A U.S. policy has kids being taken from parents at the border. Here's what we can do.

The stories of parents and children being forcibly separated at the U.S.-Mexico border are unfathomable.

The Justice Department's "zero tolerance" policy for families attempting to cross the border has led to heartbreaking stories. Advocates and lawyers who have traveled to the border describe scenes one might expect to see in a Holocaust film:

— A mother was told by agents that they needed to take her son "to give him a shower," but then she was denied information about when and where she would see him again.


— A 5-year-old girl who'd never before been separated from her mother screamed and vomited when they took her away, and her mother was refused even a moment to comfort her.

— A mother seeking asylum after escaping a country that offered no legal protection from the beatings and attempted murder from her child's father was mocked by border agents before having her child taken from her arms.

Seriously unfathomable stories.

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

The border policy being used now criminalizes all attempts to cross the border — even for those seeking asylum. And it's simply cruel.

Border crossings have traditionally been treated as civil offenses, with families being detained together while the administrative logistics are figured out. Family separation is new and has been touted as a deterrent. But tearing a child from a parent's arms when neither knows where the other is going crosses a line into inhumane treatment.

In fact, a recent Washington Post article equates such separation with literal torture. The U.N. human rights council has called on the U.S. to "immediately halt" the practice, stating there is "nothing normal about detaining children" and that the policy "runs counter to human rights standards and principles."

Even some who would normally support conservative politics have voiced opposition to Trump's policy. "There's nothing conservative about illegal immigrant parents being ripped from their children," wrote conservative writer Liz Wolfe in the Washington Examiner.

This isn't a partisan issue; it's a human one. As Glennon Doyle said, "We know immigration is complicated. We understand that. But still — not this."

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

Here's what average Americans can do to advocate for these families.

There are two big ways people can help the kids and parents being harmed by this policy:

— Support organizations that provide legal aid and advocacy to migrant families.

The most important thing these families can get is legal representation and advocacy. That doesn't come free, but there are many nonprofit organizations that specialize in this work. Here are a few examples:

ASAP: Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project connects families seeking asylum to community support and emergency legal aid.

The Florence Project for immigrant and refugee rights provides free legal and social services to detained immigrants in Arizona and ensures that people facing removal have access to counsel, understand their rights under the law, and are treated fairly and humanely.

KIND: Kids in Need of Defense ensures that no child appears in immigration court alone without high-quality representation.

Tahirih Justice Center provides a broad range of direct legal services, policy advocacy, and training and education to protect immigrant women and girls fleeing violence.

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

— Call lawmakers and demand an end to this policy.

Many of us might not be used to getting on the horn with our reps. The good news is that the folks at Together Rising have done all the legwork to make it super simple to contact your senators and representatives in Congress — even if you have no idea who they are or how to contact them. Just go to this post and follow the directions. It'll take less than 20 minutes. Easy peasy and so, so important.

It's up to citizens to rise up when government falls to cruelty. When we hear stories of inhumane treatment being done in our country's name, we must act. People's lives — and our collective humanity — depend on it.

Photo courtesy of Justin Sather
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Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

While most 10-year-olds are playing Minecraft, riding bikes, or watching YouTube videos, Justin Sather is intent on saving the planet. And it all started with a frog blanket when he was a baby.

"He carried it everywhere," Justin's mom tells us. "He had frog everything, even a frog-themed birthday party."

In kindergarten, Justin learned that frogs are an indicator species – animals, plants, or microorganisms used to monitor drastic changes in our environment. With nearly one-third of frog species on the verge of extinction due to pollution, pesticides, contaminated water, and habitat destruction, Justin realized that his little amphibian friends had something important to say.

"The frogs are telling us the planet needs our help," says Justin.

While it was his love of frogs that led him to understand how important the species are to our ecosystem, it wasn't until he read the children's book What Do You Do With An Idea by Kobi Yamada that Justin-the-activist was born.

Inspired by the book and with his mother's help, he set out on a mission to raise funds for frog habitats by selling toy frogs in his Los Angeles neighborhood. But it was his frog art which incorporated scientific facts that caught people's attention. Justin's message spread from neighbor to neighbor and through social media; so much so that he was able to raise $2,000 for the non-profit Save The Frogs.

And while many kids might have their 8th birthday party at a laser tag center or a waterslide park, Justin invited his friends to the Ballona wetlands ecological preserve to pick invasive weeds and discuss the harms of plastic pollution.

Justin's determination to save the frogs and help the planet got a massive boost when he met legendary conservationist Dr. Jane Goodall.

Photo courtesy of Justin Sather

At one of her Roots and Shoots youth initiative events, Dr. Goodall was so impressed with Justin's enthusiasm for helping frogs, she challenged the young activist to take it one step further and focus on plastic pollution as well. Justin accepted her challenge and soon after was featured in an issue of Bravery Magazine dedicated to Jane Goodall.

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


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