“Look at that tree, Ma,” Alex said, pointing to a tree with limbs and branches covered torn pieces of cloth. “What does it mean?” he asked her.
“That, sweetie,” Cindy said, “is known as the ‘Asylum Tree.’ It’s meant to remind us of the struggles of people trying to come to the United States from other countries in order to escape violence and persecution.”
“Why does it have all of those rags tied to it?” Alex wanted to know.
“Well, under federal law, anyone from another country can seek asylum — and therefore entry into the U.S. — by claiming to have fled their countries out of fear of persecution over their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group,” she explained.
“But President Trump is ignoring that law and arresting people from Central America who are seeking asylum,” Cindy said. “ And worse, he’s taking young children away from their mothers and fathers and putting the children into cages.”
“That’s terrible, Ma,” Alex said. “How can our president be so cruel, so heartless?”
“Many of us are asking that same question, Alex,” she agreed. “He is turning our country into a place that many of us don’t recognize anymore. We are embarrassed and ashamed.”
“But the rags,” he said. “I still don’t understand why they are attached to the tree.”
“Each of those pieces of cloth hanging from the tree branches,” she said, “represents a child who has been torn away from their mother or father to remind us of the inhumanity of Donald Trump and those who support him.”
“I hope that the next time we come to see this Asylum Tree, there will be no more rags tied to it,” Alex said.
“I hope so too, sweetie,” Cindy said.
Written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt.