Congresswoman Maxine Waters wants young people to understand why they should get involved in the fight to reunite immigrant families that have been separated by the Trump administration.
As she explained, this is more than just an issue of immigration.
“We cannot stand by and watch children separated from their families and not speak up,” she told the 2018 ESSENCE Festival audience at the Sister Love panel alongside Angela Rye, Mary J. Blige, Queen Latifah, and Remy Ma. “We know what this is all about.”
Waters has been on the receiving end of death threats and criticism after calling for the public to “push back” on the Trump administration's zero tolerance immigration policy that separates families.
Waters told the ESSENCE audience that she sees similarities with what the Trump administration is doing and the history of how Black families were separated during the height of slavery.
“We must be on the forefront of this issue because our families were split up. They were divided," she said. "We were sold off on the auction block. And they took the fathers away from the families and they sent them to a plantation somewhere. And then they took the boys and then started them at a young age because they wanted to keep them for years to come to work the plantations. And they sent the girls and mothers to the big houses to do all the domestic work. They were abused, they were treated very badly...But they endured all of that."
Waters has had to field death threats since her initial call to action, even canceling two public events last month after receiving a “very serious death threat,” according to her office.