By Rev. Shawna Foster
I’m not going to debate facts with you. Stuff like – this part of Colorado is Spanish-speaking because it was part of Mexico until 1845, or that immigrants commit crime at a much lower rates than than people born here, or that immigration has always been a race issue since Europeans landed and determined native peoples here were religiously not people, or that immigrants are not stealing our jobs – none of this is going to change your mind about ‘putting America first’.
Instead I’m going to ask you to not be afraid. I want you to pause and ask yourself, who is in charge? What sectors of society benefit from an immigration mess? Who gave who jobs, who is creating wealth where, and who is benefiting from that wealth? Who wants you to be afraid? Who benefits from your fear?
In our culture we are taught to protect the powerful and to hate the powerless. To fear those who are not responsible for an unjust system. To turn away from our neighbors and tune into shocking stories about different people that are rare and that distorts their humanity. We become distortions ourselves; afraid of our neighbors, afraid of people we don’t know, afraid to put our names next to our own beliefs, constantly angry to cover up fear. When we are afraid, we don’t blame the people who design the system to be broken or confront the powerful. The powerful are those who are able to make things happen in our political system, and that is not the immigrant.
You don’t have to spread your fear throughout our community and ask us to spy on each other to put America first. America today is a nation of many peoples with many differences and appreciating this is our strength. When we look to our leaders, understand that the fear mongers are just as bad as snake oil salesman. They are selling something and it ain’t good.
Instead, look to leaders who ask you to take heart. Who ask you to understand one another, to meet the unknown, who have no clear solutions and know that the only way we can figure this out is together. Please, no more flyers asking us to report members of our community to the federal government. Instead, come talk to me, to others you don’t know or understand, and let’s figure this out together. I’m at the Third Street Center, #23 or 970-510-0442 or firstname.lastname@example.org.