Suffer the Children: The Anti-Concentration Camp Protest in Fort Sill

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.” – Matthew 19:14

I was born into two worlds, the Indigenous and the Latino, mostly left to fend for myself in discovering the hateful blows and punches that both are routinely served in America. Having been mostly dormant for a year, when I was sent information about a protest against the opening of concentration camps (Editor’s note: cue semantics debate in comments) at Fort Sill—one that affected Natives years ago and one that will affect Latino children in a few weeks—I decided to end my forced retirement.

Known famously for imprisoning the Indigenous leader Geronimo and over 400 Apache, including women and children, in the late 1800s, as well as housing numerous Asian-Americans during the infamous internment polices of the 1940s, under Trump’s rule, Fort Sill will now intern a large number of children and teen refugees—separated from their parents, mind you—in the continuing effort against anyone and anything with Latin blood.

The protest against the reopening of these concentration camps was held this past Saturday at Shepler Park in Lawton, Oklahoma. It was organized by Tsuru for Solidarity, a Japanese American organization dedicated to ending the detention and separation of families, along with many elders who had lived in the Japanese internment camps; they were all coming to Fort Sill to have their voices heard. By the time I got there, a couple hundred protestors had already shown up, a number that kept growing throughout the day.

I had heard about this protest from my friends in the American Indian Movement – Indian Territory, so as soon as I arrived, I made sure to pay my respects and tell them thank you for the invitation. AIM Spiritual Leader Michael Topaum gave me a blessing before the speakers began, a wholly necessary bit of holy medicine I’ve needed for quite a while, breathing in deep the burning cedar.

Reporters from across the country and even some from around the globe turned up to tell the story of what was going on here today, but, strangely, no counter-protestors came down to cause trouble; they must have all gone to Pride, I reckoned. With only maybe one or two undercover cops in the crowd, the protest began with prayers and offerings, a calming balm that truly added an aura of peace and hope to the surroundings.

To hear, first-hand, the stories of both the Japanese interment survivors and the families of Natives that suffered in these camps, it truly is a heartbreaking tell, one that had me looking down at the ground feeling a mixture of disgust and shame. But, as horrible as those camps were, the speakers reiterated that there was one main difference: the government didn’t break up families, as seems to be the norm now.

Even worse, with the Trump administration cutting basics such as soap, toothpaste, and even a simple ball to kick around, it’s as if he’s determined to forge a whole new generation of adults who will never forget the way they were treated here, growing up to loathe this country, fostering a hatred that seems almost justified. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” is officially just a quaint adage now, I guess.

Over the course of the protest, speakers from different organizations including Black Lives Matter, Dream Action Oklahoma and others gave impassioned speeches that, sadly, were probably only heard by the choir. Right now, as you read this, some of you are probably thinking about starting an argument, possibly about how Obama “did the same thing” a few years ago, or some other way to hinder and harm the sacred speech of these protestors.

But, while you’re dwelling on your petty war of words, this country—and, very soon, this state of Oklahoma—will have the very real blood of more children on their hands. I don’t have all the answers, but I know there has to be a better way than this. And if not, well, I hope God will have mercy on your souls, because I sure as Hell wouldn’t.

As the program came to an end, I walked around and shook the hands of a few of the Japanese camp survivors; an older man who I stopped to talk to told me that, in his lifetime, he couldn’t believe this is happening all over again. I tried to say something, but nothing would come out.

_

If you see ICE officers or trucks in your neighborhood, call the Migrawatch reporting hotline at 1-844-363-1423. Follow Louis on Twitter at @LouisFowler and Instagram at @louisfowler78.

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62 Responses


  1. Awesome reporting, Louis.

    The inhuman policy of separating families continues in plain sight while its perpetrators deny their own policy. If their claims that it’s all Obama’s fault were true, would that make it right? Would it even make it arguably acceptable?

    If it hurts the feelings of some snowflakes to call these horrible facilities “concentration camps” (which is exactly what they are), then perhaps we could simply call them “internment camps” in memory of the wrong that America did to Japanese-Americans in the 1940s.


    1. Or call it Pearl Harbor?


    2. And if it were all Obama’s fault, isn’t this administration determined to reverse and undo everything Obama did?


    3. If a US citizen gets arrested for a crime, they get separated from their children. Same way with immigrants. Try stealing a car and then avoiding prison so that your family isn’t “separated”


  2. Amen, Louis.


  3. Amen Louis. I can’t believe this is going on in America in 2019. So sad.


  4. Well done, Louis. This absolutely sickens me. The sad thing is that most of our elected officials probably approve of this atrocity.


    1. Yes…good job, Louis Fowler…where do these people come from who keep bringing hate…surprisingly, all of them came as immigrants, at some point!


