Shakira Speaks Out on Children Separated at U.S. Southern Border: "Silence Is Dangerous"

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Days before the U.S. election, the Colombian star penned a powerful essay for Time magazine amid reports that authorites are having trouble reuniting families.

Shakira has long been a very vocal advocate of social justice, from her very own Pies Descalzos Foundation, which supports children in underserved communities, to being a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF. In the past several months, she has also lent her voice to drive a “Get out and vote” message and has posted frequently and pointedly on social media, focusing on specific issues important to her.

The latest is a powerful essay published today by Time magazine. It shines a light on the children who have been separated from their parents and detained at the U.S. border with no resolution or family reunion in sight.

“The Parents of 545 Children Are Missing, and the Silence Is Dangerous,” reads the headline of the piece, which gets into the facts of a situation where parents simply cannot be found. Perhaps more compelling, it addresses the issue through the lens of Shakira’s experience as a mother and as the daughter of immigrants.

The essay begins with a part of Shakira’s background few except her biggest fans know: “I am the daughter of a New Yorker who was born to Lebanese immigrants amidst the great economic depression of the 1930s, immigrants who, thanks to their entrée into the United States, were able to build a solid foundation for themselves and their family before they finally settled in Colombia, where I was born and grew up.”

The story could have been that of so many Latinas, whose parents and grandparents first found refuge in the United States before moving to other lands.

Shakira acknowledges that she isn’t an American citizen, and could be “perceived as an outsider commenting on domestic policies. However, the United States’ decisions affect us all, even more so when children’s lives are on the line … Now is not the time to be silent.”

Read the full piece here.

This story first appeared on billboard.com.