South Orange mom and lactation expert Allyson Murphy is spearheading a very unique protest on Friday, June 22, targeting President Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy that led to the separation of more than 2,300 children from parents since May 2. The families were either entering the U.S. illegally or were seeking asylum at the U.S. border with Mexico.
“As parents we refuse sit by while the government removes children from their parents at the U.S. border,” wrote Murphy, an IBCLC (international board certified lactation consultant) with Laid Back Lactation. “We are especially heartbroken and enraged by stories of breastfeeding children being taken from their mothers’ embrace. We’ll peacefully assemble and latch on in front of the Federal building which houses Immigration Services and ICE offices.”
“In an aim to be inclusive, we welcome EVERYONE to join us. Breastfeeders, chestfeeders, exclusive pumpers, formula feeders, nursing toddlers, weaned kids, partners, and those who aren’t parents,” Murphy added.
The protest, scheduled for 10 a.m. in Lincoln Park in Newark, still continues despite Trump’s Executive Order, signed Wednesday, aimed at ending the separations by detaining whole families together. “The order does not solve the problem,” explained Colleen Breslin, one of the protest organizers. “Detaining entire families is not a solution, it is a jail sentence for whole families. In other words, it does not fix the humanitarian crisis that Trump created, as it sends families and children to jail indefinitely.”
“It’s still unclear how or when the administration plans to reunite the 2300 children still being held with their parents,” added Murphy.
On Wednesday, Trump signed an “executive order meant to end the separation of families at the border by detaining parents and children together for an indefinite period.” However, The New York Times reports that the order “still faces legal and practical obstacles” and “does nothing to address the plight of the more than 2,300 children who have already been separated from their parents.”
“Personally, as someone who works with new mothers everyday, I was distraught and heartbroken at the idea of babies or toddlers being taken from their breastfeeding mothers’ arms,” said Murphy. “Nursing a baby is an intimate, nurturing relationship that moms put so much time and effort into. To have that disrupted is cruel and heartless. I cannot begin to imagine the feeling of the emotional ache for a baby you can’t hold on top of the physical ache when your body needs to nurse again and there’s no one there to feed. In many states it’s illegal to take a puppy from its mother before weaning. And yet this is what our government did to people seeking a safer life for their kids.”