“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
12 Years of Bondage
I am currently reading a book, which is quite old, “Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup. It’s a heart shattering first person account of chattel slavery in our country. The story is told by a freeman of color that spent twelve years of his life in bondage in Louisiana, a state known as being a death sentence for any slave sent there. However, he proved his freedom and set free. During his time as a slave he eloquently and in vivid detail recounts the stories of many the enslaved he encountered during his time in the system of slavery. However, one story in particular stands out to me especially in our current political climate concerning immigration.
The Narrative of Eliza’s Children
It’s the story of Eliza a female slave. She arrived in New Orleans with her two children in tow. She was interned at the slave pen of a cruel man, whose name is not important. She watched helplessly as her children were stripped from her. Her pain was palatable and pushed itself from the pages into my heart. What happened at the border of our country is plainly inhuman and reminds me of what happened to that poor slave.
No Comparison to Immigration but………
I am by no means comparing American chattel slavery to immigration. These kids are not property, as slaves were ,but the weeping and wailing of kids and parents as they are separated carries the same emotional impact. Furthermore, these children will see their parents again. Once sold, the offspring of slaves never saw their parents again in life. However, the emotional damage of removing kids from their immigrants parents can possibly last for years.
Our National Hypocrisy
As a nation, we have built a foundation of freedom and equality. However, over the centuries we have not lived up to our lofty goals. Our constitution was written by men that held other human beings in bondage. A free man named Solomon Northup was waked away in chains in front of the very capital sworn to protect all human beings, but in the south he was not human just property. Now we are taking children that in some cases we can’t even find to reunite with a parent. A broken immigration system or not what we are doing as a nation makes us look cruel on the world stage.
I ask you what would you do in the face of desperation.What if you feared for your life in your native country? What if opportunities were few to none to find gainful employment to feed your family? I am certain you would travel north with children in tow to attempt entry into the land of the free. As I leave you, please think about that poor slave in 1841 watching her children sold away into bondage. The circumstances are different for the immigrant, but the feelings are just the same; loneliness and hopelessness.