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International Migrants' Day Posada for Human Rights

by Rockero Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010 at 9:58 AM
rockero420@yahoo.com

Saturday, December 18, 2010

SAN BERNARDINO, California - A small but dedicated group of labor, immigrant rights, and religious activists gathered on International Migrant's Day to promote the human rights of migrants through the Mexican Christmas tradition of the posada. Beginning at San Bernardino's day labor corner, the processioners gathered under storm clouds just as the sun set to pray, lament the non-passage of the DREAM Act, and sing, before proceeding to St. John's Episcopal Church for tamales, champurrado, and piñata.

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At the corner of Lincoln and 21st, where laborers gather daily to seek employment, often without any guarantee of safety or even fair payment, about 35 people held lit candles beneath a wet sky. Representatives of the Rapid Response Network, the San Bernardino Catholic Diocese, La Obra de San Martín, St. Patrick's in Moreno Valley, Warehouse Workers United, Congregations United for Change, Our Lady of Hope in San Bernardino, Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice, St. John's Episcopal, and the Pomona Economic Opportunity Center were among those present.

In homage to the journey of the migrant family considered holy by members of Christian traditions, who ventured from inn to inn in search of posada, or shelter, the activists asked through their ceremony, "Is there no room for me at the workplace? Is there no room for me at your school? Is there no room for the migrant in our society?"

After an initial round of villancicos and introductions, religious leaders shared reflections.

Father David Starr, pastor of St. John's, prayed. "Gracious and Loving God, we just give you thanks for this rain that waters the ground. We give you thanks that it nourishes us with your love. We thank you that we're all here this evening, that we're all together to march for justice: Justice for our laborers, for those that do the work with their backs. We ask you dear God to bless this march, bless it and give us the strength to go out into the world and preach your peace and justice."

Petra Alexánder then shared a word about hope. "Muchas veces podemos nosotros identificar gente que tiene esperanza desde el brillo de sus ojos, desde la sonrisa, desde la franqueza con que nos ofrece una mano. La palabra 'esperanza' tiene mucho que ver con el futuro. Tiene que ver con aquella capacidad de poder mirar que después de todo túnel oscuro, hay algod e luz. Por eso la palabra esperanza se conecta con ese símbolo, de ir iluminados, ¿verdad? Porque cuando nosotros tenemos una luz, por pequeña que sea, esa chispita es capaz de disipar la oscuridad más profunda. Por eso, trabajar por la inmigración, es sobre todo, asegurar nuestra esperanza viva. Así como él que va a atravesar un camino oscuro necesita proteger su luz para que no se la apague el viento, para que no se le muera, y si se le apaga su luz, puede perderse, también, nosotros que creemos que el trabajo por la inmigración debe seguir adelante, estamos invitados como dijo el apóstol San Pedro, a esperar contra toda esperanza, a mantener nuestra esperanza en tacta. Y yo creo que ese es el desafío hoy, sabiendo estas tristes noticias de que el DREAM Act no ha pasado. Éste es el desafío de sentir la fealdad de tante gente que le da la espalda a la causa de los inmigrantes. Ésto es lo más importante cuando sentimos que en el ambiente, toda la gente está en contra y tenemos la sensación de caminar contracorriente. Por eso creo yo que, pues, nos ayuda este símbolo, de este día de invierno, de esta lluvia, precisamente a desafiar nuestra esperanza. Todo lo que nosotros enfrentamos hace crecer la esperanza, los obstáculos fortalecen nuestra esperanza, y yo quisiera que esta noche pidiérmos de una manera bien intensa que los trabajadores de día con día citan aquí, con la esperanza que llegue alguien que los levante con la esperanza de llevarse un salario, con la esperanza de que sus hijos tengan mejor vida. Todas esas esperanzas nacen de que tenemos la conciencia de que somos seres humanos, que somos personas con valor. Cuando ya nosotros nos sentimos devaluados, perdemos también la esperanza, entonces vamos hoy a unir nuestra esperanza a la certeza de la dignidad de los hijos de Dios, a la certeza de que hay una gran dignidad en cada persona, cruce las fronteras que cruce, tenga las pobrezas, las carencias que tenga, lo más importante, el diamante que tenemos cada uno adentro, es su dignidad de hijo de dios. Pot esta esperanza yo les invito a todos a iniciar hoy esta posada, y a iniciar también otro estadio de seguir luchando por la misma causa."

Moisés Escalante added, "Cayó de que hoy es 18 de diciembre. Y el 18 de diciembre del año 2000, es el Día Internacional de los Migrantes. Es muy interesante que en la Declaración de los Derechos Humanos de la Naciones Unidas, las Naciones Unidas hacen un llamado al los gobiernos, y las entidades públicas, para que se proteja los derechos de los inmigrantes. Entonces significa que cuando el gobierno de este país no hace lo que el Día Internacional de los Migrantes, no hace nada por proteger los derechos humanos de los inmigrantes, estamos nosotros para seguir luchando para que sus derechos humanos, en este país también derechos civiles, se respeten y nos vean por lo que somos: personas con dignidad, personas que venimos a aportar a esta sociedad, personas que pagamos impuestos."

A planned stop at the high school was forgone due to the weather, but the celebration continued at St. John's, where the wayfarers were finally granted admission. Another round of songs, prayers, and pleas for the rights of migrants and workers were shared. Volunteers served donated champurrado and tamales, and the children took turns swinging at a piñata. When it was ruptured, like many of our dreams had been that morning when we learned about the fate of the DREAM Act, sweets exploded onto the floor. Genuine change in the world will come about only through the efforts of the social movements, and only through our continued struggle will we be able to leave a sweeter future for our children.

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by Rockero Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010 at 9:58 AM
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Day labor corner

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by Rockero Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010 at 9:58 AM
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Day labor corner

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by Rockero Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010 at 9:58 AM
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speakers

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Pidiendo posada en St. John's

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Bringing in the crèche

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Christmas tree

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