on
Thursday, July 18
9:00 - 10:30 am PST / 12:00 - 1:30 pm EST

 

The terrible issue of immigrant children detained at the U.S. border

The United States of America has, since its inception, been a country formed by immigrants. Yet now, at our southern border particularly, thousands of people leaving their home countries are requesting asylum or entrance and are being held in detention centers and processed very slowly. Meanwhile, the immigrating families are being separated and the children held in cells – cages in many cases - without adequate sanitation or bedding, without adequate nutrition and without access to their parents or adult relatives. In spite of legal and popular objection this problem has continued and continued to worsen for over a year under the Trump administration.

Is the description above adequate to define this problem? What are some of the underlying causes of the problem and what can or should be done instead? What actions can we take to effect those changes?

Looking at this issue through your social justice and elder lenses, please read the materials suggested below, focus your attention on this issue in other news you read and conversations you hear, then bring your thoughts on the subject to our conversation July 18th.

In our Community Conversations we draw on the experience and wisdom of our group to better understand the critical issues we are facing and discern what actions we would want to take as elders in our society today. We offer moral support for each other as we grapple with the issues and challenges of our times and discern how to best support the activism that we are each engaged in.


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Resources:

Letter from Santa Fe Dreamers:

Dear Friends and Supporters,

We know that you have all been reading and watching the absolutely horrific news unfold about the conditions of detention on the border. We know that many of you feel scared, frustrated, angry, and powerless by the way that our government is treating vulnerable people, especially children. We are writing today with information and direction towards action but also to urge you not to feel powerless. We are always capable of making change through our collective power. Of course this requires courage, stamina, and an intelligent, disciplined, and organized theory of change. It will not be easy. We encourage you to turn away from despair and towards this place of collective power knowing that it will test you. We will be with you the whole way. Below you will find some ideas for inspiration.

Love,
Your friends at Santa Fe Dreamers Project

  • Educate yourself: Here at SFDP this is always our number one piece of advice. The more you know, the fiercer you will be as an advocate and a voter. There are plenty of explosive news articles to read but here are a few that we have learned from recently: We suggested this piece in our last newsletter but if you haven't had a chance to read it we highly suggest Dara Lind's "The Border is in Crisis. Here's How it Got This Bad". The New Yorker ran an incredibly thought provoking piece written by a historian about "The Unimaginable Reality of American Concentration Camp". Again from the New Yorker, a report from the lawyers who were recently allowed in to inspect a children's facility in Clint, TX, "Inside a Building in Texas where Government is Holding Immigrant Children". Another really important thing to learn about (and something that is not highlighted enough in the news) is the Migrant Protection Protocol or MPP program that has currently turned thousands of thousands of migrants around at the US border to wait in Mexico. This is an excruciatingly dangerous policy that is threatening the lives of migrant families day after day.

  • Understand that this cruelty is not new and these tactics did not just begin. In fact, the Obama administration reignited the practice of family detention in 2014. One of the reasons this summer feels so out of control is because the sheer numbers of people asking for asylum are so high. The Obama and now Trump administrations' policies attempted to deter migrants through punishment, suffering, and torture but their success was dependent on the flow of migrants actually stopping. Now that the numbers are so high, these cruel and failed policies have now turned deadly.

  • Engage with politicians: Here is the thing: The Trump administration cannot be swayed with moral arguments or blame. They are doing this on purpose. One way of thinking about engaging with politicians is to remember that Congress has the power of the purse and is funding this enforcement regime. One theory is that we can defund ICE and CBP and redirect that money to agencies or NGO's that are capable of handling a humanitarian crisis of this scope and are not killing people for political motive. This means we have to pressure progressives and democrats and republicans with a conscience to do more than just signal compassion for immigrants. We need these leaders to articulate how they are going to disempower the Trump Administration and make sure it is part of the work they are doing to secure our votes. We can and must demand courageous leadership from our Senators and Representatives and that their actions reflect our deep desire to end the state sponsored violence on the border.

  • How to respond to the threat of ICE raids: Trump's twitter threat for a massive enforcement action last week was credible and achieved its purpose of scaring the shit out of immigrant and refugee communities all over the US. While it has been "delayed", now is a wise time for communities to get organized. The American Friends Service Committee published this resource about how allies can support their immigrant and refugee neighbors during this time. Here is the ACLU's guide to knowing your rights during ICE encounters and we suggest exploring it. Santa Fe Dreamers will be holding walk in hours for people to help families with power of attorney and family prep plans every Friday in Santa Fe from 1-5 at our 1213 Mercantile Rd office. If you work with concerned families let them know about this resource.

  • Actions happening in NM: There is a lot of talk about national protests to close concentration camps on July 12. One of the organizations that is involved with planning this is called Lights of Liberty. Their Facebook page is a source of info-- although we don't have much info yet about that organization. We are talking with folks in NM about planning more locally focused actions and as soon as we have more details we will announce it. Choose your social media of choice or keep reading our emails to stay in touch.

  • Where to donate: Of course here at Santa Fe Dreamers Project we use your donations to protect vulnerable immigrants and refugees in a million different ways every day. Specifically, we need more help on the border. We just rented a much larger office space in El Paso for our expanding team there and are raising funds for a legal assistant so we can have greater impact in the borderlands. You can donate to that effort here. Write border in the note! We are grateful for any help you can give putting this donation link out there into the universe. For those of you wondering where else it might be useful to donate here is our list of several grassroots legal organizations that we know are having impact (we also know we have left many out!)

  • And finally an offer of poetry from our director, Allegra, who likes to contemplate what this particular poem is trying to teach us when thinking about the horrors we witness:

Now you know the worst
By Wendell Berry

To my granddaughters who visited the Holocaust Museum on the day of the burial of Yitzhak Rabin

Now you know the worst
we humans have to know
about ourselves, and I am sorry,

for I know that you will be afraid.
To those of our bodies given
without pity to be burned, I know

there is no answer
but loving one another,
even our enemies, and this is hard.

But remember:
when a man of war becomes a man of peace,
he gives a light, divine

though it is also human.
When a man of peace is killed
by a man of war, he gives a light.

You do not have to walk in darkness.
If you will have the courage for love,
you may walk in light. It will be

the light of those who have suffered
for peace. It will be
your light.


Regarding Investor Activism:

Here are some groups focused on Social, Environmental and Governance-conscious investing:


And finally, for your research about political donations, money flow and lobbying influence:


How to join the conversation:

We will be using Zoom video conferencing, which is very easy to access by computer or regular telephone. If you choose to use your tablet or smartphone, be sure to download the Zoom app ahead of time. We will be starting each meeting on time so please connect 15 minutes before the call so that the host can help with any technical difficulties or questions you may have. Once the call starts the host will be not be able to help with connection issues. Once you are connected via Zoom you are welcome mute your microphone and turn off your video until just before the meeting starts, or you may enjoy chatting with others in the meeting while you wait.

Instructions and access to Zoom conferencing


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WHEN
August 15, 2019 at 9am - 10:30am
WHERE
Online by ZOOM