  5. WTG Lou.


  6. Yeah Louis, keep at it! While you’re on a roll, why don’t you go to McAlester and protest that concentration camp too? Lots of people separated from their families there too. Now the juveniles aren’t there, they’re in youth interment camps across the state. I know that the gestapo has executed camp inmates at McAlester, I wonder if they have the gas chambers ready to go at Ft. Sill? They’re probably going to need to build a couple of new crematoriums at Sill to take care of the bodies of all those children that they’re going to gas.

    There is a better way though. Take the children away from their parents that attempted to USE those kids as a shield against deportation. Then, deport the parents and then worry about what to do with the kids. Use your brain, a 6 year old kid doesn’t decide on his own that he wants to walk across Mexico to go to the United States. He is kidnapped by either his parents or a coyote. The kids are being used as human shields. Putting them in an Army base will protect them from being preyed upon by the people that drug them here and from prospective pedophiles that would volunteer to keep some of the young kids in their homes while the court cases are carried out.


    1. They’re just like summer camps as Reichsmarschall Kirstjen Nielsen said. Right?

      Geez


    2. And more ignorance spewed from the “mouth” of a trumptard!! Payback is a bitch fudge packer!!


      1. Aren’t you missing your pride march?


    3. If you think separating children from parents and cramming them in shoddily kept rooms on army bases is the better solution, then that tells far more about your lack of humanity than it does about their parents.


      1. Have you ever been to central America? Ft Sill is the taj mahal to what these kids are growing up in.

        Seriously, I understand that you hate the United States and everything it stands for, but isn’t it better to have an actual bed, a toilet that flushes, air conditioning and three meals a day than to live in a hut with a pan that you use for a toilet and to cook your meals in?

        If they don’t like the accommodations, then don’t come here.


        1. This is similar to the argument that slavery benefited the descendants of slaves who live today in America and not Africa.

          Fred seems to believe those cages are acceptable because the kids are used to worse. And that you hate America if you criticize this awful policy; or that you’re “missing your pride march.” (Perhaps that makes sense to the deeply homophobic.)

          Fred is the poster boy for “deplorable.”


          1. You’ve never been on a mission trip to central america, it’s obvious graybeard. So tell me, what would your solution be? Given that the adults broke the law and need to be held to await trial or be allowed to post bond just like with any other crime. Would you give a couple of the kids to Casey Anthony? She’s free these days. We don’t have enough foster homes in Oklahoma for the children that are here legally.

            And you can stop with the cages crap. Go live like the soldiers in Afghanistan did, in a plywood box. The kids are housed in a gymnasium and just like any visitor to the base, their movements are restricted.


            1. Its a misdemeanor to cross the border. Do you really think families should be broken for this level of crime? Fred, people took your pro-america approach during the interment of Japanese citizens but I think we can agree history does not view that action very well. Can we please put politics aside and recognize this is a human issue not a R vs D problem. It doesn’t matter if Presidents from the other side have done the same, it doesn’t matter if Trump was a democrat & had fulfilled some sort of progressive dream. What we are doing is wrong & history will be on the side of those that demand an end to this separation policy right now. We are taking children from their families & extend less rights to these children than we do for murders on death row. There must be a middle ground to calling Fred a deplorable & Fred telling us to go to Pride & we hate America. Can we be humans for like one minute and let kids out of cages?


        2. Yep, I spent a time in Guatemala working medical missions. There are bad parts, and good parts, just like every other country. Hey, you may not have heard this, but they actually have electricity there! Have you actually been, or are you just parroting what you hear in the NRA meetings?

          And despite you apparently thinking that critics = terrorists or whatever you get from the Sean Hannity show. I love America. I’m happy I grew up here and think it’s a blessing. I just possess a conscience and a modicum of empathy, which you apparently sold away for something or another.


          1. Been there several times on mission trips. I helped install plumbing to an outhouse by a church where there was no electricity.

            But I would urge all of you bleeding heart liberals, please go take the locks off your doors and leave you keys in any vehicle you own. You should have no problem with anybody just walking into your house should you?


            1. And I’ve been in places in the US where conditions are, quite honestly, no better. That’s all besides the point. I have no issue with wanting to get immigration under control, or for tackling the negative aspects of it (though they’ve been massively overblown). I do have an issue with holding children apart from their families in centers that have been repeatedly outed for their horrible conditions by people who have been there. I haven’t tricked myself into selling my soul for the party line.


            2. And an outhouse doesn’t have plumbing, nimrod. If it has plumbing, it’s a toilet. Like your goddamn soul.


        3. Dang, Fred, they use the same pot for a toilet and to cook in? They probably also wear it as a hat! And use it as a frisbee! We need to stop them before they come up here and destroy our frisbee golf sites!


