Zero Tolerance Policy
The other morning I woke up to the most beautiful sight, River and Chad peacefully and safely asleep. As I laid there watching them sleep, a flood of deep gratitude came over me. I reflected on the blessings and privileges that I experience every day. Now that’s not to say my life has been smooth sailing, however, I can say that I have never struggled for survival. A person who has grown up in a corrupt or war-torn country, having to worry about where their next meal is coming from or whether they have a safe place to call home has struggled. The type of privilege that comes from being a white middle-class Canadian citizen is what I can relate to. I know race is a sensitive and complex subject. If we bury our heads in the sand and think it doesn’t play a role in one's success of positive outcomes or opportunities then sadly we are fooling ourselves. One thing I have realized from my travels is the importance of diversity in a community and country. People from different backgrounds all have a unique set of skills and alternative ways of problem-solving. When everyone shows up ready to contribute their unique talents, you will see a community thrive. When we grow up in ethnically diverse communities and build relationships with our neighbors we begin to relate and respect one another. As we relate to one another we start to see that we have common values. As a parent, most of us all want the same thing, the ability to provide our families with opportunities for the future, safety, and basic survival needs. As relationships between our neighbors grow so does our capacity for compassion and love. Our compassion and empathy will unite us and allow us to look out for one another.
After reading about the horrific “zero tolerance policy” in the United States, causing the separation of parents from their children when they can’t provide appropriate documentation to enter the United States, at the Mexican border - I felt sick and outraged. I can’t even comprehend the traumatic effects this has and will continue to have on these children and parents. This is a clear human rights violation, which might explain why the US has just announced withdrawing from the UN Human Rights Council. The UN Humans Rights Council’s primary role is to protect people regardless of their race, religion, language, sex, sexual orientation or creed. It was formed after World War II as an attempt to prevent something like the Holocaust from ever happening again. The current political situation in the United States speaks to the post I just published Past vs Present. Have we all forgotten what happens when we don’t learn from our past mistakes and let Political Leaders infringe on a person’s basic human rights? Here are a few examples: the killing fields in Cambodia, the holocausts, slavery, genocide in Rwanda, modern-day sex trafficking, children kidnaped in Uganda by the LRA. The boys are forced to become child soldiers and the girls forced into sex slavery. Although I feel deep gratitude for the safety of my family, it would be naive to think that at some point my human rights could never be threatened. This is a slippery slope when governments try to divide masses of people by building walls or through hate propaganda or fear tactics. It is an effort to dehumanize and isolate a particular group of people. If we allow ourselves to buy into this hate propaganda, it becomes a lot easier to turn a blind eye when little injustices start to happen. It doesn’t take long before those little injustices turn into larger acts of cruelty and a person’s human rights become completely stripped away. If history has taught us anything, it should be that these acts of cruelty initially may target small groups of individuals, quickly gain momentum and target millions of people.