This past Sunday I attended a conference on the effects of policy changes on Undocumented Immigrants and came away convinced that our nation is drifting head long into another mistaken reaction (Iraq was the first) that makes villains of Hispanics and Latino regardless of their status. I have seen "immigrant" come to mean the same thing as "illegal alien" in my own church. I have heard of local law enforcement racial profiling and fishing for "illegal aliens" at road blocks and in diners and in schools ("Gee thanks Mr. SRO for catching that dirty illegal alien!") and listened to politicians, Democratic and Republican, jump on the "What part of illegal do you not understand" band wagon for the sake of votes. I have neighbors who have attacked and robbed Hispanics without fear or prosecution, know of police that decline response based on status. I see Hispanics that are suffering mental illness and stress and read of attempted suicide rates unacceptable in a humane world. I have watch the national news focus on the most divisive and simplistic aspects of undocumented immigration and I AM MAD about it all.
Rather than simply rage on I have created a " Table of Honor to Mexican / Latino Immigration" to remind us that their are good people hidden behind these labels we so easily apply to dismiss so many of our neighbors.
Anyone can donate an item in honor of a loved one or friend from Latin America- regardless of their status; citizen, legal immigrant, or illegal. Flowers, letters, pictures have already been given. This table has appeared in Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Greensboro, and Winston-Salem. It was disassembled without my permission in the latter two communities.
Searching for the brighter side of human nature is an idea that cannot be disassembled- at least in my home and at this table.