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But what does standing with immigrants mean? How do we as individuals help? How do we actively stand with immigrants? Why do we share a hashtag but find ourselves stopping there? There is a reason for that.
Empathy can thwart its own goals through exhaustion or preoccupation: one may be too depleted or distracted by one’s own feelings to act on them. It can also offer a dangerous sense of completion: that something has been done because something has been felt. It is tempting to think that feeling someone’s pain is necessarily virtuous in its own right. The peril of empathy isn’t simply that it can make us feel bad, but that it can make us feel good, which can, in turn, encourage us to think of empathy as an end in itself rather than part of a process, a catalyst to ameliorating the pain that has prompted it.
― Leslie Jamison, 'Against Empathy'
Remarkable, willing, impassioned people are seeking for ways to get involved with helping immigrants. Yet, so many are stunted by an overwhelming feeling of powerlessness. We so often undermine ourselves and erroneously deceive ourselves into believing we have no power as an individual. But history refutes that inner dialogue. History instead paints a portrait of justice and ethics with loving paint strokes by self-sacrificing individuals. The memoir of every minority group's current freedom is characterized in this portrait. The Morality of the Individual.
Individuals matter. YOU matter. (Just cause you're you, and because you have the ability to help someone) You can make a difference. It is okay to admit that we do not know where to start, how to help, and that these events are overwhelming. It is okay to admit that. Because it is true. And we have to allow ourselves the time to grieve and to process the horror and helplessness we are feeling. Although all too often we let that fear incapacitate us. That fear has the ability to render powerful and compassionate individuals ostensibly numb.
When people are pushed to the edge of society and it is forcibly demanded of them that they leave their humanity behind and become something "other than" because our political system, no ethics dictate the worth of another human being. We cannot sit by and hope things change as their cries are stifled by corruption and deliberation. People have been reduced to policy and procedure. And yet they are living, feeling, breathing individuals who are seeking refuge. This dehumanization allows for the ravaging of innocents while their pain is rationalized within articles of law.
“Dehumanization isn’t a way of talking. It’s a way of thinking—a way of thinking that, sadly, comes all too easily to us. Dehumanization is a scourge, and has been so for millennia. It acts as a psychological lubricant, dissolving our inhibitions and inflaming our destructive passions. As such, it empowers us to perform acts that would, under other circumstances, be unthinkable.”
― David Livingstone Smith, Less Than Human: Why We Demean, Enslave, and Exterminate Others
Who are we if we do not come to the aid of those suffering?
Have we lost our humanity within our political convictions?
It is, unfortunately, easily forgotten that in great numbers, change has always been made.
Every affirmative reconstruction made to what we know now as our civil liberties is the result of the marginalized fighting for their independence. Look throughout history and you'll recognize individuals who become synonymous with a movement towards human rights. We owe so many freedoms to those who were brave enough to speak up, stand up, and fight. The marginalized never have, and never will easily back-down, and they do not stand alone. We stand with them. Each one of us adding to the total sum of people standing in the way of these atrocious acts against humanity. One person suffering at the border matters, as do you, an individual who can help them. We can do this by reaching our hands across the political divide. Even if we are feeling inadequate for aid. There are countless opportunities for involvement if you're willing to take the time and be trained. You do matter. Because you're you. And because you have the privilege and the freedom to help another person in your lifetime.If you are willing to stand with those who should not ever have to stand alone. Utilize your freedom to fight for another who needs it.
Here is a list of ways that you can get involved, or learn more about how to help and stay informed.
Rapid Response took-kit (for ICE raids)
I hope this information will inspire you to share these resources with others, to protect the rights of those who need it. To stand up for those in need. Humanity needs you, and you can help.