Monday, April 7, 2014

Immigration... 64... no repeats... or hesitations

Preface: Recently, a few people, yes, more than one, asked me why I stopped protesting, or, when I will start again. I am not sure how it was asked, as it was all written-word, but I worry it was a challenge. I imagined them asking through pursed lips while doing a weird, ghetto head move. As if I was a fair-weather protestor, a giver-upper. I assure you, I'm not. Activism is my nature. At 14 years old, I started sending around petitions to teachers, friends, and family. I would raise money and get signatures constantly.

Even in my personal life, I would protest anything I didn't agree with within my family. Hunger strikes, speaking strikes, lists of hundreds of reasons a rule should be changed or I should be allowed to do something.  I'm stubborn, it's my nature. I get what I want; what the world needs.

Today I went to a rally. A rally for the Dream Act. A rally against discrimination. A rally where immigrants, their children, and their friends spoke out and told their stories. Some of their stories were truly heart-wrenching. These individuals, humans of the same Earth, as the rest of us, have had to go through so much pain and so many obstacles in order to survive.

Here are some photos I took at the event. Mind you, I did not take photos of the poster that spelled 'illegal' wrong...  I'm biased and some people are stupid. What can you do?

I am making this brief for two reasons. One is that I am not directly involved or affected by this cause. It means a lot to me, I care about every individual and their issues, but this seems like something these people have to speak out against. I am just here as a background voice to support them. I have NO idea what it's like to be them and in their position. I am not so stupid as to act as if I do. Second, there is something that arose, closer to home, that I wish to discuss. So, here you are:

The other action that I feel needs to be brought up is the act of giving. I realize I've covered the issues of kindness and goodness and blerp-blerp, being a decent human being before. I don't think I've stressed the importance of every individual, though. I get tired of seeing every believer fighting for the same causes, then moving on when the next big thing comes along. People tend to forget what they believed in. They forget the everyday person they are.

I am honoured to be close friends with a gentleman a few states away. We've been friends for several years now and he's always been nothing but kind and patient with me. We truly care about one another. However, having followed his dream and passion of the musician's life, he now has regrets. He is now at the point near starvation due to money issues. He jokes about his hunger and poor nutrition, because he knows, complaining and misery never solved anyone's problems. Might as well carry a smile as much as possible. We are aware of his difficulties, though. His family, his friends, myself... we all know he is in trouble.

A few years back, I tried to get donations to send him. I tried to reach out to social media in order to collect for this man's wellness and survival. It went ignored. Disheartening. Finally, I decided it was the day to help a fellow in need. I could not offer much, as I am dependent on others for funding, but just when I was tempted to order food for myself (something I never do), I decided instead to order a meal for him on GrubHub. I asked his address and had it sent to him. I kept asking him, "You'll be home in an hour, right? Not going anywhere? Don't move!" I joked, but I was extremely excited to hear of his meal coming. An hour later, he sends me a message. He is nearly in tears. The food arrived and he was absolutely astonished and overjoyed. He kept asking how he could repay me, as he sat and ate his first real meal in who knows how long.

I told him all I wanted in return was a photo of him enjoying the food. He did not have a proper camera or phone to take the photo, but he sent me a blurry photo. Seeing his smile as he sat with the meal made my heart crumble and then melt and then evaporate. I was rather hungry myself at this point, but seeing this photo was a thousand times more fulfilling than any meal. Not just because it was a man I cared about being taken care of, but because he is a human being. After all the difficulties in life and the people who let him down, he was finally being given the care he needed. Even if it was only tiny. For a little over $20, both of our evenings were just a tad more beautiful.

Why did I feel it was so important to share this story? Because, like I said, we forget to take care of people. We forget the joy of it. We think of the money or the time we need for ourselves, or the big story we want to explore, but we forget these moments. They are more healing than yoga or vitamins or anything we are so certain will cure us. If you're really looking to find happiness and youth and live longer, these actions will save you. Don't forget them the next time someone is fundraising or inviting you to a charity event, or someone asks for a little help. It might just be the most gratifying thing you ever do.

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