Monday, July 23, 2018

close to home

I grew up around kids. My mom watched all ages: 3 months, 10 years. My brother, sister, and I learned how to change a diaper, make a bottle, keep an eye on and entertain. We helped, though not always happily. We often didn't have access to our bedrooms until so-and-so got up from his or her nap. So, we'd keep an ear out for crying. We came to understand what it stood for--whining, frustration, discomfort.

The cries I heard on this recording were different.
At this point, I expect you're well aware of the crisis taking place at the U.S.-Mexico border. You know that last month: 2,000+ children were taken from their parents, that every person to cross the border without legal documentation was prosecuted as a criminal, that AG Jeff Sessions tried to use the Bible to defend the zero-tolerance policy, and that President Trump signed an executive order to discontinue family separation, an act that was put in place with his blessing. Hopefully they'll make their deadline? And still, one can only imagine the pain and suffering that continues through trauma.

Decades after my grandfather ventured to Central California with the Bracero Program, my dad crossed that same border for that same economic opportunity. He stayed longer though. He sent money home, supported siblings as they, too, came over. Years later, once my dad had met my mom, after my siblings and I came to be, my dad became an American citizen.

It's no wonder this feels personal, and yet... nobody risks their own life, let alone that of their child, unless they have to; unless doing so feels like the only viable option for safety. If they make it, their family might come to know the opportunity that comes after. Maybe.

Who do we think we are to dehumanize fellow human beings by labeling them illegal? A descriptor of an action, by the way, not an existence. Do we not share the same value, the same entitlement to human rights? Dignity, let alone decency? This administration appears not to think so. How quickly we forget our origins.

I am the child of an immigrant. My father achieved "the American Dream." This has afforded me the privilege to move across borders and oceans without any apprehension a.k.a. the entire premise of this silly blog. The magnitude of these truths are enough to paralyze me with guilt sometimes. I'm trying my best to do more. I hope you are, too.

P.S. For some levity whilst giving a damn.

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