Our Revolution Illinois board member speaks out against family separations

June 26, 2018

In an article by the Chicago Tribune, Our Revolution Illinois board member, Ahlam Jbara, powerfully speaks to both the political and personal importance of coming together to create a society in which all people are allowed their full humanity, dignity, and respect:

"For Ahlam Jbara, Saturday’s Families Belong Together march is both political and personal.

Jbara was born in the Palestinian territories and immigrated with her family to Chicago in 1974, when she was 2 months old.

'We got our green cards at the airport,” Jbara told me Tuesday. “That was the only picture I had of me as a baby.'

She grew up in Wicker Park and attended Wells Community Academy High School and the University of Illinois at Chicago. She married a man who immigrated to the United States from Syria, and they had two daughters together.

Shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, she said, her husband was pulled over in Chicago. He was arrested for not having a valid driver’s license and detained for eight months before being deported back to Syria.

'My daughters, they were 1 ½ and 2 ½,” Jbara said. “They’re 17 and 18 now. They haven’t seen him since.'

She knows and lives the pain of family separations. She knows and lives the promise of America.

'The United States is a country of refuge,' Jbara said. 'It’s the land of opportunity for those of us who can’t stay in our home country because of extreme poverty, because of war, because of extreme violence.' . . .

'Our message is we need to end family separations,' Jbara said. 'We need to end family detentions. People think this is a Latino issue, but it’s not. Our broken immigration system has affected Latinos, Asians, Arabs, Africans, Muslims.'"