WILMINGTON — Nearly 500 children are still separated from their families at the US/Mexico border even though a federal judge ordered them reunited back on July, according to a recent Washington Post report. The report continues, “Nearly two-thirds of the 497 minors still in custody – including 22 ‘tender-age’ children, who are younger than 5 – have parents who were deported, mostly in the first weeks of Trump’s ‘zero-tolerance’ policy.”
According to Defense for Children International 2,069 Palestinian children (17 and under) have been killed since 2000. These deaths are the direct result of Israeli military and settler presence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Since 1967 when Israel invaded and occupied Palestine, Israel has continued to take Palestinian land and increasingly limit the movement of Palestinians in their own land.
These travesties must be addressed and we feel that people of faith have a special responsibility.
Thus, we at Wilmington Friends Church are setting aside Sunday, Sept. 30 for a special time to consider both these children on our border and the children of Palestine. At the 10 a.m. Sunday worship hour, Nancy Nye will speak about her decades of work in Palestine as a children’s advocate. Most of her recent work has been in the Gaza Strip where the policies of Israel make life nearly unbearable, especially for children.
At the Sunday School hour (11:15), Mubarak Awad will talk about his work as a peace and justice advocate in Israel and Palestine. His pacifist efforts led him to found the National Youth Advocate Program (NYAP) which operates in several states here in the US. He also founded Nonviolence International which focuses on peace and justice in several countries, but especially Israel and Palestine. These domestic and international efforts came together recently when NYAP employees visited the US/Mexico border.
Awad’s nonviolent efforts against the Israeli occupation of Palestine became so threatening to the Israeli government that even though he was born in Jerusalem, he was forcibly removed and sent to the US. A photo of him being bodily dragged by Israeli police to an airplane headed to the US appeared on the front page of the New York Times. The US government protested to the Israeli government, but did nothing.
At 3 p.m. also at the Friends Church an open forum will be held concerning the nearly 500 children still separated from their parents at the border. Mubarak Awad who led the NYAP delegation to the border will speak as well as Sarah Earley who also visited the border.
Sarah is a native of Wilmington and employee at NYAP. Finally, Judy Leasure of the Cincinnati Friends Meeting will talk about that meeting’s experience as a Solidarity Congregation in relationship with the Sanctuary Movement.