Thursday, June 3, 2010

They speak for themselves
Trail of Dreams

Posted on May 31, 2010 by gaby

When I was sitting in the airport getting ready to fly to Arizona, all I could think was, "we have to do this!" Walking from the White House to the Lincoln Memorial, days after our arrival in DC, I noticed bronze medallions etched into the ground that recognized people for their work and contributions. On this large circular medallion their faces were surrounded by the words “the extra mile”. Individuals like Helen Keller, MLK Jr., Jane Adams, Susan B. Anthony, Cesar Chavez, and others, all went above and beyond the usual. They weren’t super humans with special powers, but people like you and I, who refused to accept the norm, and it is because of their courage that our lives are better.

This is how the idea of the “extra mile” came along. We had walked 1,500 miles but that wasn’t enough! We heard the call from Arizona and decided that we too had to support and be part of this human rights struggle of our 21st century. Arizona is the epicenter of racist sentiments that our country are infected with and like MKL Jr. said “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”.

The despair in Arizona became vivid with the impact of two little girls. One of them, 7-years-old, I met in front of the 24-hour vigil being held at the State Capitol. As she was leaving home with her family, she came running towards me and hugged me tightly while softly saying "thank you." What did this little girl have to thank me for? What had I done for her? In the distance, I saw her mother holding a baby in her arms, her father proudly standing next to his wife, and suddenly felt myself included in their family. She thanked me saying that I had walked and risked my life for them too. Tears rushed down my cheek because I knew this seven year old was forced to understand the complexity of this unjust system disrespecting humans, somehow making it legal to break families apart.

The second girl: Catherine, 10-years-old, I met while at Tonatierra were she was rehearsing for the Rally. Catherine’s parents were deported last year when she was 9. One day after school she was watching the news and suddenly saw how the Maricopa Sheriffs handcuffed and jailed her parents during one of the infamous Joe Arpaio sweeps. That day, sadly, her innocence was stripped away from her.

When I decided to walk it was with the intention that we would be part of a greater movement that recognized that legislation was never going to be enough. Our country has a cancer that has gone for too long undetected and now with the passage of SB1070 the first signs of its deteriorating, weakening sickness is finally showing.

Our actions are intentional, and direct. We are doing everything that is necessary to bring to light the real issues behind the reasons why we are slaved in our own lands and why we are walking naked without protection of our human dignity and rights.

Like each of you, we have a voice, heart, and mind. And like our predecessors who went the extra mile so that we could have made it this far, we came to make it clear that a dream deferred is a dream denied. We came to say BASTA YA, NO MORE, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: immigrant rights and human rights!
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