Friday, July 25, 2014
A defining moment for compassion

Imagine a world where children are not safe at home.

Imagine a world where police have no control over violence, gangs rule the streets, and children are sold.

Imagine a world where parents know their child's best chance for survival is to travel north on a most dangerous journey without them.

Imagine your own child crossing the Rio Grande alone on a raft, or in the hands of smugglers, or watching other children murdered or raped.

This is difficult, if even possible, to imagine. Yet this is reality for tens of thousands of children — somebody's child, somebody's brother or sister, somebody's grandchild.

We cannot turn our backs on this situation and act with indifference or neglect.

This is a defining moment. Our behavior now is a reflection of who we are as individuals and as a society. Is it is absurd to think that accepting a thousand children, temporarily, at Camp Edwards will somehow damage our community. I stand with many neighbors who have come forward in a time of need, in the spirit of our nation's history and our social compact.

Immigration reform is necessary on a national level to prevent situations such as this, but now is not the time for that debate. Now is the time to act from the heart in a way that is consistent with our values and our conscience, consistent with the Scriptures that many of us strive to live by.

I join the growing chorus of voices demanding that we act according to our faith, from a place of love and compassion. I support Gov. Patrick's offer to receive these children at Camp Edwards, which is Senate President Therese Murray's strong position as well, and stand ready to help in whatever way possible. I echo the excellent editorial in this newspaper (July 22) and proudly join an inspiring coalition of religious and civic leaders who understand this moment for the humanitarian opportunity it presents.