Last week at a Social Justice class at the University of Portland, a local Roman Catholic college, a student asked me, "How do you deal with your anger over injustice?" I thought for a moment and said that I try to channel my anger into action - to take my passion and put it into making change.
It is Sunday morning and I am reading the Sunday New York Times. The lead article in The Week in Review is by Sonia Nazario focuses on how the United States is paying Mexico to stop the movement of Central American children and their families at the Mexican southern border with Guatemala. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/11/opinion/sunday/the-refugees-at-our-door.html?ref=americas&_r=0
It is an incredible story - painful to read and to realize that once again my government is denying people with legitimate claims to asylum the opportunity to be heard and to enter the United States where their legal claims can be made. I stand up, go over to the kitchen sink and yell at the top of my lungs, IT IS NOT FAIR, IT IS WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!!!
So you told this student last week to "channel anger into action." What is the action that you can take? Suddenly the words of Oliver Mtukudzi's song WHAT SHALL WE DO echo in my mind. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfdI-Nw0kkM. This famous Zimbabwean singer wrote this song about African people dying of AIDS - it is a haunting tune that keeps asking, What shall we do?
I don't know what you will do to take action and to change the illegal, immoral actions towards refugees fleeing violence. My friend Rev. Randy Mayer wrote a powerful editorial to members of the U.S. Congress about Operation Streamline. http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/civil-rights/256415-stop-operation-streamline.
TAKE ACTION - DO SOMETHING WITH YOUR ANGER!
Today I am writing this blog to urge every person who reads my blog to take action - write an op ed piece, email or call your member of Congress to vote against Operation Streamline funding, volunteer with local immigrant justice groups. As of November 1 I will be back in Tucson, Arizona working with the various humanitarian aid groups to provide support for people caught up in the broken immigration system and writing about it. Anger can be good - especially righteous anger that lifts us out of our every day routine and gets us motivated to change unjust systems. Go for it - take action and take heart from Oliver's Song - What can we do?
My life has been about crossing borders and cultures and building bridges across the boundaries that normally divide. Have you crossed any borders in your life?