A Jesuit educated Baptist activist friend emailed me about a 285 mile Pilgrimage for a Pathway to Citizenship. After reading his email I questioned myself if my response should be as a Muslim-at-peace or a citizen-agitated. Read the rest and tell me if my response was influenced by my faith or impacted by my agitation.
For almost two decades, I remain agitated for our nation's indifference toward the now demonized "un-documented," who were freely exploited from the valleys of California to the shores of Maine. And during these last twenty years, the poor and the un-documented became poorer and powerless while the plantation capitalists became richer and more indifferent. Some pundits even screamed from their bullhorns, that the un-documented are the "diseased aliens," not worthy of documentation, let alone any recognition. And, this makes me a citizen-agitated.
For more than a millennium, my faith teaches me that "when you see a wrong, right it." This mandate is without an option for neutrality, let alone apathy. The choices to right the wrong includes, “action," "speech" or "empathy," in that order. Action is considered to be an expression of the strongest of faith while empathy, though admirable is considered as the weakest expression of the faithful. And, this teaching makes me a Muslim-at-peace.
My agitation as a citizen and inspiration as a faithful now morally binds me to the more than 11 million undocumented women and men of myriad faiths and diverse tradition.
It is for these reasons I decided to join the pilgrimage for a pathway to citizenship and walk 111 miles in solidarity with and dignity for the 11 million undocumented women and men, young and old of our nation.
Along the way from August 24 to September 2, I will walk and learn their stories and share mine with them. Together, we will walk, pray and break bread. We will also sing and may even cry. But for the 10 days as a pilgrim for a pathway to citizenship, come what may - rain or shine, we will be one ... walking for respect and dignity and demanding honor and equality. And this, I believe could be a duty of every citizen, agitated or not and an obligation of each faithful, a Baptist or a Muslim!
I invite you to walk with me virtually by visiting this blog. Also, hold us in your thoughts and prayers. And if you cannot do either, I ask that you consider the following:
1. Write to Rep. Kevin McCarthy or your legislator and ask them to support comprehensive immigration reform that includes pathway to citizenship without hurdles and obstavcles.