A Message from Ratana Stephens

To our dear friends:

Like many of you, we have been moved by the stories that have been pouring in about families being recently separated at the US/Mexico border. We are heartbroken as we try to comprehend what these children and parents are facing.

This situation is close to my heart.  When I was an infant, India was separated into two countries: India and Pakistan. My father was a successful businessman, well respected in the community with many friends in the bustling city of Lahore. The life we enjoyed was abruptly destroyed after the country was separated and violence broke out on both sides of the newly-created border. Thankfully, out of the kindness of a neighbour, we learned a mob was coming that night to burn down our home with my family and me in it. We fled immediately taking a little bit of gold sewn into our clothes by my grandmother but more focused on the truly more precious items – each other.

We safely crossed the border into India and restarted our lives which was difficult and sadly, the emotional trauma of being uprooted and losing everything was not easy. My story is not unique. And I am certain there are team members in both the US and Canada who have similar stories to share. This is why the sanctity of family and recognizing the value and care of immigrants and refugees is so precious to me.

As parents, we will do anything to ensure our children are safe and have a future where they can thrive. At Nature’s Path, regardless of circumstance or individual beliefs, we feel families and children need our care. We know that many of the separated families do not have the means for legal counsel. To help, we are donating $5,000 to RAICES, a non-profit group that provides legal services to immigrants and refugees and we are matching employee contributions up to an additional $5,000. Should you also wish to make a personal contribution please visit https://actionnetwork.org/fundraising/bondfund.

In the words of Nelson Mandela, “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” In addition to the executive order to end family separations signed by the President today, we are hopeful the US Administration will work towards added positive solutions.

Sincerely,

Ratana Stephens and Family

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