Dispatches From the Border: On the Way

It does not escape my attention that I am now sitting on an airplane, winging toward the great state of Texas (typed with not a little sarcasm, sorry Texan friends) that when this aircraft arrived at LaGuardia Airport last night or early this morning it likely carried unaccompanied migrant children separated from their parents at the border.  Those children have now become New Yorkers, at least for the moment, bringing what may have felt like a distant news story into full color reality in my own neighborhood of Harlem.

This raises the question that has been plaguing me ever since I began thinking about traveling to the border: “Why am I going?  How will my traveling to Texas make a difference in what seems like an overwhelming flood of evil—too big and too strong to stop?”

To fully answer that, of course, you’d have to accompany me to therapy and eavesdrop on the perpetual conflict I feel about the platform I currently steward and how and when to use it most effectively.

But my hesitation may be deeper than that.  I think I’m afraid.

I’m afraid to join the other clergy there, trying to raise their voices because…what if our efforts yield nothing?

I’m afraid to see the physical manifestation of policies our president and government have enacted—out in the open, in full color.

I’m afraid I’ll see the cages and hear the crying and not be able to help.

I’m afraid I will write about what I see and experience and people—some of them people I love—will dismiss this evil as they have continuously done since the presidential election and even before.

I’m afraid of confronting a reality I know is already here: we are living in a moment in America when people of faith cannot be silent anymore.

Many have pointed out that this country was built by immigrants.  In my circles folks like to remember that Jesus was an immigrant.  You can argue national values or biblical precedent as you talk about what’s happening right now on the US/Mexico border and now around our country, but as I sit here on this airplane all I can think about is just plain human kindness:  Have you ever been so desperate to get out of a situation you would do anything to make it happen?  Have you ever seen your child or a child you loved in pain or in danger?  Have you ever lacked for basic needs or human comfort and been helped by someone who showed you kindness?

If you have ever had any of these experiences, then you must open your heart to hear the stories of people—human beings—whose suffering we can ease by sharing a bit of what we have or even just by showing common human kindness.

I don’t know what I’ll find at the border when I get there later today, but here I am, looking evil straight in the face…and trying not to flinch.  I’ll tell you what I find.

Pastor Amy is joining a delegation of of 11  women faith leaders who will travel to the Texas/Mexico border to confront the Trump Administration’s cruel and immoral family separation and family detention policies which treat people seeking safety from violence as criminals and incarcerates entire families. Click here to see the complete collection of Dispatches from the Border.