In light of what is going on with immigration currently, we as therapists, human service providers, holder of a safe spaces, need to be sensitive to what the children we service whose parents may be illegal immigrants, might be going through.
This issue affects us either because our clients could be illegal immigrants, their parents could be illegal immigrants, they could have had that status at some point in their lives, or live in a community where many people have that status.
Though we have currently not heard of any situations like this occurring in the Boston area, these children are exposed to the news, and people are talking about the immigration ban and risks of deportation occurring in the country. Children are subjected to the terror or potential fear of having to suddenly drop their lives and move, or worse suddenly loose their parents. Their peers are also victim of these policies, because they are subjected to having to witness or the fear of having to witness a friend going through such a tragedy.
This instability affects everyone's safety and stability.
To provide safe and therapeutic spaces in the current political atmosphere, means to consider how rapidly changing, drastic and erratic policies are impacting our clients. The social and political landscape in which we were working yesterday has profoundly changed, and we need to be moved by these transformations, in order to be able to keep meeting the needs of those who seek out our services and supports. As safe space is a sanctuary space.
We are not exactly sure yet how ARTrelief can support these parents and children other than validating their experience, normalizing their needs and feelings, expecting an increase in symptoms, and offering to continue to be, as we have always been, a sanctuary space for them. To begin, we can be put down as an emergency contact in case something happens and family or friends need to be contacted. We can continue to dedicate ourselves to providing services that are relevant, and grounded in the reality of these rapidly shifting needs. We can continue to practice inclusion in it's highest forms, and manifest in action the words: "we are here for you, all of you".
We are committed to learning more about the situation as it unfolds, as well as gaining understanding about their rights, supports and resources that are forming for specific populations more vulnerable due to these changes.
Certainly immigrants are not the only people being shaken by our current administration. So let's keep our listening and compassion deep and wide, for all who are affected deeply.