Families Belong Together, Taking Action

Becky O'Malley
Friday June 15, 2018 - 05:33:00 PM

By the time we heard about the rallies yesterday sponsored by Families Belong Together it was too late to go to them. Today (Friday, June 15) I did call Anna Tarkov, the press contact whom the Bay City News article listed for the organization . She’s in Chicago, and didn’t know much about how the planned events had turned about, nor about any plans for the future, but she took my phone number and said she’d pass it along to the local organizers.

From their web site and Facebook page I learned that they seem to be organized in the contemporary decentralized internet model pioneered by MoveOn.com. In this group, local volunteers can designate a location for supporters to gather as the spirit moves them. Around here, they were supposed to meet yesterday in Concord, El Cerrito Plaza, San Jose, Watsonville…a diverse collection of places outside the usual SF-Oakland-Berkeley orbit.

Many of us in Berkeley seem to be suffering from outrage fatigue, watching too much Rachel Maddow and learning too often about the travesty du jour. No action was planned here.

But when I heard evil Jeff Sessions smirking about tearing babies from their mothers’ arms, I was more upset than I’d been about anything else in the last round of disgusting behaviors. Somehow lying, cheating and stealing, the hallmarks of the Trump regime, have gotten to be old hat, but tearing up families …let’s just say I cried real tears over Michelle Goldberg’s column in my morning Times detailing what they’re doing to the children they seize at the border. I suspect many of my grandmother peers had the same reaction.

A flunky economist who’s part of the Trump gang said (and of course then walked back) that there would be “a special place in hell” for Justin Trudeau because he mildly reproved Trump for trying to start a war with China.

I don’t think so. In fact , most of the remaining special places in hell are already taken, being saved for that economist and the profane crowd he runs with, and one Jeff Sessions has just moved up to the top of the waiting list. 

I soon did hear from Carolyn Norr , one of the local organizers who’d been at El Cerrito Plaza with a couple of hundred people last night. And she does have a Berkeley family connection, though she now lives in Oakland with two kids. 

Why did you get involved, I asked. 

“It’s a moral atrocity!” she said. Of course, what else could it be? 

How did she hear about this action? From MomsRising, the activist internet-based conglomeration of mothers founded by Joan Blades, also a founder of MoveOn. 

Carolyn promised to send us some pictures along with a few words about what the moms are up to, and to let us know what’s happening with Families Belong Together as it develops. We’ll keep you posted. 

And how about those places in hell? I haven’t done much Bible-reading lately, but I seem to remember something about blasphemers. That would be Jeff Sessions in spades, who blasphemously claimed the authority of the Epistle of Paul (Romans 12) to justify how he’s treating those kids. Obey the law, or else, this verse seems to say. 

There are a couple of things wrong with this interpretation. Don’t blame this policy on God. 

In the first place, I do remember that the Bible says somewhere that the sins of the fathers should not be visited on their children. This cruel policy abuses defenseless kids just to teach their supposedly transgressing parents a lesson, and that’s just plain wrong. Regarding of what you say their parents have done, don’t punish the kids for it. Kids have rights too. 

But let’s give space for the final bible lesson to that good Catholic boy and father Steven Colbert, who delivered a mostly serious sermon on the selected text last night. He pointed out that the very same scripture admonishes the godly to love their neighbors, not arrest them and throw their babies in the slammer.  

We’ve come to a pretty pass when late night comics have a clearer moral compass than the attorney general, haven’t we? Let’s watch what Colbert had to say: 


If you’re as angry about this as Colbert and I am, there are several spontaneous organizations like Families Belong Together which have sprung up to protest this appalling situation, and if they organize more actions you can join them. If you’re not up for direct action at this point in your life, there’s always old faithful ACLU, doing their damndest to get these kids out of the lockup and back with their families—they can always use your financial support.