During this darkest time of the year, a story goes around about a homeless family looking for a place to stay. The mom is pregnant. She is with her husband, but the baby is not his. Innkeepers shun them. Guided by a bright star in the night, they end up in a barn. Indignity of indignities, the mom births her baby on the floor in the hay. What child is this?
In Syria, the West Bank and Gaza, Afghanistan and elsewhere, homeless families search for safe places to stay. Mothers and children, fathers and grandfathers. Many shun them. They have been savaged by war, repeatedly displaced; communities destroyed, tagged with terrible names like terrorist. If children there see a bright light in the night sky, they must be very careful. The light could explode upon them, ripping them from their families and raining down death and destruction. What children are these?
Along US borders, homeless children gather. They are searching for a safe place to stay. We have shunned them. Many unspeakable things have happened to their families. They have been ripped from their families by drug gangs’ violence and terror and have been tagged in this country with inconceivable names for a human: illegal, alien. If they see a bright light in the night, they must be very careful. The light might be an ICE patrol discovering their perilous hiding places. They’ll be forced to return to the danger from which they’ve fled. What children are these?
In US cities, young black and brown men, even those with homes, are searching for a safe place to live. When we shun them, when we label them as thugs, thieves, demons, we make them vulnerable. Their mothers live in fear that this will be the night that they receive a call. Perhaps he went out to get candy, or maybe he was 12 and was playing with a toy on the street. Could he have been a young father already on the ground pleading for his life? He saw a bright light and quick as a flash he was gone. What children are these?
Protest is this holiday season’s good tidings, a light against the darkness; an affirmation that black lives matter. The lives of children in the Middle East and undocumented children on US borders link inextricably to black lives. All are threatened by the violence of a state that purports to answer to its people. Here’s to us proclaiming that all of these are our children and all of their lives matter. . . the beginning of a new season of hope and joy.
Post by Dayna Cunningham. Photo Credit: Twitter/@RaedFares4.