We know that in Nazi Germany, there were some Germans who hid Jews (like Anne Frank and her family [in the Netherlands]) in their homes to keep them safe from the Gestapo, concentration camps and death. Perhaps we have said to ourselves, “If I’d been in Germany then, I would have taken in a family and protected them.” Or we have shaken our heads sadly at the many other Germans who went about their lives and did nothing to avert the Holocaust.
Today, our president and Congress are imprisoning people desperately trying to cross our border to find a means of existence. Concentration camps is not too strong a term: People forced to drink water out of toilets, not permitted to shower, young children separated from their families, forced to sleep on concrete floors, sexually abused and utterly traumatized. They are fleeing from climate and economic catastrophes induced by North Americans’ policies and lifestyles. And the genocidal abuses continue unabated, with our tacit consent.
Here’s a different idea: What if some [local] hotel owners, Airbnb owners and people with an extra bedroom or two decided to welcome a few families who are at the border to stay for free and raised the funds to transport them here? Restaurant and store owners would be asked to donate food and other necessities. Businesses and individuals would be asked to offer them decently paid work. Soon they would be integrated into the community. All those donating space and services would be honored for their generosity. It could become a movement that would spread to other cities, an example of kindness in the name of our common humanity.
“For I was hungry and you fed me, thirsty and you gave me a drink; I was a stranger and you took me in, naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you took care of me, in prison and you visited me. …I tell you, whatever you did for the least of these, you did for me!” — Matthew 25:35.
— Cathy Holt
Editor’s note: Holt notes that she can be reached at email@example.com.