I started working with a non-profit I'm really amped up about (see what I did there?), and I wanted to share it with you here. Project Amplify is a charity that was started by the Lawyer Moms Foundation. You can read about how awesome they are HERE. They provide much needed legal aide and support for families being separated at the border. Recently, Project Amplify was launched to raise awareness about the awful conditions in these border camps. More specifically, Project Amplify has been using the hashtag #Amplifythechildren to raise awareness about the child migration crisis, its cruelties and ongoing abuse of teenagers, children and even infants. The Lawyer Moms have been reaching out to all kinds of people to spread awareness, and when they decided to contact artists in their social circles, I got involved.
I agreed to host an awareness event. I told all my friends that I was having an art show, which wasn't exactly true, but ehhh sometimes you gotta trick people into activism. Instead of creating artwork, I created large signs. On them I wrote real testimonials from children being abused in border camps right now. You can take a look at them below. Warning! They're really sad!
I also created an Project Amplify Awareness Brochure (click on that, you can use it for YOUR awareness party! Sorry there are two extra pages. I can't figure out how the eff to get rid of 'em without losing my beeeeautiful formatting), and attached 35 more testimonials from kids being detained right now.
I sorted through hundreds and hundreds of haunting testimonials, available HERE if you want to ruin your day. I actually recommend going to the Project Amplify site and reading those, it's harrowing but it's important you grasp the scope of this blatant abuse of children. Just do it on a day where you have a little time and space to process it. It's haunting.
Finally, I went and bought some sidewalk chalk and bagged it up nice and pretty.
When my guests arrived, I walked them though the "exhibit," handed them the brochure, and a bag of chalk. I asked them to write one testimonial from the info pack somewhere public, or more if they had the time. I pledged to hang the signs I made somewhere public, again all in an effort to spread awareness. It is my belief and the belief of Project Amplify that if more people were made aware of how heinous these abuses are, the public would demand that it be put to a stop.
Finally, I stayed up all damn night (because, GIRL, I do not wake up early) and sneaked with a friend out onto 4th street in the wee morning hours. We hung my Project Amplify banners across from a handful of popular shops and restaurants here in Long Beach.
Although they didn't stay up long (we didn't pay to advertise there, oops, sorry) a kind shop owner saved the signs and posted about them on Instagram.
I was happy to hear that people did, indeed, stop to read them. Imagine if we all did this! And all it takes is a little time and a little commitment! It doesn't even have to be big! You could just share this blog with a friend right now.
I encourage you to host a party for Project Amplify. Read the website. Tell a friend. Follow #amplifythechildren on Instagram. Buy some sidewalk chalk from the dollar store and write a child's testimonial on your stoop.
You don't have to paint big signs and hang them up, but by all means if you want to, please do. And email me, email Project Amplify and let us know. In the future, when we look back on the injustices being inflicted on children at the border today, we do not want to say we did nothing.