Today’s readings emphasize the importance of unity between nations and the connectedness of the land we inhabit. But how do we reconcile differences among these nations with the idea of becoming one unified body bound together by peace?
A couple of weeks ago I traveled to El Paso, Texas to act on the abuses of migrants happening on both sides of the border. On my way to El Paso, I felt a sense of happiness and homecoming since it was where I crossed the border as a child over 20 years ago. At the same time, I imagined what my mother must have felt when we first came through so long ago. I imagined the fear and anxiety of arriving to a new land with new customs and culture. I was torn between emotions of painful memories and the anticipation of accompanying and advocating for migrants.I joined a coalition of people looking to serve our refugee relatives through direct action and accompaniment. We addressed the struggle for migrant justice as an issue related to imperialism, capitalism, and anit-blackness, while simultaneously recognizing the genocide of indigenous peoples, and again, how we are connected to the land through our occupation over many generations. For many, they may see countless social issues as distinct or detached. This could be farther from the truth.
Our group came united as advocates for a more humane immigration system and justice for indigenous people who continue to fight for the right to their ancestral lands. We came from all over the nation to redefine history in a way that encompassed the intersectional concerns that have divided us into the “two kingdoms.” I was challenged and changed when I saw the power of unity among a diverse group of people seeking to offer the same sanctuary God gave to us. It is through this type of unity that I believe we can heal our broken world.
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.