Using her powerful voice to support detained migrant children, Selena Gomez addressed the southern U.S. border crisis in an impassioned June 28 Instagram post. The singer used her platform to share a call to action with her fans, while also raising awareness about how people can help.
Along with a black and white photo of herself, the native Texan, whose father, Ricardo Gomez, is of Mexican descent, wrote:
"Kids in cages! Sleeping on concrete floors with aluminum blankets! No access to simple dignities! How is this still happening??? It’s absolutely inhumane to treat anyone like this let alone children. I can’t even imagine what they are going through. We need to get this to finally stop! Don’t stay silent on this human rights issue- please call your reps 202.224.3121 #CloseTheCamps #FamilesBelongTogether"
According to a recent Associated Press report, lawyers who visited a Texas border facility claimed that migrant children are being detained in "inhumane" conditions. They said that the kids were given uncooked frozen food to eat, had gone weeks without being given the opportunity to bathe or change clothes, and had been denied medical attention. At least a dozen of the children that they'd met were reportedly ill with the flu.
Acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner John Sanders told the AP that, although Border Patrol is holding 15,000 people, the facilities actual capacity is only 4,000 people. Agreeing that medical care should be improved for children, Sanders also called on Congress to pass a funding package to help with the costs. (On June 27, Congress did pass a $4.6B border bill, per the AP.)
Per Newsweek, the Trump administration defended its detention centers at the 9th Circuit Court in San Francisco on June 20. During the hearing, a Justice Department lawyer argued that denying migrant children soap and toothbrushes, and requiring them to sleep on concrete floors in cold and crowded rooms, still qualifies as "safe and sanitary" treatment, according to Newsweek's report.
In a February 2018 Harper's Bazaar interview, Gomez revealed she'd had recent experiences "that were racially charged" with her dad. "Most of the time, though, I try to separate my career from my culture because I don't want people to judge me based on my looks when they have no idea who I am," she added. "And now more than ever, I’m proud of it."
And she understands the power of social media, too. Calling her relationship with Instagram "complex," Gomez — who boasts more than 152 million IG followers — explained to Harper's Bazaar: "It has given me a voice amid all the noise of people trying to narrate my life for me. ... So it empowers me in that way because it’s my words and my voice and my truth."
As pointed out by Glamour, Gomez also supported the Keep Families Together Marches in June 2018. "Families seeking safety in our country need protection, understanding and opportunity, not detention," the singer tweeted last year. "This is a moral choice, not a political one. #keepfamiliestogether#june30."
Gomez, of course, isn't the only celebrity to speak out on immigration issues in the U.S. In a recent video interview with The Root, Rihanna issued her own bold call to action for her fans to stand up for their beliefs.
"You have to raise as much awareness and not just that, but just as a whole, as a nation, put all your heads and all your voices together and be as loud as possible," said the Barbados native, who also recently tagged Trump in an IG post where she's holding a t-shirt with the word "immigrant" scrawled across it. "That’s the only way that politicians and the government actually listen when they feel like their country is as concerned as the matter is concerning."
This is exactly the chorus of celebrity voices that may be able to bring about some real change.