Ava DuVernay inspired family separation protest on Twitter with one picture


The Wrinkle in Time director used good old-fashioned empathy to speak out against the separation of immigrant families at the border.

Film director Ava DuVernay is showing the world (or a few certain people with political power in the U.S.) that our empathy for other human lives has to stretch far beyond borders and laws.

On Tuesday, DuVernay tweeted a picture of herself as a child with a clear message to send. The tweet was a simple, extremely effective way of protesting the Trump Administration’s policy of separating immigrant families attempting to enter the United States.

In her post, she imagined her young self seeking safety in a new country and then being taken from her mother, urging everyone that “we cannot allow this.”

In turn, DuVernay’s post prompted others on Twitter to share their story and imagine themselves as young, vulnerable children who could have been in the same position as the children today.

The separation of immigrant families is what everyone has been talking about for the past week, yet the fact that our country takes children away from their parents with no concrete plan to reunite them still doesn’t seem quite real.

But it is, or at least was until earlier today, when Trump finally caved into public and political pressure and signed an executive order that would keep families together at the border. Instead of indefinitely detaining parents and children separately, we’ll be indefinitely detaining them together.

Although it appears families will no longer be separated, DuVernay’s message and the Twitter protest it inspired are still vital. Over 2,300 children — who did nothing wrong — were still forcibly taken from their parents, who were only seeking a better life for themselves and their families, between May 5 and June 9. It’s unclear how or if Trump and his administration will reunite them.

So it’s important that we truly absorb DuVernay’s message and place ourselves, or younger versions of ourselves, in immigrant families’ shoes. We have to practice what we preach to kindergarteners: treat others as you would like to be treated. We need to tap into our empathy, and more importantly, we need to use it.

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Using a picture of herself to highlight how immoral it is to take kids from their parents (in order to deter other immigrants from coming into the country) was a masterstroke on DuVernay’s part. We have all been children and we all have loved ones we would be heartbroken to be cut off from.

Extending others the same courtesy we extend to our younger selves and our loved ones — and fighting for them — is the only way we’ll stop the rest of Trump’s racist, anti-immigrant policies. It’s the only way we’ll ever begin to make reparations for the incredible harm those tactics have already done to thousands of families.

There’s a long way to go, so the least we can do is follow DuVernay’s lead and tweet a childhood picture. Oh, and for the record: