I stood up and participated in a walk-in at Sen. Susan Collins’ Portland office July 3. Many brought their small children and spoke about the anguish over the separation of families at the border. We chanted “Close the camps!” We asked what the senator would do to improve conditions and ensure that money designated for care for children actually went to the children.

Someone referenced a picture on the wall, asking how Sen. Collins can smile and greet a little white girl while doing nothing for children in the border camps. They wondered why the senator doesn’t go there herself.

A young mother with a toddler and infant practically begged for Sen. Collins to take a stand to help these children.

Someone said they are Jewish and that this all amounts to concentration camps. Then someone else said that history promised us “never again.”

Two young people whose families immigrated here, one a young woman wearing a hijab, spoke eloquently about Maine accepting them in their time of need and urged that the senator remember they are Mainers now, too.

It was a good reminder for me that ours is a nation built and continously reinvented by immigrants and founded on the principles of a participatory democracy.

I hope everyone will take a moment to think about this question: What do you stand up for?

Heather Cameron


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