Day 34 | Listen and Act
BY CAITLIN WRIGHT | April 8, 2019
“I have hope,” they often tell me after I finish my usual spiel. My client’s DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals renewal forms, with a nice $495 check made out to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, lie on a desk between us. I describe how long it will take to hear from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), that they cannot leave the country because they are no longer eligible for advance parole, and that if and when anything changes, I will be sure to call so we can move forward in the best manner. Right now, though, we don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know. Congress doesn’t seem to know, either. But they say, “I have hope.” Those who have been wronged time and time again, asked to be the most vulnerable to the highest means of authority in our country say, “I have hope.” And I am consistently left in awe, because I know it to be true. They do have hope. But do I?
When I first began to read today’s readings, I let out an exhausted sigh. I thought I knew Susanna’s fate, because I’ve seen it played out in real time. Again and again innocent people—women, migrants, people of color, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and so many others—left attacked, accused, voiceless, and neglected. I didn’t want to continue. But then there was Daniel. Young Daniel. Another player I would have assumed to be voiceless. Yet, the crowds listened. And they acted. These two things must never exist apart. We must listen, and we must act, in order to practice a faith that does justice. Then, maybe I might have hope, too.
How will you be an advocate for those like Susanna? How will you call forward Daniel’s ability to advocate? How will you be a symbol of hope?
Caitlin Wright considers herself an aficionado for all things Jesuit. After graduating from Creighton University (Go Jays!) in 2017 with a degree in English, Spanish, and Legal Studies, Caitlin completed a year of service with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Brooklyn, NY. She continues to reside in Brooklyn and works as an immigration counselor at Catholic Migration Services, a not-for-profit organization that provides legal aid to migrants in Brooklyn and Queens. In her free time, Caitlin enjoys going to Broadway shows, singing with the schola at the Church of St. Francis Xavier, and finding the best bagels New York has to offer.
Listening is a gift. Action speaks louder than words.
Thank you, Caitlin, for inspiring all of us, Jesuits, too. Keep the faith! And may the DACA know that the Easter mystery belongs first to people like them.
This past weekend at our Sat/Sun masses, I spoke (after mass) about those people forced to migrate because of violence,war, food insecurity, ecological disasters (I.e. caused by Canadian mining companies).
Then I “invited” our parishioners to sign an action card to our Canadian priminister/gov’t asking that he step up to address the root causes of forced migration!
I was saddened I didn’t get as many cards signed as there were people at mass! Many didn’t sign. I’m trying not to give up hope! These people who are forced to migrate need people to speak up on their behalf! Thank you so much for your reflection, Caitlin.