Children’s magazine Highlights pleads for “human decency” amid reports of conditions for detained children
First, it was a knitting website. Then, employees at Wayfair. Now, a third unlikely source is speaking out this week against actions taken by the Trump administration — particularly, their family separation policy and cruel treatment of detained children at the southern border. Highlights for Children, a magazine most of us probably grew up devouring whenever it arrived in the mail, has made a passionate statement denouncing the conditions migrant kids are being housed in, and a plea against families being separated in the first place.
The publication’s CEO, Kent Johnson, writes, “As a company that helps children become their best selves — curious, creative, caring, and confident — we want kids to understand the importance of having moral courage. Moral courage means standing up for what we believe is right, honest, and ethical — even when it is hard.”
Kent explains that Highlights’ core belief is that “Children are the world’s most important people” and emphasizes that they hold this belief about “ALL children.”
“With this core belief in our minds and hearts, we denounce the practice of separating immigrant children from their families and urge our government to cease this activity, which is unconscionable and causes irreparable damage to young lives,” he writes.
Kent says this statement isn’t a political one, but a question of “human decency, plain and simple.” He calls it “a plea for recognition that these are not simply the children of strangers for whom others are accountable. This is an appeal to elevate the inalienable right of all children to feel safe and to have the opportunity to become their best selves.”
Anyone else rushing to update their current Highlights subscription? Or start one up entirely? This is, quite literally, everything.
“We invite you — regardless of your political leanings — to join us in speaking out against family separation and to call for more humane treatment of immigrant children currently being held in detention facilities. Write, call, or email your government representatives,” they plead.
As it’s not a daily occurrence that a children’s magazine feels compelled to make a statement begging America to stop torturing toddlers, let’s remember the news cycle as of late. A group of visiting attorneys just reported absolutely heartbreaking details about the conditions for kids being held at a Texas migrant detention facility. They witnessed a sick toddler covered in his own mucus, wearing urine-soaked pants with no diaper, being cared for by a few girls between the ages of 10 and 15. There’s poor sanitation, rare showers, inadequate food and water, and these children are forced to sleep with a foil blanket on a concrete floor with the lights on all night.
This disturbing report comes a year after news broke of border officials separating at least 2,800 children from their parents. It comes a week after finding out stomach-turning details about how detained kids are being treated by U.S. officials while awaiting our legal system’s decision on their asylum claim. While they’re away from their parents and suffering alone. What the hell even are we anymore?
Well, we’re a country where our government is committing atrocities vile enough to compel a popular children’s magazine full of puzzles and games to beg for mercy. It’s sickening and heartbreaking. That’s what we are.
“Let our children draw strength and inspiration from our collective display of moral courage,” Kent concludes. “They are watching.”
And so is history.
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