Refugee – Immigrant – Exile – Outcast
When you read these labels, what images come to mind? People crossing a river in the dead of night? Families fleeing a war-torn country with all their belongings in a tattered sack? Someone with no place to rest their head, risking life and limb to live in a foreign land? At least we do not have to worry about these forgotten souls in our cozy community, right?
The refugees I speak of are those in our own backyard, local children in need of a safe, stable and nurturing home. In Tom Green County, there are 255 children in exile, who wander through a system of numerous checks, yet few balances. Uncertainty and the fear of the unknown face them every day. Most move from place to place with a garbage bag filled with their possessions.
We need to declare San Angelo a sanctuary city for besieged families. Our preventative services are failing struggling families, resulting in an explosion of 111 children being raised by their grandparents or other relatives.
These children are fleeing abuse and neglect. They did not ask to be displaced into a resettlement camp, or foster home.
Take a few minutes and look around your home. Do you have extra space for a child? Have you subconsciously built your own wall around your life and comfort? Is there a travel ban forbidding hurting children to have a place at your table? In 100 years, will your personal assets matter?
Consider extending the confines of your life and be a beacon of hope for a broken family. You have an opportunity to be part of something bigger than yourself.