Thursday, July 10, 2014

Take Action: Book Drive for Unaccompanied Immigrant Children

I’m sure you’ve heard a lot about the crisis with the unaccompanied migrant children whom US immigration officials have detained after they crossed the border.  When I first heard about it, I felt stunned and paralyzed – it’s such a painful situation, and there doesn’t seem to be much that we regular citizens can do.

To make matters worse, politicians (on both sides) are trying to turn this humanitarian crisis into a political situation, and a lot of people seem to be forgetting the real heart of the issue – these children and the violence and poverty that they have fled in Central America.  I understand that we in the US don’t have the facilities to adequately cope with this problem, but surely there’s something we can do.  They are children.

Fortunately, the folks at La Casa Azul Bookstore in East Harlem have joined forces with the Unaccompanied Latin American Minor Project at John Jay College and Safe Passage Project to host a book drive for the young people who have been apprehended by immigration and then transferred to NYC, where they await deportation proceedings.

Although collecting books isn’t going to solve the larger problems of crime and poverty in Central America and immigration reform in the US, this action can help comfort the children and provide them with something to do at the detention center.  They face an uncertain future, and, as many of us know, books can generate hope and solace.

Therefore, please consider donating.  You can find more detailed information here at La Casa Azul’s book drive website and in these articles from the LA Times and NBC News.

If you’d like to donate some books, please also remember that the organizers are asking for books that are in Spanish and also culturally relevant.  In other words, stories should be pertinent to young Central American and Mexican children’s experiences – stories to which they can potentially relate.  Additionally, books should be new or gently used, appropriate for children between the ages of 4 and 13, and high quality literature.

The book drive starts TODAY (July 10th) and runs through August 10th, so let’s get busy!


For another way to help, check out the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Program.

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