UNDOCUMENTED AND UNAFRAID!… Let it be heard all across the nation!
“We have a duty to fight for our freedom, we have a duty to win, we must love each other and protect each other, we have nothing to lose but our chains!”
I am a man on a mission, my people feel broken…
And I remember the tears I cried from listening to the stories of despair from the day laborers of Jupiter, FL.
I remember Felipe breaking down next to me in Albany, GA as he heard 10 year old Oscar plead President Obama, in front of news cameras, to keep his parents from getting deported.
I also remember the undocumented student in Raleigh, North Carolina, who was deeply inspired by our journey. For her, words were not enough to express how committed she felt to the movement. And so, I shared with her the rewards of dedicating yourself to something greater than yourself. With the praxis of walking over a 1000 miles, I came to the realization of what I consider to be the greatest lesson in life.
Farmworker social justice leader Cesar Chavez said it perfectly once: “We can choose to use our lives for others to bring about a better and more just world for our children. People who make that choice will know hardship and sacrifice. But if you give yourself totally to the non-violence struggle for peace and justice you also find that people open their hearts and you will never go hungry and never be alone. And in giving of yourself you will discover a whole new life full of meaning and love.”
Her eyes alone conveyed how inspired she felt, how she felt alone for so long, and how she spent so long lacking the courage to even tell those closest to her that she was undocumented. Her words alone served as a reminder of those moments in my life many years ago when I was in her shoes -unable to tell my own friends that I was undocumented, I remember that dark and cold feeling of shame, fear and hopelessness.
After the death of my mother -the closest person to me in my life- I’d constantly ask myself what is to come of my life? Where is my life going? If it wasn’t for her strength and desire to see us succeed in life, I would not have devoted myself to this cause in her memory. If it wasn’t for her love -her incredible affection transcending my existence, I would not be able to conquer the fear of being undocumented. My love of humanity and my everlasting embrace of it, comes into manifestation through this social justice plight for immigrant rights.
It is our resistance to oppression, our courage in the presence of fear and intimidation, that allows us to reclaim our humanity. We find the holistic echo of our lost voices by standing up against this anti-immigrant concept of attrition through enforcement, being excerised worst of all in states such as Arizona, most evident with the passage of SB1070.
“The Arizona Legislature has just stepped off the deep end of the immigration debate, passing a harsh and mean-spirited bill that would do little to stop illegal immigration. What it would do is lead to more racial profiling, hobble local law enforcement, and open government agencies to frivolous, politically driven lawsuits,” wrote the New York Times in describing SB1070, which only needs Gov. Brewer to sign in order to become law. Arizona has become the epicenter of the immigration debate, with its legal exorbitance and cruel display of hate, discrimination and injustice perpetuated against undocumented immigrants.
Behold Arizona! Unjust laws will turn to dust in the unyielding winds of justice and righteousness! The system may fail to acknowledge us but it can never eradicate our existence, our essence, the quality of being human. In the midst of the oppression, a nonviolent people will arise from the shadows in the righteous claim for justice! We are ten days away from completing this expedition; but I can assure you that this endeavor goes beyond a walk to Washington D.C. A people have risen, this movement has taken its unyielding sustainability as an chain-reactional force, which has been enacted through individual self-actualization.
As Robert F. Kennedy once said, “each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, they send forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance”.