Our Toxic Cages Put Migrant Children at Risk

In my work, I talk often about what you deserve to put on your skin and in your body. In fact, my product labels boast about it: “No parabens, No sulfates, No phthalates, No artificial fragrance…” 

And this matters. Treating our bodies and our planet well—safely, kindly, with respect—creates a better us and a better world for all. 

We—writing this and reading this—are blessed to know or to be learning something about treating our bodies well. But with great power—and knowledge—comes great responsibility. 

Talking about the toxic ingredients in skincare products matters. The beauty industry is a behemoth—a huge industry, and if we change the way it envisions and creates its products and its packaging, we can change the trajectory of our wellness and our earth’s wellbeing. 

But there are far more basic and universal protections that also need to be acknowledged. No matter who we are, or where we’re born, or what family we’re born into, we have basic human rights. 

We deserve a safe, healthy place to live. 

The most vulnerable among us, though—children, women and children of color, migrants—are often the invisible recipients of our disregard of this sacred principle: care for each other, care for our planet. Make it safe for all. 

As we’ve now heard and seen, the current administration has been caging unaccompanied migrant children in detention centers. They have recently proposed a new detention center in Goodfellow, Texas, set to hold about 7,500 migrant children. 

According to Earthjustice attorney Lisa Evans, “Public records show the migrant detention site proposed for Goodfellow will be built atop a former landfill, in an area riddled with lead, benzene, arsenic, PFAS, and other chemicals particularly hazardous to children.” 

This goes deeper than chemicals in skincare. This asks us to confront: how do we choose to care for the world’s children? Do we believe safety and wellbeing is a right for all? 

And Earthjustice’s review of site records shows that neurotoxins like lead have been detected near the proposed children’s detention site at levels unacceptable—inhospitable—for housing. This is not safe. This is not ok.

It is my responsibility to talk about this, what little I know of it. I am learning, too. 

I go on other organic skincare company blogs and find articles like,

“Skin Detox: How to Refresh and Soothe Your Complexion”

or

“Top Spa and Wellness Trends for 2019.” 

And I know I am not creating clickable, binge-able articles like that. Those articles exist, you can find them. They deserve a space, too. But I am here to talk about something else. To provide a space, in whatever small way I can, for the invisible. 

The first thing I ever did when creating my skincare line was write “The Commandments,” principles I vowed to create and live by. The first one I wrote is this:

“We do not believe that poisoning the earth or the animals that live upon it is an option. To create a beautiful world, we must create with peace. We promise products of pure and peaceful intentions.”

I cannot deliver on that promise if I do not advocate for a peaceful, safe world for all. Not just peaceful products. Peaceful intentions

I firmly believe that we are in this together.

So when it comes to Goodfellow, I just wanted you to know. And to remember: we must advocate not for, but alongside, those who are often denied a voice. 

We all do better when we all do better. 

To read more about the contamination at the proposed site at Goodfellow, visit earthjustice.org.

 



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