Oftentimes, the way to bridge the gap between empathy and sympathy – or go from being moved by injustice to actually doing something about it – is to make numbers and reports more palpable. By putting a face and a name to even one of the approximately 3,000 children who were separated from their families at the border due to Trump administration’s policies or nudging followers to think about how that separation and others like it, impacts the growth and livelihoods of those affected, people are more likely to take notice and ask themselves what role they can play in helping. More often than not, that means donating money or time to a worthy cause. And, sometimes, the way to promote that change is as simple as a hug and a post.
The women behind last year’s #OneVidaAtATimeChallenge, which successfully raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), and Jarina De Marco came together to attempt to do just that. In a note, Tanya Saracho (creator of VIDA) and Gloria Calderon-Kellett, (of One Day at a Time), said “We must come together again, but this time not only to raise funds (which we definitely need to do!), but to use our collective voice and remind the public that these detainees are human and they deserve to be treated with dignity.” The Hug Challenge is their granito de arena. The social media challenge involves posting a picture of you hugging someone or being hugged and encouraging followers to donate or challenge a friend to pass the message forward.
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A little bit about the organization that the #onevidaatatimehugchallenge aims to help: @immfamtogether Immigrant Families Together was founded in June 2018 in response to the inhumane immigration policy separating families at the U.S./Mexico border. We pay bonds for parents in detention and work to reunite them with their children. Additionally, we support over 100 reunited families as they recover from their detention trauma and adjust to life in the U.S. while their asylum cases are adjudicated. NONE of the IFT volunteers are paid. ALL of your funds will go directly to rapid response needs. HOW THEY USE DONATIONS: – Pay bonds to release detained immigrants. – Legal and relocation costs for related detained immigrants. – Acute needs such as medical, food and transportation costs, clothing, blankets, car seats and diapers for families who have been released, and temporary housing stipends for refugees who have just been released from detention and have no family in the U.S. – Supporting their partners on the border with their critical needs. – Operating costs to cover emerging needs and infrastructure. All funds will be withdrawn by GoFundMe.org and then transferred to IFT outside of the platform.
The easily shareable message itself is this: “Currently, immigrant detainees, including young children, are being deprived of the most basic human needs: Running water, clean clothes, adequate food, healthy sleep, and beds. Experts have called the conditions at these detention centers, where children are separated from their parents, ‘worse than jail’ and compared them to ‘torture facilities.’ These young ones are not allowed to receive hugs or any physical contact from caretakers – or even one another. This has the potential to create severe trauma. We all use hugs as a way to comfort, to encourage, to create warmth, and to heal.
“Join the #OneVidaAtaTime HUG CHALLENGE to foster empathy and raise funds for www.immigrantfamiliestogether.com an organization which offers comprehensive support to asylum seekers once they are released: Housing, clothing, and a path to reunite with their loved ones.”
Since its official kickoff on August 30, there’s been a lovely array of Latinx folk responding to the call to action. A few notables thus far include Zoe Saldana, Eva Longoria, Jackie Cruz and most recently Kate del Castillo. The intent here is to use your platform, regardless of size, to help reunite families and shift the all too familiar narrative of hate toward migrants.
Check out a few posts below.