    4. Freddy, you have no evidence for your assertions. You’re clearly hysterical.


    5. In one post, you manage to both make light of the actual concentration camps being run in this country, and the incarceration crisis.

      You are correct about one thing, though. “Use your brain, a 6 year old kid doesn’t decide on his own that he wants to walk across Mexico to go to the United States.”

      Even you understand that these children have done nothing wrong. So, why would you possibly support keeping them locked up without access to toothbrushes, soap, clean water, bedding, or caring adults?

      BY YOUR OWN WORDS you recognize this is wrong!!!


      1. Quit spreading the lies. The kids have toothbrushes, soap, clean water, bedding, caring adults, three meals a day, snacks between meals and FREE HEALTHCARE. They have it better than the recruits that have to report for basic at Sill.

        Quit exaggerating. My father was part of the liberation of Dachau. For anybody to suggest that the United States is running concentration camps anywhere is disrespectful to both the victims and survivors of the concentration camps of Nazi Germany and to all the brave soldiers that fought to free those interred there.


        1. How the hell would a coward like yourself know how any recruit has it at Ft Sill? I was there for 2 years after 2 tours in Vietnam…it was an armpit then and an armpit now. So go back to whatever propaganda hut you call a church and learn more hate to preach on these websites!!


          1. Thank you for your service trumpsuxdix.


          2. Benning wasn’t any better


        2. More unsubstantiated statements from Freddy of the 101st Chairborne. I guess he’ll be too busy to dehumanize Central American kids once his recliner is dropping bombs over Tehran.


      2. Because, dipwad, their parents are criminals who have proven themselves unfit caregivers by placing these children in a dangerous situation.



  7. Bless you, Lois, for this spirit – filled report. My sister was there, and will go again, but the only way to change this is at the ballot box, where our president, most of our representatives, and our senators need to be replaced.


  8. I hear and understand the outrage, but I’m not sure I understand what you all think the solution is to this. We didn’t invite these folks to cross the boarder. We didn’t intice them and there children. Is it everyone’s plan to let every and anyone into our country?


    1. First it’s not against any law to apply for asylum in America and second even crossing the border without permission is only a misdemeanor. So there is such a thing as having the punishment fit the crime, or lack thereof as the case may be?

      This is a solution in search of a problem. We can simply give people a court date and let them go as we always have in the past. The only thing new is the pearl clutching xenophobia on the right side of American politics these days.


      1. REMEMBER BOB BARRY JR! The murderer was only guilty of a misdemeanor until he ran Bob over.


        1. Stupid argument. Remember the Alamo and all those dirty Mexicans who took exception to Tejas being colonized?

          White supremacists have murdered many, many more people than those “rapists with calves the size of cantaloupes.”

          FF, if the shoe fits…


          1. You are talking out of your ass. First, you have no idea at all how many white supremacists there have ever been in America; you certainly have no idea how many people that unknown entity has killed; you have zero idea how many people have been murdered by illegal aliens throughout the history of our nation. In short, you are exaggerating. Or lying intentionally.


      2. Crossing our border illegally is a crime punishable by forced deportation. You, like these criminal parents, seek to avoid this penalty by hiding behind children. But more to the point…how many of these Pedros do you personally shelter, feed, clothe, educate and medicate in your own home? If every kneejerk border denier shouldered complete financial responsibility for at least one illegal family, perhaps the rest of us would be more tolerant of your little pets.


    2. Hey Griz- maybe we should bring back the old literacy tests. You know, questions like:

      A) The difference between boarder and border;
      B) The proper spelling of entice.
      C) Proper uses of their/there.

      Oklahoma Standard!!!


      1. South Robinson? Maybe the lead article should know the difference between inter and intern. Now go back to the corner that you’re working. (I could have said your but I knew that would cause you to rake your teeth on your next client)


        1. Is that the way you talked on your “mission trip”. Must be a Baptist. Oklahoma Standard!!!


        2. Actually, Louis used the correct terms in his article…

          in·tern
          verb
          confine (someone) as a prisoner, especially for political or military reasons.
          “the family were interned for the duration of the war as enemy aliens”

          in·tern·ment
          noun
          the state of being confined as a prisoner, especially for political or military reasons.

          Versus the word you seem to favor in many of your comments:

          in·ter·ment
          noun
          the burial of a corpse in a grave or tomb, typically with funeral rites.


    3. I actually have no problem with wanting to stop unfettered border crossing, but politics has eliminated any logic behind how to actually do that, to the point where people are arguing whether we technically have concentration camps or not. To think that that’s where we are is pretty mind boggling. But the first step to knowing the solution is to know that the problem with illegal immigration is way overblown, and has been entirely for political purposes.

      For the most part, border crossers only real impact on our daily lives is to make food and construction cheaper. Are they doing something illegal? Sure, but we’re spending billions upon billions to try to stop a misdemeanor so that we can in turn pay more to eat and build our houses.

