Earlier in the year, I wrote a blog post about one of my newest students who was saving food that was served in school to bring home to her family. The 4-year-old girl, a recent immigrant from Guatemala, was storing food in her pants pockets instead of eating at school. Here is a link to the blog post: Pockets Filled With Chicken and Other Social Determinants of Health
Yesterday, I was privileged to see this little girl welcome the guests for the end of year celebration as the students move from preschool to kindergarten. The student has blossomed from a quiet little girl who stuffed her pants pockets with food to a vibrant 5-year-old that spoke to the entire audience of several hundred visitors. It was a joyous celebration, filled with a room of families that have struggled to come to America fleeing countries ravaged by violence, poverty, and unstable governments. Many of my parents are undocumented or are anxiously waiting for results of their asylum hearings, so to witness them watching their precious children “graduate” from preschool in a ceremony filled with pomp and circumstance was especially poignant.
And then, I woke up this morning to this Tweet:
The Trump administration argued court Tuesday that the government is not required to give soap or toothbrushes to children apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border and can have them sleep on concrete floors in frigid, overcrowded cells.https://t.co/bgPVgIzCQR pic.twitter.com/M9Vg56dNNA
— Brad Heath (@bradheath) June 20, 2019
In the immortal words of Nelson Mandela, “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” Now, who have we become as a nation? Stand up for children, no matter how they have arrived in our country, they deserve the best of who we are, not the worst. Remember my student, who came here with the weight of the world on her little shoulders, feeling responsible to feed her family by saving food served to her at school. She ended her first year in this country, leading her class in welcoming the guests to the graduation celebration. Soap, toothbrushes and sanitary sleeping conditions are a human right.