SEPARATING CHILDREN FROM THEIR PARENTS IS CRUEL AND IMMORAL

Last week, I wrote an article titled How Business Can Restore Trust In Our Institutions in which I explored eight ugly themes blooming today; racism and xenophobia being one of those eight themes. And it's racism that's driving the Trump administration's cruel and immoral family separation policy. SEPARATING CHILDREN FROM THEIR PARENTS IS CRUEL AND IMMORAL

Earlier this week, my friend Carol Stewart published an article titled I’m In It For … The Reason Why I Do What I Do which I encourage you to read. Carol's article reminded me about my own purpose and values.

My purpose derives from my strong sense of social justice. I cannot abide unfairness, bigotry, bullying, and intimidation. Which is why you’ll often find me speaking out about topics I care passionately about. Even if that means ‘being political.’ Which is why I feel compelled to speak out about this family separation policy

As a CEO, I was advised to stay apolitical. And now as a business consultant and executive coach, I’m also been advised to keep out of politics. But when it comes to racism and xenophobia, I will not be silent. Because, aside from being bad business practice, I believe all forms of discrimination are a matter of objective right and wrong.

Staying silent doesn’t feel like leadership to me. It feels complicit. So I’m not going to sit idly by and say nothing when I witness racism and xenophobia. And I encourage all other leaders to consider the cost of silence.

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Separating children from their parents at the US/ Mexican border is immoral, cruel and heartless. Let’s call this policy what it is: collective punishment, a form of retaliation in which an ethnic group is targeted. Separating children who cross a border – which is a meaningless concept to a child in any event – from their families is not just morally offensive, it’s also a war crime under the Geneva Accord.

Children are being punished for the possibility that their parents have committed a minor crime or no crime at all - in the case of asylum seekers. These people being terrorised are fleeing political or economic conditions that threaten their lives, and are seeking a better life for themselves and their families. Does this sound familiar? If you’re reading this as an American, it’s probably the story of your ancestors. It’s the fundamental American Story. For me, this is the story of my great-grandmother who fled Germany because of religious persecution.

Perhaps Trump’s personal experience leads him to assume that if a parent commits a crime, his children must be criminals too. But that’s not the norm. And it’s certainly not what’s driving this new policy. Let’s call a spade a spade. This is bigotry, xenophobia, racism and now shockingly war crimes perpetrated by Americans on American soil against Latin Americans.

It’s true that, as in many countries, my own included, the United States doesn’t have a sustainable legal framework for immigration - and this needs to be addressed. But this is not an attempt to solve immigration; this is a war on immigrants. Separating children is just the latest development in the war on immigrants Trump and his administration have been waging for the last 18 months and which started with the ‘Travel Ban.’

Its victims are innocent children; like the 6-year-old Guatemalan girl who had memorised her aunty’s telephone number, and whose voice was captured on tape at a child detention centre by a civil rights attorney.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?

  1. Donate to organisations who will help these children and their parents, and fight this barbarism: RAICES, The ACLU, Catholic Charitiesof Houston and Glennon Doyle’s Together Rising flash mob are good places to look. Check out this state-by-state list of immigration organisations and resources and share as widely as possible.
  2. Join one of the 600+ Families Belong Together events planned for Saturday, 30th June in Washington DC, or in a city or town near you. If you’re in the UK, join the event at the U.S. Embassy which I’m co-hosting.
  3. Follow me in the Families Belong Together – UK group where I’m giving regular briefings on Facebook Live.
  4. And finally if you’re in the UK, sign Amnesty International’s global campaign to reunite refugee families.

Thank you so much for reading and for being such a smart and compassionate community. Please share if you have other ideas for how to help.

Question: How do you promote social justice in your business? Do you have a strategy for doing well by doing good in your business? I love reading your feedback so please do take a moment to share in the comments box below. 

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