Our Children Have Become Collateral Damage

We live, work, serve, and worship in a very diverse urban neighborhood. Our church held a prayer meeting Wednesday evening where about 30 folks attended, including many youth. Our group was as diverse as our neighborhood, and we had Latino, Black, and Caucasian folks join us.

The neighborhood surrounding the church is greater than 60% Latino, so helping our neighbors work through immigration challenges is a significant part of our justice ministry. We read Scripture, sang, and prayed. While the adults expressed dismay and anger about the election results, it was the youth, especially the teens, who displayed gut-wrenching anguish. Many youth in attendance have already been bullied by classmates telling them they would soon be deported. We heard that a best friend turned on a youth in our congregation, and said horrible and hateful things to him in school. Teens sobbed and shook as they shared their fears and anxieties about their blended documented/undocumented families being split up. Black teens prayed that our community wouldn't be torn apart. One white teen said that she was embarrassed to be white, and that she hadn't wanted to attend school and be blamed for the election results.

Here is what struck me: As adults we can and will work through the reality of a Trump presidency; however, our children have already become collateral damage from the hateful rhetoric and policies of an odious president-elect. Our youth will carry gut-wrenching burdens and scars that will continue to challenge, harm, and even deter the next generation growing up in our community. As a church, we must find a way to project Christ and His love, grace, and faithful fortitude as our families and community faces uncertainty, upheaval, and turmoil moving forward.

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