Last week, I shared the conversation I had with my 6 and 3 year olds about the separation of parents and children happening at our borders and my son’s suggestion to host a lemonade fundraiser as a way for us to take action as a family.
We spent all week preparing for the lemonade stand by spreading the word to friends, family and neighbors, organizing contributions from folks interested in participating and managing the virtual lemonade stand we created on Facebook to allow friends and family to donate who were not local or not able to attend our event. The response from our community was truly overwhelming! Three friends hosted satellite lemonade stands in their communities, which included Sherman Oaks, California, Madison, Wisconsin and Decatur, Georgia. Another lemonade stand is planned for this Saturday, June 30th in East Cobb, Georgia and another friend is working organize a lemonade stand in mid-July! We’re not done yet.
On Sunday, about 20 families gathered in our front lawn to run the lemonade stand and bake sale, to hold up signs and stage a mini-protest and to simply but powerfully be in community with each other in support of Families Belong Together. I received a pro-tip to accept donations instead of creating a price menu for the lemonade and treats and I think this encouraged folks to be generous. Our event raised $1,100! And the online fundraiser raised $12,000! So all in all, we raised over $13,000 for RAICES. Yahoo!
Over the weekend, I learned there is a national call for families to host lemonade stands: Stand For Kids . Take a scroll through the hashtag #standforkids on twitter and instagram to see pictures of lemonade stands from all over the country in support of Families Belong Together. It is incredible to be instantly connected to a community of people fighting for justice alongside their families.
Some take aways I wanted to share: it was pointed out to me that while our lemonade stand was bumping with music playing and sidewalks blocked, #permitpatty was calling the cops on an 8-year-old black girl selling water in San Francisco. Our privilege as a white, affluent family was on full display in the fact our event ran smoothly and without incident. Yes, we should use our privilege in ways that are useful, but it’s important to note that had we been Black or brown or lived in an over policed community, our ability to host an event like this would have been very different.
I also learned this week that metro-Atlanta is one of the most targeted areas in the country by ICE. My friend and activist, Hillary Holley, lifted up the amazing local organizations who have fought tirelessly for the Georgia immigrant community in a “yes, and” post on Facebook. Yes, we should all be donating to front line organizations like RAICES that support immigrants in border states. But we also need to be investing in the folks right here in Georgia who are championing immigrant justice. Our family made donations to Asian Americans Advancing Justice- Atlanta, GLAHR and Project South. I hope you’ll do the same as you’re able.
Finally, it’s absolutely paramount that my outrage at parents being separated from their children at the border extends to the many devastating ways our government tears families apart in this country. The US has a long history of separating families, including chattel slavery, Native American boarding schools and Japanese interment camps. Mass incarceration, the cash bail system, police brutality and other systems that over police and incarcerate Black and brown citizens in this country must be challenged and abolished.
As I have shared again and again, action breeds hope. I’m so proud of my kids and our community for being part of a beautiful action this week and weekend. I’m proud of the parents who shared with me the conversations they had with their kids about why we were gathering. Our kids, our white kids, can and must be taught about injustice and empowered with ways to join those resisting.
Obviously, the work continues. There is so much to fight back against. The Muslim Travel ban was just upheld in the Supreme Court and an action is planned tonight in Atlanta. Antwon Rose was shot three times in the back by a police officer and killed. The trauma will not stop.
But I remain hopeful because of you. Because of my kids. Because of the tireless organizers who have been doing this work long before 45 and who will be here long after he’s gone. Keep fighting, y’all. Keep striving. I’ll be striving right beside you.