Sunday Reflections: Stand Up for Children
Several weeks ago, I was lucky enough to go to BEA (Book Expo America). Of one of the many highlights of this event for me was meeting George Takei, who was there promoting his new graphic novel They Called Us Enemy. You see, I am a long time Stark Trek everything fan and this was it, I finally finally got to meet someone from the universe that carried me through my teens and early twenties.
As I stood in line, I was not prepared for what would happen. You see, George Takei took my hand as I put it out to shake his and he held onto it with his two hands and looked me straight in the eye and told me what it was like for him as a young child to be put in Japanese internment camps here in America. He told me how his family lost everything and they were plunged into poverty that would take them years to recover from. And then he told me that he could not be silent because it was happening again.
Make no mistake, it is happening again.
I expected that I would cry while meeting George Takei, but I was entirely wrong about the reason that I would cry. You see, here I stood and stared into the eyes of a hero of mine and I could see that even though he had lived through what had happened to him and his family that he was still truly haunted by it. As a person who talks frequently and often about the long term effects of childhood trauma, I was truly staring into those effects in the eyes of a by all accounts completely successful adult.
Then this week the news became far worse then I could ever imagine. Stories poured out about what the conditions were like for children right here in the United States of America in border camps. People began arguing not about what those conditions were, but about whether or not we should be calling them concentration camps. And then members of our government stood up and argued that we shouldn’t be supplying these children with things like toothbrushes and soap.
I am horrified about what is happening. I went to church this morning and sat in my Sunday School class and this topic didn’t even come up. The silence regarding this issue was loud and vulgar.
Make no mistake, these children are being treated horrifically and they are experiencing trauma, they will feel the effects of this trauma their entire lives. It will reverberate throughout their lives and ours and all of human history. As we speak we are dehumanizing and abusing and traumatizing children.
Please do not be silent. You can call (202) 224-3121 and ask your representative to stop this horrific abuse of children. I share with you today the words of George Takei:
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About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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