Friday, March 31, 2006


Paul W. expressed some confusion about my last post. It's not that I don't understand the usage "illegal alien," it's just that where I am from it is a slur that no one should really use, any more than the English equivalent of "mojado." I fully understand the technical and colloquial use of the term. I would suggest that in Channing's terms that calling anyone an "illegal alien" is contrary to understanding the likeness of God in them. Furthermore, I would suggest that the theological calling of our tradition compells us to help all develop their faculties of the soul regardless of which side of which line they were born on.

I grew up in San Marcos, California. Thats 49 miles from the border. People would often visit (usually for underage drinking or cheap pharmaceuticals) Baja California without any thought to Alta California.

My first teaching work was 12 miles from the border. Some were born on one side, some were born on the other. The whole thing seems so much more arbitrary when you live there.

And the machinery of injustice is so much more real, when you have to drive by security checkpoints to get to Riverside or to visit family further north along Interstate 5. From the age of 6 on, visiting my grandparents or anyone else in my extended family meant having men in uniform with guns looking into our car to see our skin color. When we played youth soccer, one of the highlights of the year was the American Youth Soccer Organization day at Disneyland. La Migra would always look at us differently if a teammate named Sanchez or Lopez was going with us to Orange County.

Wake now compassion, give heed to the cry, voices of suffering fill the wide sky; take as your neighbor both stranger and friend, praying and striving their hardship to end.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Todos Somos Illegales

It is not clear to me how one could espouse the values of Unitarian Universalism and still consider any person illegal or alien. I want to thank the Latino/a, Chicano/a and Mexicano/a youth in my community that came out to take a stand earlier this week.

Tommorrow is the birthday of Cesar Chavez. His "The Organizer's Tale" is a favorite text of mine on organizing. I have been inspired by Father Victor Salandini (The tortilla priest) who worked with Chavez and the UFW. In my left wing student journalist days I got to meet Cesar Chavez, Fr. Salandini and Dolores Huerta of the United Farm Workers. My mouth still remembers the day that I ate grapes for the first time after the boycott ended.

I've had the pleasure over the year of teaching immigrant children from Asia, Africa and Latin America. I can still vividly remember the difference between Spanish speaking kids who went to school in California and were illiterate in two languages compared to my kids who went to elementary school in Mexico. For every time I had a upper middle class white parent try to make excuses or cut corners for their kid, I can tell you about the dedication of the parents (with questionable immigration status) who came here to give their kids an education.