Growing up, we are taught to stand up for yourself and others when an injustice occurs. This ideology is engraved in our developing brains. We like to think that we really will show up to fight for our rights and justice. When we learn about war or the Holocaust, we tell ourselves that we will “not let that happen again” in our lifetime.
Yet the list of genocides continues to grow—currently, with the crisis in Myanmar worsening with each passing day. The pleas for help by the Rohingya people have been met with apathy and disdain as they are forced to leave their homes, fleeing hate-driven violence.
When events like this occur I ask myself, what will I do to make this situation better?
I have seen politicians and acquaintances send their greatest sympathies and voice grave concerns over the situation in Myanmar, yet advocate to close our borders and restrict those wanting to seek refuge. As an undocumented immigrant in the United States, I see that the inequities in our immigration system reflect our indifference to those hoping to find sanctuary.
The inequities in our immigration system reflect our indifference to those hoping to find sanctuary #RiseUpClick to tweet
We cannot be bystanders when the blood is spilled. We watch when tragedy strikes but are quick to offer our condolences and words of comfort without attempting to find other meaningful ways to effect positive change. When we do this, we become the hypocrites Jesus warns of.
By condemning the scribes and Pharisees for their hypocrisy, Jesus challenges us to follow the values and behavior that we teach others. We should stop blindly offering ourselves to others out of pity and start taking action. It is then that we might stop watching genocides happen right before our eyes.
Carlos Rodriguez is a graduate of Seattle University where he earned a B.A. in Public Affairs. As the former Student Body President, he has used his position to talk about issues related to immigration, affordable housing, and homelessness. He has been vocal about his status as an Undocumented immigrant in hopes of bringing awareness to the complexity of immigration in the United States. Carlos is known for wearing a scarlet “U” signifying how an Undocumented status, which has been largely stigmatized in the U.S., is branded onto the lives of many Undocumented immigrants. Currently, he is a Jesuit Volunteer serving as an Anti-Trafficking and Immigration Specialist.