Articles By This Author
A Roadmap to Citizenship Is 'Within Reach'
In the fall of 2006 I saw Alfonso, one of my favorite young middle school students, walking around our neighborhood as I drove to the office. It was mid-day, and it was unusual for him to be out of school and on the streets as he was a good kid. I pulled over and hollered at him, "Why aren't you in school?" Well, he had been suspended. I told him to get in the car.
We hung out the rest of the day; we prepped for youth group the next night, buying food at Costco and making calls at the office. We walked over to my apartment talking about life and how to avoid suspension from school in the future. Talk turned to immigration and his status. I told him I was committed to giving whatever it took to fixing our broken immigration system, for however long it took, so his family and others we cared about could dream of a bright future. I asked him if he was open to working with me; still uncomfortable with sharing his status with others, he said he'd like to think more about it.
I had forgotten about this story until he reminded me of it yesterday as we boarded a plane together to see President Barack Obama speak about immigration in Las Vegas.
RGIII and Some Tibs
We had literally just paid for our food. It was some takeout place without any seating close to our hotel that the front desk had recommended as the only place still open. I walked outside to enjoy the crisp evening D.C. air, quite different from the still-tepid Arizona evenings we had just left. Next door to the take-out place was a lively dive full of guys deeply invested in the soon-to-end Redskins/Giants game on Monday Night Football. The neon sign in the glass glowed "open." I told my buddy we had made a serious mistake on our dinner choice. Tyler replied, "I already paid, man." "Go and get your money back," I pushed. He said I was more the type to go insult the nice woman behind the counter and cancel our order. It turns out he was right.
Inside the new place, we settled down to a few beers and ordered some finger foods to watch the rest of the football game. Nobody cared that Robert Griffin III was playing a below-average game. You could tell these guys had watched this team before without a good quarterback and now with one - a seriously good one — he would get a pass. The Redskins converted on third down. RGIII could take a knee. The room went nuts.
It was a friendly place; the locals allowed us to be fans with them. The owner came up and brought a little extra food on the house. All told, it was a great American night: Friendly football fans at their favorite neighborhood dive, where everybody knows your name, treating the new guy like your childhood pal. You could imagine the Founding Fathers smiling down upon us.
Except Tyler and I were likely the only native-born dudes in the room. Everybody was cheering on the Redskins in Amharic while we ate injera, tibs, and wat with our fingers and drank St. George Lager. A picture of Haile Selassie and JFK together in a town car framed the wall. I love tibs.
Taking the Long View vs. the Fierce Urgency of Now: Lessons from Arizona
Arizona won a significant victory last week when Russell Pearce, author of Senate Bill 1070, lost in a first-ever recall election.
It was not without great effort. I’ve since been reflecting on the lessons of the work and how we traveled from the darkness of SB1070 to the hope we feel today.
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Archbishop Oscar Romero are our heroes. They shared much in common: Both ultimately were focused on being obedient to God and his call on their lives and as such they were both, first, ministers of the Gospel. King and Romero were fixated on justice — in love with poor people and hurting communities. Both searched for middle ground while others stayed safe inside comfortable margins; both were agents of reconciliation.
And, finally, both were martyred for their message.
Yet Romero and King have a seeming discrepancy I want to explore.
Romero called us to take the long view; King discussed the fierce urgency of now.
Romero essentially prays: Trust God, be faithful. King preaches: now is the time, act forcefully.
The Myth of Out-of-Control Border Violence
A Day in the Life of Phoenix
Lamentations and Turning the Next Page in Arizona's Immigration Struggle
A Word from Phoenix: 'I don't want my city to be the Birmingham or Selma in this drama'
Singing in Exile: An Arizona Church Responds to Immigration Enforcement Action
Immigration Enforcement Goes From Bad to Worse in Arizona
Notorious Arizona Sheriff has Federal Immigration Enforcement Role Revoked
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