Thursday, April 19, 2012

lamp posts along our journey

The realised vision of an egalitarian society rooted in justice, collaboration, and mutual aid may still exist far on the horizon, but lamp posts of compassion in action continue to light our way forward.  It's important to savour the seemingly small victories, especially when they mean the world to one individual, one family, one community.  Today I reflect upon such an event with gratitude and encouragement.

Noelia Ramos with her two children.

Lessy Noelia Ramos was one of the 361 victims of the horrific New Bedford raid over five years ago. (Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE, invaded a factory where workers like Lessy were making backpacks for U.S. troops. The workers were chained and shipped all over the country away from their families and their communities.)  After years of fighting the possibility of deportation, the 27-year-old mother of two was instructed to show up at the ICE office this past Wednesday with her bags packed a ticket back to Honduras.

Thanks to the mobilisation of community members, student groups, immigrant advocates, elected officials and many others, Noelia has received a one year stay of deportation, pending further review (see article about the victory, here.)  This mother, who suffers from post-partum depression, will remain with her family.  The people of New Bedford will retain a valued community member.  She will be able to continue working hard to support her family and to continue paying taxes to the country she calls home, a "nation of immigrants."

I'm writing this post not to expound upon the arguments for immigration reform, but to record my excitement and gratitude for everyone who made this happen, and my love and shared excitement for Ramos family.   

I learned about the case on Sunday afternoon, when I was walking by Arlington Street Church on my way with others to the #OccupyBoston Strategic Action Assembly.  A group of student activists with Student Immigration Movement were holding a vigil on the front steps of the church.  I went over to ask what it was about, and, my heart stings effectively pulled, immediately realised that this is a battle that we should be able to win!  I spent some time the next day helping to organise online support for the call-in day targeting the local ICE department and for the last-minute press conference to be held on Tuesday (see the action alert).  I also stopped by the Vigil during the madness of the Boston Marathon to help gather signatures.  It was a beautiful day to stand in solidarity and connect for change.

Noelia shares her story at a press conference on Tuesday.

Much gratitude to everyone who made a phone call to ICE and/or their elected representatives, to everyone who signed the petitions, to everyone who stopped to talk to folks at the vigil, to community members in New Bedford, to the organisers of this campaign, to immigrant advocates, to student activists, to elected officials and decision makers who finally made the right choice!  Thank you!

This might just be one small victory in the grand journey of the transformation that we are taking as a society, but celebrated and combined, these winds will fill our sail towards the horizon of justice and liberty.

Love and Gratitude, and Congratulations to the Ramos family.

No comments: