Marlowe Evans.

Marlowe Evans.

Being Youth: Does America know it’s Christmastime?

In November alone, 3,321 unaccompanied children were detained.

In 1984, Band-Aid, a group made up of famous musicians, got together in the UK and recorded the song Do They Know it’s Christmas in the hopes of raising funds to help people suffering during a famine in Ethiopia.

While some view the lyrics as slightly problematic, the song raised a significant amount of money and awareness about an important global issue during the holiday season.

While we’re snuggled up, still snacking on leftover turkey in this strange no man’s land between Christmas and New Year’s, let’s ask exactly the same question – do they know it’s Christmastime at all?

Except we’re not asking about Ethiopia.

Now we ask: do they know it’s Christmas at the American border?

READ ALSO: Holiday jobs key for many youth.

You must be tired of hearing about this. I know I certainly am. I would have thought over a year ago that I would be able to stop writing about kids my age and younger who are living in glorified concentration camps on the American border.

I really thought that it would be over by now.

In July of 2018, I wrote an article titled, What Happened America.

In it, I wrote: “The war on immigrant families in America is currently the most pressing threat against young people in the western world.”

RELATED: What happened America?

The holiday season is a time for reflection and giving and kindness. So I can’t sit through another Christmas, wondering about those children at the border.

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 851,508 people were detained at the U.S.-Mexico border; 473,682 were made up of families, and 76,020 of those people were labelled simply “unaccompanied Alien Child.”

Most of those families were separated, sometimes for months at a time before being sent back to Mexico.

According to the Associated Press, there were still over 4,000 children being detained at the border this November, with more arriving all the time.

The border protection data says that in November alone, 3,321 unaccompanied children were detained.

With the cold data out of the way, I’d like to take a moment to outline the kind of conditions these children face in these detention facilities.

Plenty of articles have been put out– about the lack of nutritious food, the lack of medical care. There are plenty of articles and photographs of kids huddled under tinfoil blankets, sitting on concrete floors, begging to be led out and reunited with their parents.

But what you can do?

Talk back.

I’m finished with being polite about politics. The holidays can be stressful when it comes to political issues – nothing’s worse than watching relatives arguing over politics, over the turkey.

However, there’s no argument when it comes to detention camps. There should be no argument that families deserve to be safe and together, especially at Christmastime.

Again, it might seem difficult because all of this is going on south of the border, but the border is only a 45-minute drive from Maple Ridge.

This has been going on for years at this point, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t wrong.

It doesn’t mean that during this season of all seasons, we should be outraged that children and teens are being ripped from their families.

Post online, voice that outrage. Donate to groups like the ACLU, which is campaigning to end family separation at the border.

Avoid companies that support Donald Trump, his administration, and the detention camps themselves.

Let’s remember the last time people were put in detention camps like this, we were at war with the people doing it, and we didn’t use nice, clean-sounding names like “holding facility.”

We called them what they were, and that was concentration camp.

No child deserves to sit in a holding cell during the Christmas season.

Let’s hope that New Year’s sees them free.


 


newsroom@mapleridgenews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Balaji Kumar in front of his backyard observatory in Maple Ridge. (Special to The News)
Maple Ridge man makes astronomy discovery

Balaji Kumar spotted a dwarf nova outburst from his backyard observatory

Jack Emberly is the host of a podcast on CEED Pod. (The News files)
CEED Centre in Maple Ridge launches new podcast

Available on CEED Centre website

The Ridge Meadows Flames are hosting an under-15 development skate this summer. (Facebook)
Ridge Meadows Flames announce under-15 development camp

Junior B club to host eight skates in July

BC Hydro is allowing the water levels on the South Alouette River to be higher this spring, to allow a study of sockeye smolt out-migration. (Special to The News)
Maple Ridge river higher for sockeye smolt study

Sockeye salmon smolt migration in South Alouette studied

Last year T’s, with the help of UPlan, the Youth Planning Table subcommittee, made up of about 20 students from the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows school district, decorated their front window with the names of all the graduates. (The News files)
Parent doesn’t want 2021 grads to be forgotten

Letter from superintendent of Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows School District explains grad guidelines

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Keith MacIntyre - BC Libertarian
Penticton’s Keith MacIntyre new leader of the B.C. Libertarian Party

The Penticton businessman was voted in by members of the party on May 8

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a 'person of interest' in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
Man sought in suspicious Kootenay death found in Lake Country

Philip Toner is a person of interest in the death of Brenda Ware

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)
‘It’s not the police’s responsibility to deal with mental health calls’: Vernon RCMP

RCMP remind public to take care of mental health and well-being, while better solutions are sought

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Thompson Rivers University campus is in Kamloops, B.C. (KTW file photo)
Thompson Rivers the 1st B.C. university to supply free menstrual products

The university will offer the products this September

Fraser Health is using ‘targeted’ vaccination clinics in high-risk areas of the Lower Mainland. (Fraser Health photo)
B.C.’s COVID-19 decrease continues, 515 new cases Tuesday

426 seriously ill people in hospital, up from 415 Monday

The site of Sunfest, Laketown Ranch, will be open for camping this summer. (Citizen file)
Sunfest country music bash won’t be shining on B.C. in 2021

Annual Vancouver Island Festival cancelled due to COVID-19, along with Laketown Shakedown

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation elected chief councillor Moses Martin, who was also Chantel Moore’s grandfather, speaks to media in Port Alberni on Aug. 16, 2020, during a visit from NDP leader Jagmeet Singh following the police shooting of Chantel Moore. (Elena Rardon photo)
Mother of 2 shot by police in critical condition, says B.C. First Nation chief

Community ‘devastated’ by third member of 1,150-person Vancouver Island nation shot in less than a year

Most Read