By next Father’s Day, let’s make sure we’re not a complicit nation of mass child abusers.
Like so many of you, I’m feeling deeply conflicted this #FathersDay. So grateful for my remarkable blessings, as both a son and a father. And so angry and horrified and helpless by the torture our country is inflicting on immigrant fathers and their kids, not one iota less deserving or human than mine.
Gratitude first. I’m the lucky son of an extraordinary dad, David Lander. I’ve written about my dad before, when he retired from his job two years ago (“A Role Model for Me … and All of Us,” http://bit.ly/2qY2wgK), how he’s the best listener I know, about how he values without judging, the way he mentors people, and what he’s meant to me and to our kids. We knew he’d be very active working for justice in his retirement. And sure enough, just a few weeks ago, I had the joy of being with him in St. Louis, as he received an “Unsung Hero” award from the St. Louis Jewish Light for work he’s doing with Jews United for Justice (http://bit.ly/2JUQa1x). I miss him today … but can’t wait to hike together in Colorado in just a few weeks.
If I’m lucky as a son, I’m twice blessed as a dad. I won’t kvell too much today, but those of you who know me know that Marek Barnette and Rosa Lander are the lights of our lives, loving & funny (ok, sarcastic, even salty) & smart & compassionate. Watching them — and their remarkable young generation — rise up and take leadership at this moment gives me so much hope for the future in these dark times.
Now, about those dark times. So much has already been written about the cruelty, authoritarianism, cynicism, and brutality of Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions’ policy — the policy of our country — of separating immigrant families. This Father’s Day, we, you & I, loving fathers and their loving families, are violating the human rights of fathers, mothers, and children, many of them fleeing violence and seeking asylum, locking them in concentration camps, and causing long-term trauma.
So here are a few steps I’ll be taking this #FathersDay.
CONTRIBUTE. Some great organizations working to organize & help protect immigrant families.
Texas Civil Rights Project: https://texascivilrightsproject.org/
The Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project: https://firrp.org/getinvolved/volunteer/
ELECTIONS. I wish I thought there was enough humanity, buried deep down in a few of the GOP Members of Congress who call themselves fathers, to stop this cruelty. But the evidence is pretty clear there isn’t. So let’s do all we can to vote out every one of them. Here are a couple of the races & causes that I’m supporting:
Liuba Grechen Shirley for Congress: https://www.liubaforcongress.com/ (I’ll be going out to canvass next weekend, to help her win the primary and then beat xenophobe Peter King)
Ady Barkan’s Be A Hero Fund: https://www.beaherofund.com/ (For Father’s Day, let’s honor Baby Carl’s dad, although he’s getting big already. More to come on how we can work with Ady soon).
Randy Bryce: https://www.randybryceforcongress.com/ (I know Paul Ryan is retiring anyway, but I’m so furious with him for his gutless accomodation of Trump’s brutality)
ORGANIZE. One of the leaders of #GetOrganizedBK’s amazing work to help save the Affordable Care Act, Ellen Freudenheim, is organizing a new effort here in Brooklyn to help #EndFamilySeparation. She’ll have a table today at #SeventhHeaven (the 7th Avenue Street Fair). Go sign up, or contact her on Facebook, or contact Asher Novek in my office (firstname.lastname@example.org) to get involved.
Let’s make sure that next #FathersDay we’re not still a complicit nation of mass child abusers. Really doesn’t seem like too much to ask.