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Stop Separating Families at the Border. Now.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Over the past several days I have become increasingly horrified as sunlight has shone on the Trump administration’s decision to strictly enforce a cold and heartless “zero tolerance” policy—a policy of its own making—to rip apart thousands of children and their parents—including hundreds who are under four years old—as they try to enter our country to seek a better life, fleeing violence, oppression and much worse. We are far away from knowing all of the details about how these children are being treated, but just what we know so far is almost too much to bear.

I am speaking out against our federal government’s cruel and inhumane actions because, well, what is the alternative? Staying silent is simply not an option. This is not a political issue, as demonstrated by the growing calls to end this despicable policy by people from across the political spectrum. This is not about enforcing laws, which needs to be done. This is about treating people humanely.

This is a philanthropic issue. Philanthropy is about loving and caring for all people, particularly those who are less fortunate than ourselves. It’s about treating others as we would want to be treated. United Philanthropy Forum envisions a courageous philanthropic sector that catalyzes a just and equitable society where all can participate and prosper. What is happening right now on the border is not just and not equitable.

If you are a funder or an individual donor and you want to help, there are many options. Slate is maintaining a growing list of organizations providing legal and humanitarian assistance that need financial support (conduct appropriate due diligence before donating of course). Funders might consider creating a rapid response fund to address what seems to be a rapidly growing and shifting crisis in our country, to be prepared to respond as more information comes to light. I also encourage funders who care about this situation to participate in a June 27 webinar being presented by United Philanthropy Forum member Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR), where GCIR will share its recommendations on how philanthropy can respond.

I am not unaware that I am writing this post on Juneteenth, which is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. As we use this day to reflect on our country’s sad history of treating fellow human beings as less than full human beings, we must fight against what’s happening right now in our country: we are treating fellow human beings in a way that nobody deserves to be treated.

I wish with all my heart that the children and families who are being physically and emotionally harmed by this policy will get the help and care they need and deserve. I urge others to speak out and add your voice to the growing calls to end this appalling government policy. Now.

David Biemesderfer
President & CEO, United Philanthropy Forum
Follow me @dbiemesderfer

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