A Day Without Immigrants

Yesterday was A Day Without Immigrants.
A day when immigrants -- and possibly also people who supported them -- didn't work or shop. They marched and stood with each other for things our country once valued: freedom, opportunity, and open doors with a welcome spirit. 

We had a lot of students out of school, and I live in a majority Hispanic neighborhood. 

Today I received a note, which I'm sharing with full permission of the sender, who typed it so it would remain anonymous. 


My heart broke, and I started to tear up. 
Their children are our students -- our children, our future. 
They are our neighbors and our friends. 

It is irresponsible and terrifying that in America, our neighbors are treated this way. None of our children should be afraid to go to school, afraid to walk outside, afraid their family will be gone when they get home. None of our families should have to worry that one of their members won't come home at night because of where they're from, their culture, or their race. 
I have felt sorrow, and anger, and been incredulous over much of the past year as we've watched so many different people groups be bashed against rocks again and again, as we've seen our communities torn apart by people who won't listen to how our fellow Americans of different cultures and races are feeling -- about the realities in which they live. 
I've been saddened to see people burning bridges instead of building them, screaming instead of listening, looking but never seeing. 

I thought about this letter all day. This afternoon, I called the family. As I spoke with the mom, and told her I supported them and was with them, that if there was anything I could do to let me know, do you know what she said? 

"We feel so alone. Like no one is seeing or knowing what is going on, how we feel."

Can I just tell you that I lost it? 
Crying, on the phone.
Crying, typing this now. 

YOU ARE NOT ALONE. 

We are so much better, so much more when we are full of the beautiful diversity that makes us America. That makes us human. 

And for those of us who are followers of Christ, this is even more important. It is even more tragic that our neighbors are feeling this way, that they don't see us.
We should be on the front lines, the ones carrying love and justice. The ones coming alongside, holding hands and locking arms, saying, "You're not alone. We're in this with you. We're here." We are called to love, to see, to welcome, to go. 
And when our neighbors tell us they feel alone because of who they are and because of their race or culture as it is maligned or attacked or deported or shot or rounded up, it means we're failing. We're not extending Love and Welcome to them as it has been given to us. We're not fighting for Justice for all people. 
It means we have a long way to go. 

But it also means we have an opportunity. 
The opportunity to  stand up, to walk alongside our brothers & sisters, our neighbors, our future.
To lock our arms together, around each other, to be a true community. 
To listen and hear and change.
To love each other well, to see, to fight for justice.

We have the opportunity in front of us to be who we're called to be: to be the hands and feet of  Jesus. And how marvelous it is that we are given grace and more opportunities to get it right, to follow Him to the hard places, to really love well. 

So to my neighbors, my brothers & sisters, my friends from other countries, who are of other cultures and races, please hear me.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
We love you.
And we're in this with you.

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