Yesterday I woke to the news that President Trump had signed another Executive Order, this one banning refugees and citizens of seven Muslim countries. Never mind if they already have a green card. Never mind that it is unlikely to reduce and terrorist threat against our country (NY Times). Never mind that it was not well organized caused chaos as Immigrations and Custom officials tried to figure out their jobs (CNBC). Never mind that it caused a five-year-old kid to be detained and his mother to feel that terror in our country (ABC affiliate). Yesterday I also saw friends on Facebook posting status updates about how they were tired of political posts. That if you really thought there was a problem, do something and stop posting there. That they wanted Facebook to go back to fun updates of our kids. That we needed to give our new President a chance. No. Yes, this is my president. No, I didn't vote for him, but that doesn't negate the first fact. But that does not mean I'm showing blind support. Would I like him to be successful as our leader? Absolutely. However if this past week is what I have to look forward to, I'm concerned. There are moments in my life that stand out to me in learning about history, where I wonder why people stood by, were silent. The Holocaust, of course. But also learning about Internement Camps as an adult - because I sure didn't learn about them in school. Finding out that a family member - Japanese American - had been required to live in one. Wondering why our country was so ready to take away the rights of its citizens. Learning about the Civil Rights movement. Realizing that much of it occurred in the decade before I was born. Understanding that when we turn a blind eye, when we care more about ourselves than others, we can rationalize almost anything. In the last few years the photos of refugees haunt me. The Syrian toddler on the beach. The Syrian boy in the back of the ambulance. The photos of the enormous refugee camps around the world. (HERE) We must do more. But it isn't just refugees. We have to be certain that our fear, our ignorance, isn't making us turn our back on others. Placing this ban on immigrants of these seven countries will not keep us safe. Building a wall between us and Mexico won't stop drugs from flooding our country. Circling the wagons does not provide safety here. It makes us look ridiculous. This is not who we are. This is not what I want from a leader. What I want is someone willing to sit down, to problem solve, to try and work through our problems, not bully them away. A leader says things like this:
Which sounds awfully similar to this:
So, no. I won't be quiet on Facebook and only post photos of my sons and dog. Those will still be there too, but because of them, I will speak up. As I sat in mass last night, it was all I could think of. Our priest shared the verse I have in the photo at the top of this post after our Gospel reading.
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
It made me pause, really lean into his homily. Looking the other way is not what God asks of us. Treating people with fear, to protect ourselves isn't either. We need to show love. We need to lean in, with love. I do that in my daily life, always. I am speaking up with love now as well. I've donated to CARE and the ACLU. I will continue to volunteer my time where I can. I will read articles, be educated, and talk to friends. I will turn with love, not hate and ignorance. And I will pray. I cannot sit by in silence and watch injustice occur. Lin-Manuel Miranda says, "History has its eyes on you..." and I do believe it does. Our actions are our legacy. What will you do?
This week several friends told me they were looking for hope, that their outlook in the world was bleak. My reply was that I was filled with hope. I think most of us in education can find hope when we look at our students. I can find the positive in life when I am with them. Whether it was in their awe of Malala as we studied her story this week, to their shock at the education policies in some countries, to their realization of their own privilege in this one, or their love of their books they were reading, my students are beacons of hope. I asked them to share what they are reading today so we could share their book/ recommendations with the world and maybe give you a bit of a bright spot in your day. So, without further ado, here they are: