Friday, November 23, 2007

Hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving!

"El Jueves, es un dia de fiesta. No trabajamos. Es una fiesta de aqui, de Ustedes, verdad?"
"Yes, it's Thanksgiving," I answered. My friend, Patricia, from Acapulco wasn't sure what exactly we celebrate.
Patricia grew up in poverty and worked from childhood cleaning and washing clothes against rocks in the river. She had seven children, four still at home with her. She is a surviver of domestic violence and had lived in a shelter for over a year, before she finally got a job and an apartment.
I explained to her the story of the first pilgrims and how the Native Indians helped them survive those first harsh winters. She nodded, "Es una fiesta Americana."
"But it's more than that," I said, trying to organize into words what Thanksgiving means. "It's really an immigrant holiday. Those first immigrants came and made a new life for themselves, and they were grateful for the friendships and the abundance. They felt blessed."
Patricia smiled at me in sudden understanding. "Todos somos benditos!"
I think she finally understood that it was her holiday too.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Wishing for Immigration Reform

There was an article in the Dispatch last week about Jason and his wife and their three year old little girl. Jason's wife came to this country illegally, some years ago without documentation. Now Jason has petitioned on behalf of his wife, so that she can be legally here. Now Jason's wife has to wait in Mexico to recieve her visa. She could be waiting three months to ten years!

In the meantime Jason and their little girl miss her terribly every day. There is something not right here. Our immigration system is hurting good people. They are not terrorists. The only law that was broken was crossing the border without permission, which if you understood the reasons why most people risk their lives to cross the border into the United States, perhaps there would be more compassion.

Most of us have no idea the kind of misery the poor suffer. If the only jobs available only pay $10 a day, and your ailing parent needs medical care that costs ten times that and can't get medical attention unless there is payment up front, then what would you do? Would you just watch him or her die?

I was asked to submit a comment to that article on-line which I did, but I was sickened at many of the other racist narrow minded comments. Most could not get past the "illegal" label. When we start labeling and name calling, we begin to dehumanize and demonize people. The Japanese became "Japs" and "gooks"American Blacks "niggars" Jews "Kikes" the list goes on, but the purpose of this hateful rhetoric is to dehumanize and demonize so that the attack is justified.

We have to be very watchful and vigilant against this kind of talk, because before you know it, it begins to grow and more and more people begin to think and talk that way without realizing it.

Immigrants who cross the border are human brings, people like you and me with parents, brothers and sisters, and husbands and wives with children to take care of. They have hard lives and in desparation risk their lives to come to the U.S.

Stella, I wasn't going to tell you this, because it was too upsetting, but there was a message on the answering machine at the Casa.... "you sound like you have sh-t in you're all a bunch of god-d-m, f-ing cockroaches!" I instinctively hit the delete button, but the venom hung in the air. A vision of Nazi thugs beating up Jews in back alleys flashed through my mind. No, this cannot happen here....

We need to alert the community and do everything we can to promote Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Dear Amiga Connie,

I cannot help it that I learned the Pledge Alligence and the Star Spangled Banner in school. After all, I am American! Not only do I know the Pledge Alligence and the Star Sprangled Banner, I also know how to bake an apple pie! (Thanks to my sister Juanita).

I don't know why the ICE (INS) people feel they need to round up people that are working...why don't they round up people that are NOT working, and who are doing things they shouldn't. There is something wrong with this picture, don't you think? Why are they picking on working people? There was a lot of sad kids at Christmas time. So much for "happy holiday" Most of these kids were born in the US and are American citizens. They are no different than anyone else. I wonder if they will have a trusting relationship with law enforcement. what kind of message are we sending them? The land of the free and the home of the brave? as they haul away their loved ones, in chains, on TV! How ridiculous is that? Why don't we display and shame rapists and child molesters that way?

We don't seem to have a problem with Canada or Canadians, or Irish, English, White Europeans. Why are we so concerned with our Mexican neighbors? Don't all Americans like to go there and party? They like to send their kids there to party too! MTV seems to cover it very well. You don't see them going to Canada to party. They don't retire in Canada. They go to Mexico! They know when they got a good thing going! Good climate, Nice people, their dollars are worth more, right? More bang for the buck! Can you see retiring in Canada? Not hardly! Maybe the wall should be built to keep those Americans out of Mexico! They're ruining the economy for the Mexicans paying $5 a day in their factories, and filling their heads with nonsense to come to the US! Those crazy Americans should be charged for brainwashing!

So what do you think about that, Connie?

Monday, January 1, 2007

Dear Stella:

Happy New Year! Stella and I have been talking about starting a blog for some time now, because we seem to get into interesting, controversial and sometimes bizarre situations. We have been friends for a long time. We provide a good balance for eachother. One of us is mouthy and the other is diplomatic, one of us is quick, the other is slow, one of us is admittedly mischievious and the other is completely innocent... until proven guilty. (I will let the dear reader guess which is which).

2006 was an interesting year. The beginning of May there were Immigration Marches all over the country. The Quad-Cities had a huge march from Rock Island, Illinois across the bridge to Davenport, Iowa. It was great to see so many Latino groups working together. ...and there was Stella in the background madly writing down the words to the Star Spangled Banner! Do you know all the words? Stella does. Second generation Mexicana born in the USA. I'm fourth generation Irish American being given the words to our National Anthem. Go figure.

Did you know that there are presently 25,000 illegal Irish Nationals in the US? Who makes the immigration laws anyway? I think we all should all become citizens of Mexico and Canada. That way we would only have to worry about the border with Belize and Guatamala. It's smaller and more manageable. "Imagine." John Lennon

No one really understands what people go through unless it happens to them and their families. So just for a minute imagine that you have legally immigrated here seven years ago. Five years ago you had a couple DUI's and hung out with some unsavory "friends" who were into drugs. Many people fall into the catagory of having a misspent youth. But you did your time, paid the fines, completed the classes and now you have settled down with spouse and kids. INS Home Land Security comes to your work place and takes you away. There are months in prison waiting for court dates. Your family, besides suffering the worry and wrenching grief of not having you with them, are without the main income you provide for paying the mortgage and other bills. This is HOME LAND SECURITY??? Not if it's your home!

OK, Stella. It"s your turn!