Saturday, August 17, 2013

Hoping to Walk the Talk ...

Nearly three decades ago

Nearly three decades ago, as I was leaving “home” as an economic émigré, I went to my mother and asked for words of wisdom that can guide my immigration journeys. She smiled and said: “you talk too much – it could be your strength but also your weakness.”

Mothers are indeed the custodians of knowledge and wisdom. I wish I had given due attention to her advise. Instead, I have been talking since and mostly non-sense.

About two decades ago, I had enrolled myself in a class for “public speaking.” I had hoped that a formal tutelage in talking would help me fine-tune my weaknesses that my mother was hinting toward.

My speech teacher opened the class with this sage advise; “it does not matter what you think on your seat, but it does matter what you say on your feet.”

Like mothers, teachers are also the custodians of knowledge and wisdom. I guess my speech teachers’ advise hit me close. I have been talking since, in public and on my feet – protesting this and challenging that. Although nothing got resolved but I keep talking from my seat and also on my feet and for over half a century. I believe it is time to stop talking and start walking.

From the eve of August 24, I will join a small group of conscientious p eople, who are doing just that. They are walking for dignity and also for freedom from the labels of ‘diseased,’ ‘undocumented’ and ‘illegal’ among others.

I will walk (hopefully without talking) a symbolic 111 miles for the 11 million fellow human beings. As a collective, they have been the subjects of hate and bigotry for too long.

I will walk in the tradition of Moses who walked out of Pharaoh’s land to free the oppressed. I will walk in the tradition of Jesus who walked and protested the oppressors. And, I will also walk in the tradition of Muhammad who walked from his birthplace to a city afar, for a better tomorrow of his people. Walking is prophetic. May God’s choicest blessings always be with all of them.

I am hoping that my 111 miles long walk in 8 days from the city of Fresno to the city of Bakersfield, if not prophetic, would be pleasant. I invite you to come along and join me from this space. And if you are really curious of my daily walking itinerary, click here.

Friends, you have always helped and supported my many adventures – from Bosnia to Banda Aceh and Occupied Palestine to Occupy Los Angeles. Please do me two more favors.

  1. Call/Email or walk into Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s and tell him that you support full and complete immigration reform and demand that no person be called illegal or undocumented. Remind him that God did not create people with documents but with dignity and honor. And insist that he should stand with the 11 million people and seek full citizenship for them and without conditions and now.
  2. And secondly – open your wallet and pitch in a dollar or a million. Nope it is not for me but to help those who are helping others. Please click here to do the needful.

And now I better shut up. My mother was right. I talk too much. It is time for a walk and to sing .. Si Se Peude!

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