News & Politics

And Our Children Will Lead Us – Y Nuestros Hijos Nos Llevará

My thoughts are satiated at the start of this holiday season with gratitude that collides with suspiciously behaving family members seated at our dining tables. I was hoping not to mention Bill Cosby and won’t attempt to unpack the troubling allegations of sexual assault recently lodged against him by scores of women. But I’m a Philly girl, born and raised. My mother grew up with him in their youth spent in the Richard Allen Housing Projects. I grew up with the Huxtables, had a mad crush on wife Claire, and also spent several years at Temple University—all Cosby monikers. In attempting to frame my agitation with these disclosures, I came across an appropriately oblique Ralph Waldo Emerson truism that states, “There are creative manners, there are creative actions, and creative words.”

I’m not convinced that Mr. Cosby’s delivered anything “creative” in his messaging so far.

In the search for meaning and purpose and personal accountability, my thinking shifts to tremendous acts of courage in young immigrant activists. Some are queer. Some are not. They’ve risked everything to stand in their truth. In so doing, they lead us through days and seasons of difficult meals and tabloid fodder, to tables that are plentiful, and filled with savory, sweet hope.

Cynthia Diaz is a 19-year-old student-activist, who committed to a hunger strike this past spring when her mother, Maria Del Rosario-Rodriguez, was detained in an Arizona facility for deportation to Mexico. Community outrage, along with her daughter’s action, pressured authorities and won her release. However, because the mother was deported four years ago, under new federal immigration policies, she is ineligible for citizenship and remains vulnerable to future deportations.

PHOTO CREDIT: ROSS D. FRANKLIN

PHOTO CREDIT: ROSS D. FRANKLIN

Watching Cynthia with her mom on the Melissa Harris-Perry (MHP) show, I couldn’t help but wonder if the complexities of immigration laws and rights to citizenship, can ever be played out fairly with a “sense of good” as Emerson envisioned.

Central to the agonizing status issues that shadow Diaz’s family, is the very notion of what is family, who gets to define it, and how or if those terms are negotiated justly, when LGBTQ identity raises the stakes?

Featured in the same MHP segment, was Gerardo Torres, a gay contractor, artist and activist, who represents a less visible and certainly less examined aspect of the undocumented, immigrant dilemma. Seen in the documentary, Undocubus Rider: A Journey From Arizona to DNC, Torres affirms himself as “a queer, undocumented Mexican.” He adds, “We exist. We are part of the community.” Immigration reform, he also reminds us, is a pressing LGBTQ question that requires at the very least, more creative actions.

Learn more about the stories and rising movement of LGBTQ undocumented immigrants at: OUT4CITIZENSHIP.

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2 Comments

  1. Eye-opening. I’ve never considered the LGBTQ issues from the viewpoints of immigrants..thanks for sharing this!

  2. Dr. Phyllis C. Brown says:

    Thank you for adding your voice, insights and perspectives on immigration in your article “Our Children Will Lead. Kudos, Phyllis

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