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Slavery at the Boarder

America, America — where is your conscience? As the great great great great great granddaughter of Newland, an African master carpenter kidnapped from Western Africa and brought to the US to build colonial infrastructure, I am the monument to the hate that America was built upon. I am my ancestors — the blood, sweat and tears that have flowed into America, the land that I love. I have carried this weight with me all of my life.

One of the heaviest weights for me is trying to grasp the reality of the babies who were snatched from their mothers’ arms and sold — sold! — never to be seen again. Try as I might, I can never fully imagine what it must have been like as a mother to want to protect your child and have them snatched from your protective clutch by people seeking to do harm, all for the profit of it.

Our current immigration crisis is not the first time children have been snatched from their families. America has a long, long history of taking children, especially black and brown children. The Land of the Free and Home of the Brave took native children away from their families and sent them to relocation cities. America put Japanese American families in internment camps.

America has never had a heart. A heart for compassion, a heart for love, a heart for liberty, a heart for justice.

Racism in America is more than statues. Racism is the roots that those statues are built upon. Racism in America has operated at institutional, intellectual, policy, and personal levels and is deeply ingrained in the fabric of the US medical-social culture. It is this entanglement that allows white America to dodge the accountability that is required to really bring about long-standing change.

What American has done to innocent children was wrong yesterday,

Is wrong today, and it will be wrong tomorrow.

My heart aches at the kidnapping of innocent immigrant children as young as one year-old from the arms of their loving families, the tossing of them into warehouses that are reminiscent of the bough of a slave ship. The bewildering lack of family, familiar food, fresh air, adequate shelter, clothing, basic human compassion and love — as happened to my ancestors — should not be

something that we are discussing in 2020. The mental health impact of this level of abuse on children should raise more than a few eyebrows; it should create outrage.

As the director of the Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition, I am saddened, disgusted and beyond disappointed at the actions of the Federal Government and the inactions of legislators to immediately call on the Commander and Chief to cease and desist with the current border policy. Reconnect these children with their families. Stop this racist policy. Stop destroying families. Stop traumatizing innocent children.

The levee is broken and the water has reached our necks. Save the babies before it is too late to turn back. Our government has got to find its moral compass and stop its cruelty. We have to find our humanity; we have to rethink our mistreatment of poor black and brown children. We as a nation can not be free until we break away from the wickedness that has been woven into our DNA. Without a shadow of a doubt we must realize that the cure for black trauma is justice.

Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition

The mission of the Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition is to address disparities and inequities in education, employment, housing, health and the impact on African American health disparities. by working to empower, educate and advocate for under-served populations.

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