It seems that times of crisis motivate otherwise uninvolved people to become political activists. The forcible separation of children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border has created a time of crisis, and now hundreds of average people are getting involved in a hunger strike in Texas to protest the cruel policies of the Trump administration.
And they are being joined by quite a few celebrities also.
The hunger strike, which began at noon on Saturday, will last 24 days to recognize and remember the nearly 2,400 children who have been separated from their parents and in most cases are still missing and unaccounted for. It is being organized by the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization.
The protesters are staging the hunger strike in front of a symbolic loaf of bread, and they are located just a few blocks from the federal courthouse in McAllen, Texas, which is where most migrants are detained who have been arrested trying to enter the United States over the Texas border with Mexico.
The courthouse in McAllen is also the largest detention center for migrant children separated from their parents so it has become the center of protests against the child separation policy.
“What’s going on today is just wrong,” said Benito Lopez, a hunger strike participant and member of the Brown Berets, a group founded to help protect the rights of migrant farm workers.
The hunger strike will last 24 days to mark the estimated 2,400 children forcibly separated from their parents while crossing the border.
Each strike participants will each fast for 24 hours and then pass off to the next participant. Hundreds of average Americans are expected to participate along with the more famous participants.
Hunger strike participants said that because thousands of kids have been taken from their parents and detained separately, they felt they needed to do more than was being done already. Their goal is to keep the issue in the minds of the American public and in the media so the missing children are not forgotten.
The Trump administration has not yet explained how it plans to reunite those children with their parents, some of whom have already been deported back to their home countries in Central America.
“We will not rest until the very last one of these children is reunited with their families,” said Efrén Olivares of the Texas Civil Rights Project.
Among those participating in the hunger strike:
- 10 members of Congress and one U.S. senator.
- Alec Baldwin
- Martin Sheen
- Alfre Woodard
- CCH Pounder
- Levar Burton
- Kerry Kennedy, who runs the RFK Human Rights center
Kennedy said he has been shocked and dismayed at the treatment of detained migrants who have been charged only with a misdemeanor. While most Americans value community, compassion and tolerance, he said, “Today, we have a president who has a different idea of what it means to be an American.”
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.