This was me and my brother soon after we arrived in the US as refugees and I’m probably only a little bit older than the little girl at the border whose photo went viral last week.
Leaving Vietnam was a really difficult decision, one that my parents rarely spoke about. What little I do know is that before we fled Vietnam, my parents had 24 hours to decide.
24 hours to decide whether to flee with their two children or stay behind with my grandmother and the rest of our family?
24 hours to decide whether it was better to stay behind and risk imprisonment and possibly worse, or flee without any certainty of whether they would ever be able to find safe harbor.
We were lucky. We ended up in a refugee camp in Manila, even though at the time we didn’t know how long we would have to stay in the camp or if we’d ever find a permanent home.
The families seeking asylum at our borders have had to make the same painful decisions that my parents did so many years ago. They’re fleeing into the unknown, crossing thousands of miles and several borders because they believed that was their best option.
They’re coming here because the possibility that they might face danger along their journey was better than certain death.
But instead of viewing their plight with care and compassion, this administration has chosen to separate families, put babies and children in jails, and now force toddlers to appear in court alone and unrepresented.
I’m angry, heartbroken and I feel helpless. But l also know that can’t stop me from acting. SEACA was founded to teach youth how to act.
And so I hope all of you will join me in making use of all the democratic tools we have available to us by:
- Participating in a local march on Saturday
- Donating to an immigrant/refugee rights organization on Sunday
- Calling your Congress member or senator on Monday
And voting in November