2000 Reasons – A Response to Family Separations

By Michael Melara, Executive Director

On December 3, 2017, Bishop Cunningham declared a Year of the Family in the Diocese of Syracuse. “Family life” has a different meaning for each one of us. Growing up in an Italian household, most, if not all, of my family traditions were dictated by Italian culture. Love was expressed in many ways, but mostly through delicious food. Each of us has our own family story that is unique, sensitive, and, at times, filled with tremendous joy and other times heartbreak and pain. But what I believe is common across all humanity is the enduring, unyielding, and tenacious bond that exists between a mom, dad, and their children.

So how do we reconcile the Year of the Family with the appalling images of families being separated at our southern boarders? How do we put ourselves in their shoes and reconcile the unimaginable pain, hurt, and fear we would experience at the sight of our own children being taken away from us? We can’t reconcile this in our minds or our hearts because it is, in a word, WRONG.

There are currently over 2,000 children separated from their parents and many are living in shelters. The conditions in some of these shelters have been described as deplorable and inhumane. The trauma inflicted by being separated from their parents, not knowing what will happen next and being essentially held captive, is the kind of trauma that they will likely relive for the rest of their lives. An awful legacy to an equally awful policy.

Suffering, pain, and injustice remind all of us that we live in an imperfect world. But we can strive to make the world a better place. We can promote justice and recognize the ties that bind all of us together in our human condition… like loving our children. We can do more. We can be better. We have 2,000 reasons to do so.

What Can You Do to Help? 

Catholic Charities USA, our national branch, has suggestions for things you can do right now to help end this policy and support those impacted by it. 

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