Home > Ground Zero > We are walking together and into the light

We are walking together and into the light

Or, “Estamos unidos, Marchemos juntos hacia la luz.”

Public Witness, I am learning, is a powerful and emotional act of intent…throughout this week, I found myself at times lonely, proud, embarrassed, puzzled, elated, sad, overwhelmed and overjoyed. It’s like one of my favorite quotes about parenting.

Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” Elizabeth Stone

The protest is over. I remember the first night I spent in my bed (even though I didn’t make it INTO a jail, I was still AT a jail for the better part of two nights). I was so glad to be lying down… my calves were in knots and my feet felt like they’d been through a sausage grinder. I was so glad not to be wearing a yellow t-shirt. My throat burned, and I was so glad not to be chanting.

And I was lonely. I missed my people… my church family, both new and old, as well as the folks from Puente.

My extended church family have all returned to their homes in other cities and states. Here in Maricopa County, we’re also getting on with the business of our daily lives, but we all know we’re not done. We’re networking with each other and with the friends we made at Puente. Every Facebook and Twitter connection is like a little burst of joy, an unexpected gift. We’re talking about how we’ll move forward in this movement together, and we’re talking about our actions as individuals. My driver’s license is still where I put it at 12:00AM on Thursday, July 29th. I am still “illegal”, which may be the equivalent of me sticking my tongue out at Sheriff Joe, but that alone has it’s rewards. I wear my buttons almost everywhere I go in public. I am sure I get some dirty looks or eye rolls from supporters of the law, but the only thing I’ve noticed are more smiles from strangers than I usually see, along with an occasional “hi” if I’m not paying attention.

When white folks approach me and ask where they can get the “I could be illegal” button, or when someone of Latin@ descent engages me in dialogue about the issue, I admit that I feel some level of satisfaction. People just don’t tend to talk about race openly with strangers, and I think that we’re starting to do so is a small step in the right direction, one that I‘m proud to be part of. But Thursday night, I found myself close to tears at the soda fountain at a Chipotle restaurant. As I was standing at the counter to pick up the order I’d called in, the girl who retrieved it pointed at my button and mouthed, “I love that!” I beamed back at her… I love it too. I told her where she could find them, and moved on to the register. After I paid for my order, the cashier handed me a cup. I hadn’t ordered a drink, and at my puzzled look, he said quietly, “That’s a free drink for the button.” I thanked him for the gesture and moved away… it was such a small thing, but I was overwhelmed. A few moments later this same young man came over & quietly asked where he could find them too. It was obvious that the show of solidarity had perhaps a deeper and more personal meaning to him… and knowing that was painful. It was obvious he didn’t expect support or solidarity from the white community, and that my friends, is shameful and embarrassing.

I wanted to tell this young man that he owed me no thanks. I didn’t create this legacy of racism in this country, but I still benefit from it, if in no other way that I am privileged not to be subject to racial profiling. That makes it my responsibility to see it eradicated. But I had no words to express this, no way to promise him that myself and others who believe as I do would be standing with him in this fight, and that we weren’t going to drop the ball this time. There were no assurances I could give, because my people aren’t exactly known for keeping promises. So I tried to take comfort that maybe he would leave work that night feeling a little less alone in his struggle.

To my Latino and Latina brothers and sisters, from my heart to yours… I will be walking with you. I may trip at times and my path may not always be as straight as it should be, but I will be there.

Did you forget we are human?
Don’t you know we are the same?
Did you forget that you are my sister, my brother?
Don’t you feel we share your pain?

Out of the shadows
We are walking together and into the light
Estamos unidos
Marchemos juntos hacia la luz

via Daily Kos: In Response to Arizona’s SB1070 : “Marching into the Light” music video

  1. Ei
    August 8, 2010 at 1:30 PM

    You go little mama. I’m proud of you.

    • August 9, 2010 at 6:00 AM

      Thanks MamaEi… I ❤ you 🙂

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