By Francisco López
CAUSA Executive Director
It’s only the end of May and it has been by far an incredible five months in the campaign for a just comprehensive immigration reform that seeks to benefit thousands of immigrants in our state and millions more around the country. As I am sitting here writing my reflections of this first five months, I am feeling the unique and hopeful breeze of early summer in Oregon and my heart is full of pain and hope.
The pain is caused by unjust laws that separate families and declare immigrants obsolete. It is caused by hate crimes perpetrated against immigrants in our country and by the threatening phone calls received at CAUSA’s phone line by anti-immigrant groups. It is in the hate spearheaded against CAUSA through the airwaves by right-wing radio talk show hosts in Oregon and from the name calling and offensive comments towards immigrants. Lastly, the pain is in the rejection that comes from leaders whom we considered our “friends”.
Despite of all of this pain, there is also much HOPE. And the pain only makes me more determined. There is a very famous saying in Latin America, "la esperanza es lo ultimo que se muere", or "hope dies last".
HOPE is found in the hundreds of Latinas, Latinos and allies who marched for respect and dignity in St. Helens on February 18. It is found in the 450 Latinas and Latinos who came to the Immigrant Action Day at Chemeketa Community College on February 28 to plan and prepare for the just comprehensive immigration reform campaign this year. HOPE is also found in the 600 students who participated in the march and rally for comprehensive immigration reform at the offices of Congressman DeFazio in Eugene. And HOPE is found in the national meetings and conversations with US Congressional and White House officials this year regarding the urgency of a reform. In the more than 3,000 Latinas, Latinos and allies who marched at the Oregon State Capitol on May 1st despite the flu scare, the attacks by the right-wing in attempt to stop our march, HOPE is also found.
HOPE comes from the foundations and individuals that are providing financial support to our movement and are as committed as we are for a just comprehensive immigration reform this year. It is found in those e-mails calling for action and in the TV, radio, and newspaper interviews. It comes from the airwaves of PCUN Radio and is in all the actions that PCUN and CAUSA implemented during the first months of this year in Woodburn Salem, Eugene, Medford, Hermiston, Portland, and St. Helens. Last but not least, HOPE is found in the hundreds of individual relational meetings in our community. HOPE is in our midst.
My HOPE is that by the end of October our US Congress will be preparing to vote for a historic overhaul of our immigration system that will include the legalization and a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants in the United States. CAUSA’s commitment is to double the level of action that we had in the first five months of this year in the next five months. We will march and rally. Latina and Latino leaders will organize assemblies with Oregon’s Congressional delegation, teach leadership classes, and organize house meetings. Our actions in the next five months will be organized and deliberate. We will go to King Solomon and ask him for a wise decision, not for the half of the baby’s body, which is a dead body. We want a piece of bread which is life-giving.
In my native country of El Salvador, there is also a famous saying: "donde existe mucho dolor tambien existe mucha esperanza", or “where there is much pain, there is also much HOPE”.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
By Francisco López