In response to the forced separation of children from their asylum-seeking parents, Holly McGhee and Julie Burstein have created Raising Our Voices Today to share protest images by prominent children’s illustrators, some targeted to adults and some designed for children to carry. The posters are free to download and print.
The posters are by turns fierce and tender, from Edel Rodriguez’ print inspired by Goya’s “Saturn Devouring His Children,” which asks the question “Where are the Children?” to Sujean Rim’s haunting image of a mother embracing her child, seen through a torn wire fence.
Raising Our Voices also launched a new initiative — a series of postcards with images by noted illustrators, designed specifically to send to the children who are still separated from their parents. As of July 3, thousands of children remain in detention alone, separated from their mothers and fathers.
This initiative is in response to Illinois Senator Dick Durbin’s call for #cardsforkids — sending cards to incarcerated children to let them know that the American people are holding them close in their hearts and minds, are fighting for them to be reunited with their parents, and will not forget them.
For the postcards, artists have created beautiful and touching images for children, featuring kids, bears, and butterflies, to send a message of hope to the children who are suffering, to let them know they are loved and not forgotten. A simple message on a postcard allows one person to connect directly to another, and the effect can be powerful.
Everyone is encouraged to download and print the postcards, and write their own sentiments on the back. One postcard, created specifically to let children get involved, has handwritten “Queridos, Estamos pensando en ti. Estamos fajando port us derechos. Te queremos mucho. Mantengase fuerte.” The organizers’ hope is that children (and perhaps even their parents!) will draw pictures on the other side of the postcard to let incarcerated children know “Dear Ones, We are thinking of you. We are fighting for your rights. We love you. Stay strong.”
“I have been so moved by the generosity and the bright and tender images from the artists, and heartened by the eagerness from members of our local community to help us continue the work,” said author and audio producer Julie Burstein, who built the website www.raisingourvoices.today. “There is so much love and hope and so much desire to do something – Raising Our Voices gives us all a conduit to creatively express our dismay at this cruel policy of separating children from their families, and the artwork offers us a chance to work together to make change.”
Pippin Properties creative director Holly McGhee added, “I strongly believe that each of us has a gift to share to make the world a better place, and I believe in resistance through the arts. When Julie asked me to partner with her on this project, I said yes immediately, knowing that the artists in my circles would be grateful to have an outlet for their feelings of powerlessness and outrage. Each time I’ve sent out a call for new art from illustrators in my industry, it comes in fast and gorgeous and loud, infused with hope for better times to come.”
Holly M. McGhee is a New York Times bestselling author and the Founder and President of the New York City based literary agency Pippin Properties, Inc. She believes that everything we do matters to the world.
Holly’s great grandfather stowed away on a ship from France to America in the late 1800s. He was discovered, and told he would be sent back to France. Instead, he jumped overboard in the middle of the night and swam to Ellis Island. Knowing no English, he spoke French to the first person he encountered; and that person answered him in French.
Julie Burstein is a Peabody Award-winning radio producer, TED speaker, and bestselling author who has spent her working life in conversation with highly creative people – interviewing, probing, guiding, and creating live events and public radio programs about them and their work.
Julie’s great grandmother Mollie arrived at Ellis Island in 1903 as an unaccompanied minor. She didn’t know her birthday — on the farm in Poland where she grew up, she was told that she was born “After the red cow had her second calf.” But her best guess was that in 1903 she was 13 years old.