America. The Land of the Free. The home we were either born into or we made a decision to adopt. Either way, it’s a privilege to be here… and to get to stay here.
For the most part, we’ll never have to look over our shoulder to see who’s following us on the way to work. We’ll never be more scared to send our kids to school than we are at the prospect of them not receiving an education. We’ll never be so petrified by a knock on the door that we silently hunker down on the other side of it, not making a sound; not moving an inch; not taking a breath until we hear the footsteps fade into the distance.
Do you think the above scenarios sound overly dramatic? A stretch of the truth, maybe? Perhaps not, living in Memphis. However, this is affecting people all over our city.
Memphis’s Latino community has been bound by fear as they’ve watched a number of their men get taken away by the authorities. Wives don’t know if their husband will come home at the end of the day. Children are living with the very real possibility that their dad won’t be there that evening… or any evening. Parents are choosing not to take their kids to school. They’re afraid to go out and they’re afraid to stay home.
Every part of their daily life has become a source of anxiety.
Last week, Randy Odom (MAM) and I attended a meeting to learn more about the recent raids in our community by ICE (Immigration and Custom Enforcement) and what we can do to support our Latino friends.
Official numbers show that 83 Latino men were arrested in Memphis, Nashville, and New Orleans combined over recent months. To clarify, ICE is operating under the mandate to round up undocumented immigrants who have been involved in drug trafficking, gangs, and other serious crimes. The problem is that 64 of these 83 men are what ICE calls “noncriminal,” ie. they’ve never been involved in drug trafficking, gangs, or other serious crimes. And there’s the crux of the fear. Who’s next to be taken away and what happens to the family members left behind?
Regardless of our politics, there are families in Memphis who need to know they’re supported and someone cares. We at Highpoint Church are all about proving Love Works… and that includes loving Memphis’s immigrants.
Here’s how you can help…
On Monday morning:
- Choose from the list of schools below.
- If you have time, make a sign saying We love all our neighbors, or We love our immigrant neighbors, or EVERYONE is welcome in school, etc.
- Show up when school starts and give all students a warm welcome.
- Prove love works!
If you have Latino neighbors:
- Let them know you care.
- Get to know them.
- Be a difference maker in their life.
- Prove love works!
As the Serve Local and Serve Global Pastor at Highpoint Church, I’ll be welcoming the kids at Kingsbury Middle School at 7:15am tomorrow morning. I encourage you to select a school and join us as we welcome all kids back for the new school year.
Will our involvement totally eliminate the fear our Latino neighbors are experiencing? Probably not. But it will help. And we all want to know someone cares when we’re in a season of uncertainty… right?