As asylum-seeking migrant families continue to be separated and detained at the U.S.-Mexico border, migrant children are being imprisoned in deplorable conditions in what Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other lawmakers have described as “concentration camps.”
Neil Young is launching a new initiative to draw attention to the plight of these children, asking musicians and songwriters to create songs using the their actual words as they describe their horrific experiences behind bars.
“We are reaching out to you as musicians and artists who will embrace their stories with humility, openness, and respect, and find a way within the music community… to amplify their voices and elevate the truth,” Young wrote, accompanying the lyrics to his 1968 hit “I Am A Child”.
“We believe that music is universal and the best manner in which these accounts can be shared and heard throughout the world,” he continued. “We also believe that the songs will keep the accounts and atrocities being perpetrated against these children in the minds of the public and will be a call to action.”
Young’s post also included heartbreaking samples of some of the children describing what their lives have been reduced to behind bars.
“Nobody takes care of us here,” said an 11-year-old boy. “I try to take care of my little brother and sister since no one will take care of them. There are little kids here who have no one to take care of them, not even a big brother or sister. Some kids are only 2 or 3 years old and they have no one to take care of them.”
And this from an 8-year-old from Guatemala: “I want to see my parents. I spoke with my mother once by telephone, but I do not know where she lives or when I will be able to see her. I haven’t spoken to anyone else about how I will get to see her.”
Young’s hope is that the music community will “embrace their stories with humility, openness, and respect, and find a way within the music community … to share their words with the universe in the hope that the truth will ensure that these practices end, so that these children will suffer no more. Please answer this call to amplify their voices and elevate the truth.”
More information on Project Amplify can be found right here.