Day 39 | The Power of Unity
BY CARLOS RODRIGUEZ | April 13, 2019
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.
As a resident of New Hampshire what agency/organization can I reach out to to volunteer for immigrants in my area? I have no idea where to start and since my state is not normally in the news concerning immigration I have not heard of any places looking for volunteers.
I pray so!
I was in ElPaso last August and I was overwhelmed by the generosity of so many different groups of people reaching out to our brothers and sisters there. It helped me almost forget the negative rhetoric that is tweeted almost everyday in our nation. We are one and need to act that way for the life of the world.
I just arrived from serving 2 weeks in el Paso, at Casa Oscar Romero, one of Annunciation House many shelters and this is exactly how I felt. Many volunteers, from different parts of the country, with different backgrounds and gifts, joined together to help our immigrant sisters and brothers. I have never felt happier or more loved. I pray for you, Carlos Rodriguez, for your witness and example. May God continue to bless and protect you.
There lies strength in unity.
Gracias, Carlos, for your example of courage and hope. Where can I get one prominent pink U? I want to wear it proudly to support and honor you?
I meant Scarlet, of course!
Thank you for recognizing the amazing and beautiful response of El Paso community members. One of our mantras is, “There are no illegal human beings.” We are doing our best to respond to suffering families with little support from the federal government which has the responsibility to assist people in danger who are seeking asylum. Please pray for our community – if you want to donate, search the website of Annunciation House. May God bless you and all of us!