NOTE FROM THE ORGANIZER:
As a Latinx Jew, born and raised in Mexico, as an immigrant who has family on both sides of the border, the news of Trump’s detention camps has haunted me for months but the crisis of the border is something that I have been aware of for years. Before moving to the U.S. six years ago I did volunteer humanitarian work at the U.S./Mexico border. I saw firsthand the illness and death created by tragically failed border policies. Part of my family has been forced by war and poverty to cross the border into the United States. Many of my friends came here that way too. Their stories are not different from the stories of survival I heard growing up from my babushka and my Jewish side of the family.
These stories are the foundation of my commitment to human rights and social justice. These stories are the reason why I joined JVP as soon as I moved to the US. They are the same stories that prompted me to join Mijente.
For the past two years I have been working for JVP as an organizer and I’m a proud and active member of Mijente. It is from this juncture that I call on my fellow Latinx Jews to sign on to this Open Letter, and to join Mijente and JVP in the struggle for justice and human dignity from Mexico to Palestine!
Ari Belathar-Kulikovsky JVP-Chicago OrganizerMijente Member
TEXT OF OPEN LETTER BY LATINX JEWS: We know this moment in history, and we will not stay silent
We are Latinx Jews, and we will not be silent as our people are harmed and our histories repeated in the U.S. government’s inhumane detention camps.
We are heartbroken and enraged by the immoral, illegal detention of our community, children and adults alike, by the abhorrent conditions of these camps, and by the Trump administration’s racist disregard for human rights and dignity. We are dismayed at the lack of real action by our elected officials.
As Latinx Jews, we are the proud children and grandchildren of immigrants, migrants and refugees. Many of us lost family in the Holocaust, and have suffered antisemitic attacks. Many of us have undocumented family members, our families sundered and separated by borders. Many of us are ourselves refugees, or migrants, or undocumented.
We are observant Jews, and we are secular, and we are somewhere in between. We are many genders and sexualities and ethnicities – and a range of citizenships and immigration statuses. We see ourselves reflected in struggles for freedom and justice across the world, from Mexico to Palestine. And we are united in our determination to end the atrocities committed against our people, our families, our children, our loved ones.
We are particularly heartbroken to see our children detained in detention camps reminiscent of the stories our parents and grandparents told us of the Nazi concentration camps.
We demand the immediate liberation of all migrants and asylum seekers. We demand the abolition of ICE and to the profiteering of private sector corporations incarcerating entire communities. We demand the decriminalization of migration. We demand that all children in the US, Palestine, Israel and everywhere are granted the right of a joyful and safe childhood.
Childhood should not be treated as a privilege for those born in the “right” social and geopolitical locations. The criminalization of migrant, refugee, Palestinian, Black and Indigenous children must end immidiately. No kids in cages, from the US/Mexico border to Palestine!
At this moment, we stand at the crossroads of our history, and we will not be silent as our tragedies are repeated. Close the camps. Let our people go.