by Cindy Knoebel
On Wednesday morning, New York City residents on their way to or from work spotted something unusual - and disturbing: chain link cages containing what appeared to be the bodies of children wrapped in foil blankets. Even more disturbing, however, were the crying sounds emanating from the cages.
The cages are art installations launched by ad agency Badger & Winters for a nonprofit advocacy group, Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES). Called #NoKidsInCages, these "guerrilla art installations" depict the real living conditions of children caged at the southern borders of the U.S., according to RAICES. The sounds of children in these centers sobbing and calling for their "mama" and "papa" are actual audio recordings released last summer by ProPublica.
The 24 installations were placed in highly trafficked areas of Manhattan and Brooklyn, including Union Square, the Barclays Center sports arena and the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge, as well in front of news organizations such as Google, Buzzfeed and CNN.
"We want to bring this back to the consciousness of the American people,” RAICES CEO Jonathan Ryan told HuffPost. “One of the many unfortunate consequences of the repeated traumatic stories coming from the border is that, as horrified and angry as people have been, we also become desensitized. It’s important for people ... to be confronted with the reality that this is about children, human beings, whose lives are forever affected.”
“This is being done in our name by people who we elected,” he added. “And if we don’t do something to stop this, this will become who we are.”
By the end of the day, the police had torn down and hauled away the installations, but not before hundreds of images had been posted on social media by passers-by.