January 28th, 2017

imaginative girl

All of Our Families

I am so horrified by the news, it's hard to be coherent or articulate.

But here is a family story I grew up on:

When my great-grandfather was a little boy, and his mother was still too weak to get up off the couch after having had a new baby, their house was burned down by Cossacks, and my great-great-grandmother's wedding ring was yanked off her finger and stolen.

...Because they were Jewish.

They were middle-class. They spoke Russian, like their neighbors. They thought nothing like that could happen to them. But they were wrong.

They spent the next 3 years trying to find a way to flee the country. My great-grandfather had to leave his family behind for those three years and be hidden among a family of Christian friends who pretended he was theirs, for his own safety.

Three years later, the family finally managed to reunite and escape the country, taking great risks along the way.
Finally they came to America, where they were safe.

Over and over again, in all of my family stories, from all the different branches and religions, my ancestors came to America and were safe.

President Trump's Executive Order just denied that option to refugees of all ages in desperate need, as well as immigrants from multiple predominantly-Muslim countries.

I'm thinking of all those families, like my own family, seeking safety to live and work and thrive...and being turned away based on an Islamophobic prejudice that is every bit as bitter, as hateful and as dangerous as the anti-Semitism that targeted my family.

...as well as all those green-card and visa holders who happened to be traveling outside the country when the ban was enacted and who may now be turned away when their return flights land in American airports, not allowed back in to join the rest of their families in their new home in America. (Updated: they are already being turned away.)

America is a country of immigrants.

America was founded with the core concept of religious freedom.

My heart is breaking for so many families today.