As a mom, I ache inside every time I read another headline about the children of undocumented immigrants — many of them infants and toddlers — being torn from their asylum-seeking parents at the U.S. border. My daughter can't even listen to the news without getting emotional. And we're not the only ones. Thousands of families will be joining one of the Families Belong Together rallies taking place in cities across America and Europe on June 30. If your family plans to attend one, here are some Families Belong Together sign ideas for kids, because they're not too young to make their voices heard.
The stories are beyond horrifying: Families endure grueling and treacherous journeys north from Central America, only to be detained at the southern U.S. border by ICE agents. Following the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy, undocumented immigrants are prosecuted, while their children are taken to foster homes or shelters. The huge processing center in McAllen, Texas, has become famous for its chain-link compartments that look more like a dog kennel than a safe haven for youngsters.
The Washington Post recently reported that more than 2,000 undocumented children are currently being held in institutions across the country, and many of their parents don't know where they are.
Here are 11 sign ideas for you and your children to carry on June 30 as you march in support of reuniting immigrant parents with their families.
1. Families Belong Together
Your family can present a united front with this short and to-the-point message. It's also available as a pin and T-shirt from Families Belong Together, a joint collaboration from the Women's March, the National Domestic Workers Alliance, and other organizations.
2. I Really Do Care, Do U?
First Lady Melania Trump provoked outrage when she visited a facility full of immigrant children while wearing a coat saying, "I Really Don't Care, Do U?" On the 30th, you can carry a sign that shows your compassionate response.
3. Free the Children
Innocent children are being treated like prisoners through no fault of their own. This message is a rallying cry to end the madness.
4. End Child Internment Camps
Some protesters have pointed out some uncomfortable similarities between these warehouse-like detention centers and the facilities used at other points in history: for instance, the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, or the horrific camps of Nazi Germany. This one's for you, if you want to declare, "Never again!"
5. Las Familias Merecen Estar Unidas
In any language (in this case, Spanish), the hope is the same: Families should be together. A good choice for bilingual marchers.
6. We Need Our Parents
The therapists and social workers who are working with immigrant children report that some are so traumatized by the separation that they refuse to play, eat, or even talk. Even when (or if) they are reunited with their families, the recovery process may take months or even years. It doesn't take a professional degree to realize that yes, children need their parents.
7. What Would Mister Rogers Say?
America's beloved children's TV host taught gentle lessons in kindness, love, and acceptance. If you have fond memories of watching cardigan-clad Fred Rogers (or if your own kids adore Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood), this sign is the perfect fit.
8. Children Belong With Their Families, Not in Cages
If your child has been asking "Why?" to the photos of immigrant children and teens sleeping on mats in fenced-in compartments, this is the sign you can carry to the march (especially if you don't understand the "why" yourself).
9. Voldemort Called... He Said to Take It Down a Notch.
Can your kids quote chapter and verse of the Harry Potter series? Then they might appreciate this edgy sign, which suggests that even He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named would draw the line at dividing immigrant families.
10. No Body Is Illegal
A natural choice for parents who are teaching their children that people are people, not "illegals" or animals.
11. Make America Kind Again
This is not only a popular Facebook group, it's also a good motto to live by - for both our generation and the next one.