As an organization who has worked for two decades with children, families, adults, and organizations to better understand how we can hone our skills to be peacemakers and problem solvers in our own communities, we have become deeply connected and aware of the violence and systemic oppression our communities have faced, and it is as an organization we encourage people of all ages to be up-standers and problem solvers against violence in all its forms.
We find it important to speak out at this moment in history when faced with the continued patterns of racist systemic violence being perpetrated against families through incarceration, detainment, and the creation and use of government and for-profit run internment facilities. Our country has more people incarcerated than any other in the world, and now our federal government under the current administration is challenging and creating federal rules which will make it possible for ICE to detain children indefinitely and undermine the requirement to receive humane treatment and conditions. We recognize this choice as an inhumane and violent action.
“The Trump administration on Wednesday unveiled a regulation to allow it to indefinitely detain migrant families who illegally cross the border. The rule replaces a decades-old court agreement that mandates a level of care for migrant children and limits how long the government can hold them in custody.” NY Times, Michael D. Shear & Zolan Kanno-Youngs, August 22, 2019
The actions of violence we are watching and experiencing are traumatizing generations of people who are dealing with trauma from historic racism, colonization, as well as the current dangers presented in their home countries. As an organization whose vision and mission is to educate, inspire and empower people to live peacefully; to build a community of peace where respect is primary and justice is real, it is important for us to speak out and encourage all of our community members to engage the power they do have to speak out against injustice, no matter how much authority the gatekeepers we are facing has. We can do it together. There is enough for all of us! Likewise, it is our responsibility to challenge and demand human rights for all from our government. It is in an attempt to be a vocal part and supporter of the national movement to end racist and imperialist/colonialist violence that we submit this letter to our community.
“We are part of an American institution of culture and conscience. Our mission speaks broadly of the commitment to human rights, civil liberties, environmental stewardship and positive peace. In order to nourish these commitments, we seek to deepen our understanding of one another and our common humanity, to learn and teach about the powerful experiences and universal needs of myriad and diverse people. We are firmly against any action that discriminates against or unfairly targets refugees, immigrants, women, native peoples, people of color, Arabs and Muslims, because such actions undermine the integrity of the nation and fail to reflect the moral courage that is owed to its people.” – Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng
The Peace Learning Center Staff