January 25, 2010
January 23, 2010
Our walk is dedicated to the Roa family. To Peter, a United States Citizen who lived in New York city for 3 decades. For Carlos Sr., who bravely brought his family to the US to take care of his father, Peter -left in immigration limbo after his [father's] death while the petition was still pending. For Carlos Jr. who is currently in the struggle and walking 1,500 miles on their behalf, going on his 24th day walking now.
Our walk today is dedicated to three generations of brave men who lived in the United States trying, with all their might, to achieve a DREAM.
On one of the most recognized USA icons, the Statue of Liberty, has engraved on its plaque:
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
This week, we were joined by a man from New York city who wanted to walk with us. He flew down on Friday and made arrangements for himself to walk with us for three days. It was a surprise when the person we thought might be a college student turned out to be a grown man, father of two, and successful business owner. I kept feeling it in my heart from the first time we talked about the Trail, that our struggles would be about all: the tired, poor, and all those who like us, want to be free.
After coming from a trip in Spain, Roberto came to his beloved NY and picked up the New York Times where he first learned about the Trail of DREAMs. After 26 years struggling without status, he had recently obtained his green card. Roberto wanted to walk with us because he understood personally what we have endured in this country, as individuals that have held an unwavering passion and commitment to a nation that barely even gave us a passing chance.
As we walked in pairs, Roberto walked with me and asked me to share with him my story. I told him I always felt like a was a cadged bird. Once, I was fine in the cage -it was still small and I had a little room to fly. However, now after fighting six years in the struggle, receiving several college degrees, and having had the opportunity of a fabulous job, my wings have grown too large and the cage began hurting me.
Tears ran down his cheeck because he knew exactly what I meant. The difference now was that he had found his freedom and the golden cage he lived in no longer had any bars. He no longer was restrained from doing what he loved and being afraid of people finding out his immigration situation, or more so, living afraid of being thrown out of the place he calls home.
Roberto came with his wife and one year old son looking for a better future in 1983. He’s first job was as a carpenter. Shortly after, he was able to open his own business. Even though he was successful and important to this country he was denied a green card nearly 10 times.
When I asked him how he felt about the Big Apple he said “It’s amazing, I love New York. It is one of the most amazing cities I know. You have all the choices in the world, theater, arts, music, public transportation, I can’t get enough of it”
How can we deny the existence of someone who loves this country so much and has tried several times to legalize his status. He said “I have a personal feeling towards it, its my home”
As we continue to head north, I hope people begin to have a deep analysis about why we are in the situation we are in. Are we willing to continue to suffer in this manner or will we take a stance today and fight for our promised words.
“I will sing of your love and justice; to you, O LORD, I will sing praise.” -Psalm 101-1