Kristina Furey

"Look Away"--Lemony Snicket

You have been warned! <--(Just substitute immigrant children for Baudelaire children.)

Living in DC I had a best friend whose Grandparents fled Czechoslovakia (from Nazis) with her mom, who was a baby at the time.  I had a handful of friends that came from other countries, including a friend in Middle School, (if memory serves me right it was a Vietnamese friend) that told me how her family came to America by boat.  I had the pleasure of having so many friends, with such interesting backgrounds and stories, who were either becoming American’s or were studying to become an American.  The DC area is really a delight of cultural diversity. I was fortunate to have grown up in that culture while young and developing my mind and beliefs. It encouraged in me a love of all people and a real interest in communication.  I can't stress enough, what a strength the ability to communicate with many people of many backgrounds has brought me. I believe my struggle to listen to and understand people who spoke different languages and those with thick accents has strengthened my communication skills and understanding of others the most. I have to believe it plays a big part in my songwriting. It also has played a part in my belief in happy resolutions and a win/win philosophy.

Growing up this way, I learned just how lucky I am to have been born here.  I grew up feeling proud of my country and this was enforced by the understanding that people from all over the world would want to live here and call themselves American.  My thought on this, was we needed to help other countries be as awesome as they believed we were, they would have their needs met in their own countries and instead of dreaming the American dream, we could all dream a universal dream, together.  One that is more proactive to all of life. I understood by those stories my friends and their families told, that it is the dehumanizing and disregard of people's needs that lead to discord. Lifting people's spirits with consideration and care is a gift America used to have and I found my place in that world, so of course, I made an effort to help others find their place.  

When I was 4 or 5 years old my parents started to take in foster kids.  When I was 5, Marie came into our lives. I remember very little about her and I'm not sure I ever knew the circumstances in regards to why she was in foster care.  I do know, eventually, she went to live with her Tia who lived in Miami Florida. She was Hispanic but I only really understand that in retrospect. When I was a child, she was just a child like me. I have pictures of us dressed alike which is something I guess parents did with their children in the early 70s.  She was, if only for a moment, my sister but the understanding of our sameness has lasted with me all these years.


One of my other foster siblings used to climb into my bed if she wet her own bed.  I understood she was extremely overwhelmed by sadness and anxiety. I never thought anything of scooting over and giving her space to sleep.  I only wanted her to feel and be okay. I often consoled her and my other foster siblings, when I could, if they needed it. It was emotionally traumatizing and devastating for them to be separated from their loved ones and not know when or if they would see them again or if they were okay.  I made it my job to advocate for them on the playground, in school and in my neighborhood.


I have seen the anger that arises in children when they are separated from those who are most invested in them.  I have seen the fear they carry, the lack of hope and lack of trust. I have seen the light leave their eyes. Thank goodness it only left for a bit.  I think our school shootings we have experienced here in the US, have something to do with the lights behind the eyes going out. I care deeply about this, as I am very aware of what the disregard and dehumanizing does to its victims. A full grown adult might have the reasoning skills to get past such a thing… maybe…  a child has neither the reasoning nor the experience to put these things in perspective. I experienced my own dose of this, when I was 11 and my mother left. I internalized it as I tend to do with things. It was toxic to my system. I ended up with a swollen spleen for about 6 months and a diagnosis of psychosomatic illnesses.  They said I was a healthy child prior to that and rarely ever missing a day of school. My health has been a challenge for me ever since.


Last week, as I heard for the first time about the children that have been separated from their parents and pretty much put in detention camps, I felt ill and tired all over.  I felt a sense of defeat. WTF. I mean seriously WTF? What have we become as a nation? As people? Where is our humanity? At what point did we sell it out? Last week, I believe it was Gayle on the CBS morning show that said, the people inside of the child facility she was at, had been instructed not to hug the children or touch them?  Another person said they were instructed not to make eye contact. WTF? This is so dehumanizing and it's abusive to treat children this way.


When did we make children the whipping boys and girls for the errors of their parents and their countries?  What now? We send them back broken and without hope? That is exactly what the gangs would want. Broken people and those that feel weak are so much easier to push the buttons of and take control of, they couldn't have hoped for better compliant subjects. These children deserve no less than what we would give our own children after they've been traumatized. At the very least they should get immediate psychological counseling and be reunited with their parents ASAP.  PLEASE DO NOT TELL ME, "That's Not How The Story Goes." Let's not look away until these families are reunited and Count Olaf can no longer do harm.


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