Posted on February 15, 2010 by felipe
from Albany, GA
I’m exhausted! I’ve been carrying a huge physical load. Everyday we have to wake up early in the morning and walk -even though we have been going to sleep at 12 AM almost everyday. However, the emotional pain of our people is so great that I am having a hard time digesting it all. A few days ago we met a fifth grader, Oscar, who told me about his dream of becoming a therapist and his views on our plight. He is a gifted child that was sadly forced to understand the complexities of his reality. What I impressed me the most was his willingness to speak up about his struggle. When asked to talk in front of a crowd in a press conference he stood resolute to deliver the most heart breaking plea to the president. He said, “Please give my parents a chance. It would be too painful to lose them.”
The question that remains unanswered is what motivates a child to become so versed on the parallels between his life and the life of his fellow African American friends. In his own words he said, “the immigrant problem is similar to what happened to African American in the past. They couldn’t vote, we can’t vote.” He explained many more points about the historical and current intersections between the African American and immigrant plight. This eleven year-old boy does not have any choice but to try to make sense of his reality. His older sister had been consistently called a “wetback” in school, his father is currently facing deportation and his mother cannot get a job other than decorating cakes. In his utmost effort to make sense of his suffering he found in history books a place that healed some of his wounds.
We got to Albany and we found several children that wanted to walk with us. They ranged from 8-12 years old. All of them were born in the US and yet had to live with the fear of losing their parents. One of the most important parts of a child’s life is their family. The constant threat of losing a parent has traumatized our children to the point that they don’t know how to live in such instability. What we do when the answer lies on the hands of congress people who have not walked with us all this way? What do we do to relay the message of these youth to greater audiences that continue to judge us as less than human because of our immigration status?
While walking, Oscar and his sister were making jokes and laughing the whole time, however, when we talked about the issue, it was as if we opened Pandora’s box. The children started sobbing! Their pain was so evident that I couldn’t do anything else other than cry as loud as they were. Our tears have been flowing down for so long and yet we keep being marginalized. In a country that claims to be a place that values children, we still see the constant discrimination against and exploitation of Latinos through an unfair system that is breaking our spirits and families. What happened to us? Where are we going as a nation? I hope that somehow their tears reach those in Congress that have chosen to take an apathetic approach to just and humane immigration reform. We just can’t afford to wait any longer. The clock keeps ticking…
link to http://trail2010.org/blog/2010/feb/15/innocent-voices/