“Through education we are teaching to stand against hate wherever we see it,” says Dr. Eve Krief, pediatrician and activist, of her organization called Long Island Inclusive Communities Against Hate, or LIICAH.
Although always involved in advocacy, Krief says what she witnessed during the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., was what pushed her to form a centralized organization to combat hate. “After Charlottesville, I was in shock. Seeing men carrying torches screaming ‘Jews will not replace us’ and the lack of outrage against it was very upsetting..The sight of white supremacists marching through an American city troubled me and taught me it could happen anywhere, and we need to be prepared for it.”
Krief says that the object of most of the hate, and the fuel for LIICAH’s recent rallies, has been immigrants, in light of the Trump administration’s child separation policy. “As a pediatrician, I could not be silent on this issue. Parents who are escaping danger in their own country and seeking safety for their children are now being criminalized. Up until the zero-tolerance policy by Trump, they were able to seek asylum, and most had it granted because they could prove they were escaping dangerous situations.”
Although the president has signed an executive order to suspend all new child separations, Krief warns people to not be fooled into thinking that all children have been reunited. “Many mistakenly believe the problem has been solved. The court only reunified some of them, many parents have been deported, and it can be difficult if not impossible to reunite the parents at this point and that’s just a crime in my eyes.”
This is precisely why LIICAH is planning a rally in protest of this issue on July 28 at 1-2:30 pm on Route 110 and Jericho Turnpike in Huntington Station. “The news cycle flies so quickly. We are having this rally because we don’t want this issue to get lost. This will be known as one of the darkest hours in our nation’s history.”
The event will be sponsored jointly by LIICAH , Together We Will Long Island and Families Belong Together (FamiliesBelong.org)
According to their Facebook page, Families Belong Together opposes the cruel, inhumane and unjustified separation of children from their parents along the U.S. border with Mexico and at other ports of entry into the U.S. They protest the conditions in which these children are kept. They protest the irreversible trauma that has already been perpetrated on these children and their parents for the crime of seeking a better life.
Currently, one of its major initiatives is a petition asking for a congressionally mandated nationwide task force to reunite these children. . “There needs to be better oversight. Right now, the situation is chaotic,” says Krief. “It’s become clear that this administration never had a plan in place to reunite these families and that is disgraceful.”
Last month, LIICAH hosted a rally in protest of the same issue which about 1,000 people attended. Some attendees wore yellow wristbands similar to those given to separated parents. “Everyone was like-minded. This is an issue that tugs on America’s heartstrings,” says Krief.
Other planned LIICAH endeavors include encouraging the formation of an anti-bias task force in the Town of Huntington, and the establishment of religious faith leader and religious educator committees . These committees work together to help bring our diverse community together. One initiative in the works is a community art project composed of pictures depicting different faiths and common ideals to signify that we’re all ‘woven together.’ Also being planned are interfaith youth dinners and pen pal programs where children can learn about each other’s religions. “We want to establish relationships within our diverse cultures . Should we see part of our community attacked, we can all stand together in unity.” says Krief.
Those interested in joining LIICAH can reach out to Krief at [email protected] or through their Facebook group.
This story was updated at 11:27 a.m.