Imagine that you’re a child living in a Central American country plagued by violence and poverty, such as Guatemala, El Salvador or Honduras. Imagine that your everyday existence is pervaded by a persistent and overwhelming fear of fierce gangs that roam your community. Your family wants you to have a better life. You want a better life. You might be able to improve your situation through education, but you can’t even feel safe in school, let alone learn, when gang members come into the classrooms and threaten your teachers with guns. You’re no better off outside of class. Dealers on the street attempt to coerce you to use addictive drugs or to work for them. If you don’t, they warn you that they’re going to beat you up.
Sadly, for over 50,000 children who have traveled to the United States since October and crossed the border without documentation, this is not an imaginary scenario—this is reality. These children come to the U.S. seeking refuge, and many of them, with legal assistance, might qualify for asylum. More immediately, many of these children must have their basic needs for somewhere to live and sleep met, as the U.S. Border Patrol struggles to place them in shelters.
To meet the needs of these children, Humanist Crisis Response, a joint program of Foundation Beyond Belief and the American Humanist Association, launched a campaign yesterday that will fundraise for KIND (Kids in Need of Defense) and The Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project. Both organizations are working to assist these children in the legal process of obtaining asylum. For Guatemalan children who do not qualify for refugee status, KIND has a program that can help them reintegrate into life in their home country. Both organizations also are not affiliated with any religious organizations, and both respect the human rights and dignity of these children and will not proselytize to them. KIND and The Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project put humanist ideals into action by improving the lives of children through direct service and assistance.
Be Secular, a socially conscious business that sells secular and humanist-themed merchandise, has already begun raising funds for Humanist Crisis Response’s campaign. If you’d like to join them in putting your humanist values into practice and show the generosity of the humanist community, you can make a donation to the campaign here.
As humanists, we all feel a responsibility to make this life count for the greater good of humanity. After all, it’s the only life that we have. We don’t need God or promises of eternal reward to help those who are hurting. Because of our shared humanity, we can empathize with the suffering of the children on the U.S. border, and we can take action to alleviate that suffering. We can show that we truly are good without a god and support Humanist Crisis Response.