Children in a holding area.

Send us the children, President Biden. Send us the children, Governor Lamont.

But not just the children. Move heaven and earth to find their families. Find mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins. Children are coming here alone. Find someone to ease their loneliness and bring them too.

Tear down the brutal walls of facilities closed for their brutality. Rebuild them as homes. Let there be no suspicion that their footprints were once cells for children. Go all the way down to the foundations if you must. Replace the floors with warm hardwood and lush carpet. Paint the walls the brightest of colors. Provide kitchens where they can nourish themselves. Build playgrounds where they can play. Give them books. Raise a stage where they can perform.

Create hundreds of jobs to do this. Builders, trades folk, hospitality and culinary workers, social workers, therapists, translators, educators, artists and entertainers.

These are children and families, not criminals. So leave out ICE, law enforcement, and corrections.

Leave in rooms for community spaces to share, grieve, heal, and celebrate. Set goals and be ambitious. Challenge the people of Connecticut and Middletown. We will rise.

Before these homes open; bring Dr. Jill, bring Annie. Stay the night yourselves. Listen to the people working the hardest on these problems. Listen to those closest to those suffering the most.

Bring them to to Connecticut. Bring them to Middletown. Our arms and hearts are open.

Then, we won’t have to say “them” or “they” anymore.

Because they will be us.

Kellin Atherton is a PZ Commissioner and millennial father of three from Middletown.

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