Seven-year-old Alison Jimena Valencia Madrid was separated from her mother at a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol facility a year ago this June.
Alison’s voice was one of many other children begging to see their parents in a now-infamous audio clip obtained by ProPublica last year.
As children sob for their loved ones, a border patrol agent says:
“Well, we have an orchestra here, right? What we’re missing is a conductor.”
Alison has become the voice that illustrated the cruelty of family separation at the border. Her voice is one of the clearest in the ProPublica recording, as she repeatedly states that she must be put in contact with her aunt.
Due to the media uproar following the release of the audio clip, Alison was able to be reunited with her mother in July of 2018. Alison’s story could be considered as one of the luckier ones.
Trump retreated from the zero-tolerance policy in the wake of the public outrage sparked by the original audio clip. However, in Jan. of 2019, investigators revealed that thousands more children had been separated from their families, defying a previously reported figure of 2,737 children.
Head of the Department for Health and Human Services, Johnathan White told AP News that there are no plans to attempt to reunite these children with their families, as “it would destabilize the permanency of their existing [sponsor] home environment, and could be traumatic to the children.”
In the wake of these horrific reports, organizations such as RAICES and Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) have organized in order to help the humanitarian crisis at hand. KIND is a pro-bono organization that helps represent unaccompanied immigrant and refugee children in their deportation proceedings.
"This abrupt and unilateral action decimates the U.S. international protection system that was created after World War II to ensure that we do not again turn the persecuted away from safety and return them to their deaths." https://t.co/kdUKvSgq3p (2/2)
— KIND (@supportKIND) July 16, 2019
American singer-songwriter and U.N. Peace Ambassador Morely Kamen has produced Borderless Lullabies, a 21-track album of songs and spoken word performances created to raise awareness and support for KIND.
Morely decided to use the universal language of compassion–song–in order to apply a salve on the heavy hearts of those disenchanted by the present-day world around them.
“May this offering be of service and may we realize that we are each other’s only home, protect the babies, respect the cultures, end race hatred and bigotry…”
Borderless Lullabies features the voices of Meryl Strep, Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award winner and current National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Jacqueline Woodson, as well as Maria Popova, a culture critic most known for her viral blog Brain Pickings.
Additional musical guests include accompanying orchestration by Yo-Yo Ma, as well as a rendition of a centuries-old Spanish parlor song “Beautiful Dreamer” sung by the incredible American jazz artist Esperanza Spalding.
Also included is the stripped-down voice of Martha Redbone singing a version of William Blake’s poem “Cradle Song.” Redbone is a soul singer who incorporates elements of her Native American heritage into her work. Her newest album, The Garden of Love–Songs of William Blake, is a series of musical interpretations of Blake’s work.
One-hundred percent of the proceeds from Borderless Lullabies goes towards supporting KIND and their fight to protect unaccompanied minors at the border.
Due to the support from projects such as Borderless Lullabies, as well as partnerships with major law firms, schools, and corporations, KIND is able to help these children at no cost.
The fight for the fair treatment of migrants at the border is ongoing. KIND, as well as RAICES, are two organizations doing fantastic legal representation and protest work.