As a movement, NFTY is deeply rooted in the belief that, together, we can create a kehilah kedosha, a holy community, as stated in our 13 principles. We care for one another, we hold ourselves accountable for creating a more just world, and we love with every fiber of our beings.
Currently, families seeking asylum in the United States are being criminally prosecuted under a “zero-tolerance” policy implemented by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The result is the tragic separation of children from their parents and families. According to the Department of Homeland Security, an estimated 2,300 children have been separated in a period of only six weeks between April 2018 and June 2018. An executive order signed early this week by President Trump aims to cease this separation of families, but under the zero-tolerance policy, the Administration would continue criminally prosecuting migrants for unauthorized border crossings, including those legally seeking asylum. Under this executive order, these families seeking asylum, including the children, will still be treated as criminals and detained indefinitely. Additionally, there is still no plan to reunite the more than 2,300 children currently separated from their families.
This is not an issue of party or opinion. We must shatter our barriers of difference. We must act.
NFTY and teen leaders everywhere have shown time and time again what we are capable of; just months ago, NFTY teens helped lead the fight for gun violence prevention on the national stage. When faced with enormous tragedy and insufficient policy, NFTY stands up, comes together, and fights back.
This time, here’s how we fight:
First, read the RAC’s blog on Eight Ways to Take Jewish Action on Family Separation for concrete next steps on this issue. We will never sit idly by in times of injustice, especially when we know that our action and allyship are so deeply needed. As a youth Reform Jewish community, we must show up.
Next, educate yourself on and consider partnering with organizations currently working to correct this injustice. This article from the Texas Tribune has an incredible list to begin with.
Finally, take initiative. This issue is moving quickly and the need for help is urgent. Be the person who stands up and volunteers to coordinate a Families Belong Together March on June 30th in your area; organizate a delegation of teens to take a stand; bring together your friends and family to phone bank and call your representatives. If you’re old enough to, register to vote and make a commitment to show up at the polls for what you believe in. Don’t forget to share with us everything that you’re doing on social media with #NFTY.
We know that teens have the power to organize and make a difference. Now is the time to act.