Most of us who have learned over the past few days about children being separated from their families at the border have been very fortunate to have never had to escape our country, much less with children in tow.

Most of us have never had to pin a label on our child and send them off to another country in search of a safe life.

Some of us have ancestors who had to do just that, and they came here and were not turned away or separated and caged. Many of them encountered hardships of other kinds, and they survived, had families and we are the result.

However, we do have a brutal history in this country of separating children and families with people who were enslaved, both African-Americans and Native Americans, and with Native Americans right up into the mid-20th century.

We have a history that we need to face, and each of us needs to decide what is more important: to protect the value of humanity or to protect the value of our border. I look back at my ancestors, what they did to get here and to stay here, and I look forward and want no descendant to look with horror at my name.

Lora Whelan

Eastport