Today Americans are celebrating freedom. It’s a day when political differences, racial divides, gender identities and other things that too often drive a wedge between us don’t seem to matter.
We remember we have something precious in common: our freedom. It’s hard to improve on the vision set forth in the Declaration of Independence written 243 years ago: “…We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. …”
It’s a picture of a life that resonates not only with Americans but with people around the world. It’s what thousands at our nation’s southern border are seeking. They have left their homes seeking a better, a safer life. But, so far, that’s not what they’ve found as they have tried to enter our country.
Instead, they’ve been detained in what some have described as “concentration camps” — without adequate food and water and without proper sanitation. Families have been separated. Children have died. It’s hard to imagine the overcrowding and the chaotic conditions.
Part of the problem is that the border stations were designed to deal mostly with single men who were coming here to find work and help their families who stayed behind. Today the demographic of those seeking asylum in the United States has changed. It’s families. It’s mothers with children. The border stations are poorly equipped to handle the change.
It’s hard to see read and hear the news reports about the border conditions, especially as they pertain to children, and not be moved to tears. The problem seems so overwhelming that it’s easy to wonder: How can one individual help? What can a small community like Homer do when it’s so far away from the crisis?
Believing that doing something is better than doing nothing, there will be a simple You-Can-Make-A-Difference-At-The-Border fundraiser from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 11, at Grace Ridge Brewing, 3388 B Street, off Ocean Drive.
Here’s how you can help:
• You can buy a taco or drink a beer or both, with some of the proceeds going to help the border crisis.
•You also can learn to make much needed hygiene kits that will be distributed at transitional centers along the southern border or donate money to the hygiene kit project. Later in the summer, there will be an opportunity to volunteer to put those hygiene kits together. We have a modest goal of sending 400 kits from Homer.
• You can donate to Homer resident Lucas Wilcox’s nonprofit organization, Altruist Relief Kitchens, or ARK. Because of extreme weather, Wilcox has shut down his Tijuana, Mexico, operation where ARK volunteers fed refugees. You can learn how best to help ARK with its continuing work feeding those in need.
• You can write to elected leaders encouraging change. This is about helping those at the border because America is better than this. What’s happening is no way to treat people.
• Lastly, the July 11 You-Can-Make-A-Difference-At-The Border fundraiser is an opportunity for you to connect with others who want to help relieve the current crisis. If you have ideas or can help with the event or want to donate but aren’t available July 11, give us a call at 399-7767 (Evans) or 399-5200 (Stead).
We can wring our hands and shed a tear or two, or we can give hands and feet to our prayers and good intentions. Let’s make a difference at the border.
Lori Evans and Sherry Stead are Homer community members. Evans is the former editor and publisher of the Homer News.