August 25, 2015, Chino Valley- This part of August has often hung heavy on me, both weather-wise and emotionally. This year, things are a tad different. I have taken sage advice, from three of the people I trust the most in this world, and have set aside my own apprehension about one of the two most important people in my life. She will be fine.
Today was the second of four days, working with a varied and somewhat troubled group of youth. Time was, when I thought I had NO IDEA how to reach out to adolescents, and hung back, accordingly. The time I spent as a counselor, on the Navajo and Hopi Nations, helped mightily in that regard. Both the bonds I developed, and the criticism I got from others, worked to help my sense of proactivity, in helping all young folks. Then, too, raising a child through turbulence smoothed many of my own rough edges.
The past two days have gone well enough, for me, and a fair amount of meaningful work has been accomplished. Towards the end of the day, a student came in, sat down, and wept, in as private a manner as possible. This is the human face of the whole immigration imbroglio. It is too easy for those who “have theirs” to demand: The Fence; the Military Force; No Dream; No Daylight. There are those who are struggling, among the people who were born and raised among a long line of “True Americans”. They are, quite often, being duped by the puppetmasters, who call for whatever it is they sense the public wants. Demagogues have done this, across the globe and down the centuries, and so it goes.
The Fence will not end the struggles of those who look like me. The young person who was surrounded by love in our classroom, this afternoon, has more than just immigration with which to contend. There are the normal day-to-day matters of adolescence, which know no frontiers. There are the hopes, the trust, and, yes, the dreams, which short-sighted people would squash. Make no mistake: This nation is not alone, in keeping up an “Us vs. Them” mentality. The very nations, from which many new arrivals come, are themselves keepers of a draconian mindset, when it comes to “The Other”. It is wrong, no matter where it is promulgated.
The young person left class today with some hope, esperanza. I wish the same for any child or teen, anywhere. There is so much to be done.