      If our problem is the cartel and drug trade, then focus on where they actually come through rather than wasting money on a pointless wall. The vast majority of drugs come through legal ports of call, yet we’re being sold on a static wall as a drug stopping mechanism, which is a ridiculous premise.

      If the problem is with illegals committing further crimes, then address them then. If an illegal immigrant is caught committing misdemeanors, then deport them . If they’re caught committing felonies, jail them. And know that crime rates among illegal immigrants is lower than crime rates among citizens.

      If the problem is that you just don’t want them here, then that’s more of an internal issue than an external issue. Our resources should be spent at addressing issues that actually have a broad impact, not because some politicians realized they could ratchet up racism for popular votes decades ago.


      1. The single issue…the only one that matters, is that they come illegally. As a nation we take in millions of immigrants. Fine with me. Increase the numbers if need be. But border jumpers are just like line cutters at Disney World…they need to be removed forcefully and placed at the back of line.


  9. http://www.LightsforLiberty.com will be holding nationwide protests on Friday, July 12 at locations across the country. At this point we are all enablers of this corrupt administration and it’s vile policies. The U.S. is spending 750$ per detainee per day of your tax dollars. I am boycotting the 4th of July. This isn’t freedom and we are no longer the United States of America.


  10. Excellent report, Louis. Thank you for your presence there. I could not be there in person but was there in spirit. We must elect men and women who will not tolerate this inhumanity toward anyone, no matter what race, creed, gender, citizenship, etc.


  11. We have the same sad and sickening situation here on the border. The “detention centers” – really concentration camps – are setting up the USA to be no better than any other thuggish third world banana republic. As a veteran, I find it disgraceful and shameful that we treat our fellow human beings in such a manner.


    1. You give sad evidence to the thought that many of our dimmest bulbs wind up in the military. Maybe John “swift boat” Kerry was right. But either way, thank you for your service.


  12. Thanks for writing about this, Louis. Sharing pretty quick.


  13. Good reporting. I was there for The Lawton Constitution.


  14. Come one, come all….legal or illegal, makes no diff!


  15. Great reporting. It’s incredibly sad what Cheeto Boy is doing to this country.


    1. yeah, it truly sucks to have record-low employment (especially in the minority communities) these days… too many stage 4 TDS people on this blog lately. it’s alright, tho. cure coming in 2020 😉


      1. “Who cares how many children die in camps, at least McDonalds is fully staffed!”


        1. I wouldn’t expect any other kind of inference from yet another TDS sufferer.


          1. Lol, I’m willing to give Trump credit for some things (though the president gets way too much blame and credit for the cyclical economy), but your response did so much to dodge to the point that it had to be said. The economy has jack all to do with how we’re handling this situation with these kids.

            I mean, if you want to be a scumbag, be my guest. At least be an on-topic one.


            1. Dodge? I have no opinion on this subject. The dimwit above, apparently, thinks Trump locks these kids up himself, tho… On-topic? El-oh-el Since when did this obscure blog become a scientific research paper?


            2. You had no opinion on child internment (I don’t know how someone with any semblance of a conscience can read those words and read these stories and not have an opinion, but OK), but yet you decided to respond to someone lamenting this by posting about the economy. And that’s not dodging the point? Ok, yeah.

              And this type of internment is the result of changes made by this administration. No matter how much he denies it, they own what’s going on in these centers right now. There was detention going on in the previous administration, it was not near to what it is now or to the severity of what it is now.

              But yeah, keep praising the current economic numbers. We all know short term growth is the only political issue that matters.


            3. You need to keep your emotions in check, sweetheart. I didn’t say I was okay with the situation, just that I don’t have enough information to form an educated opinion (unlike the “progressive” majority on here). How do you know it wasn’t “this” bad before? Because CNN didn’t report on it?


            4. Once again, you’re not willing to give a solution. It’s estimated that 30% of the children coming across are not with their parents. Sure, you can say that’s a lie, but you don’t have anything to disprove it. If you look at Central America, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that a parent could send their child along with a neighbor in hopes that their child would reach the promised land of milk and honey. I’m sure the neighbor tells them that they will care for the child until he makes it in the United States.

              So, we have children that are stopped at the border with no proof that they are with their parents. You can’t let the person that drug them across Mexico keep possession of them. You take them into a holding facility. Hold them until they can be sent back by a court order.

              In the meantime, the Democrats in Congress don’t want to fund beds, food, and care for these kids. That’s the problem. Nancy and AOC and Ilhan need to pony up some money to fund better holding facilities and the staff needed to man them. But no, the talking heads and the libs on this site continue to spew crap about “concentration camps” yet they don’t have a plan to fix it.


          2. I remember when the GOP cared about the deficit: 2009-2016.

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