This week, I was delighted to participate in the IIIC’s community building gathering, Citizens Empowered, hosted in partnership with the Bostonian Society and the Fish Family Foundation. At the core of these round-table discussions is our steadfast belief that becoming a US citizen is going beyond completing the paperwork and passing the exam, but that citizenship is a call to action…
To vote, to be empowered, to engage in the community, to stand for justice, to be kind, and to be an UPstander. If we wish to live in a society that protects and promotes fundamental human rights, this call to action is imperative for all of us: from new citizens who immigrated only a few years ago to those who have always called America home.
I was deeply impressed by stories shared of civic engagement and acts of kindness – particularly in light of the news this week that the administration is stripping children at border detention centers of English classes, legal aid, and even recreational soccer. It is hard to believe that someone in our government is actually sitting down, planning and conspiring, to take away soccer balls from detained kids. God help these children and our country.
In these dark times, it is imperative that we are upstanding citizens, rooted in kindness, generosity and empathy. I know in my inner being that it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness, but it is so hard not to speak out against this cruelty and madness.
Last night at my son Rory’s high school graduation, Cambridge’s Mayor Marc McGovern shared a wonderful story about a volunteer in a refugee camp who offered a simple act of kindness for a young refugee. This act eventually led to a reunion with her family in the United States and her graduation from Harvard University. A lesson that even small acts of kindness carry farther and impact our community more than we can ever know.
In the summer of 2019, I encourage us to take a stand for kindness and justice: for immigrant families building a new life in the U.S., for refugees fleeing violence and persecution, and for children at the border who were just further deprived of freedom and humanity. After over two years of this administration, we must still be relentless and upstanding members of our community – when we look back at this time, we will want to know that we did everything possible to stand up against injustice.
Please join and support the IIIC in this effort by volunteering or contributing to our work.
PS: Happy Pride – we are looking forward to walking this weekend behind the Irish for Pride banner.
I’m always good for a poem – I shared this poem by Ijeoma Umebinyuo on Tuesday and recommend having a read!