Build a bridge, not a wall

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A young girl looking directly at the screen

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

I remember hearing this quote that resides on the Statue of Liberty in 1st grade. I remember regarding America and our citizens with awe and wonder at the generosity and gratitude that our country must show if our, arguably, most notable statue embodies these ideals. However, as I've grown older and am learning about not only my country's alarming past, but also its worrisome present, I understand that these words don't have meaning unless our actions support them.

Don't get me wrong, I am grateful to have the opportunity to live in a country that gives me freedoms that many people elsewhere in the world can only envision in their dreams, but lately I have been struck by the growing sentiment to not want to share these freedoms with anyone else, particularly refugees. I can't comprehend that even though people see the struggles migrants face on a daily basis due to circumstances out of their control, we still want to build a wall to keep them from living the lives that we have the opportunity to live. And no, I'm not referencing abundant amounts of wealth, advanced technology, or even the newest pair of shoes, but instead just human dignity. How is a parent expected to feel self-worth when their child is being separated from them indefinitely by people who have more say in the outcome of their life than they do? How is an asylum seeker supposed to "breathe free" when their lungs are being stifled by pepper spray?

The tears welling in my eyes right now and the furrow of my brows are because I need a way to tell refugees that despite their unjust and inhumane treatment on a daily basis that they are not alone. I want them to know that I love and welcome them into my heart just as I do my own family. I wish that I could have one of the children that I see struggling on TV in my arms right now, and just hold them the way I do here at home with my three-year old brother. I am determined to make a change in their lives to bring them closer to the dignity that they deserve. Stay posted...

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