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The Crisis of Our Borders

From the novel The Veins of the Ocean by Patricia Engel:

“But the thing about loyalty,” he says, “is that it always has a cost. I’m here with you in your home eating this nice fish we bought together, but I can’t look at it without thinking of the money we spent on it, knowing that this is money that would have fed my family for one week. I can’t eat a meal without thinking of the food I’ve taken out of my children’s mouths. I can’t spend a dollar without calculating the pesos it would have put in my mother’s hands...I can’t start a new life when my life is still back there. I didn’t want to leave. Everybody thinkings everybody wants to leave - but who would want to leave their home, their family, everything they love? We leave because we have to….This is what family does. What love does. It chains us together.”

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We talk about fighting for one another as family. About how for some of us transgender identity or the migrant caravan are "issues" or "news." For others of us it is the violent erasure or racist war on our family.

After the violent shootings in Pittsburgh and Kentucky, Maurice Mitchell and Dania Rajendra wrote “Solidarity is the idea that we don’t have to be the same to want the best for one another, that we can keep each other safe, we can share what we have, that we can find our way to consensus about how best to be in community together, better known as “democracy.” And that we will fight for it and for one another.”

Last Monday, a few of us in Boston interrupted hate with love. Rev. Darrell Hamilton, Rev. Natalie Malter, Rev. Will Green and transgender activist Mateo Cox entered a room of White Christian Nationalists where Jeff Sessions was speaking on religious liberty. Mateo unfurled a trans flag that read, “Not Erased.” Rev. Darrell and Rev. Will prayed Matthew 25 “I was a stranger and you did not welcome me,” and Rev. Natalie documented it all. Rev. Will called on Jeff Sessions, the Attorney General under whose leadership the Department of Justice has attacked immigrants, transgender folks, Black activists, voting rights and more, to repent, to care for those in need, to remember that “when you do not care for others, you are wounding the body of Christ.” 

What we do to each other, we do to spirit, god and the divine. 

What we do to each other, we do to ourselves. 

When we refuse to protect each other, we refuse universalism, we refuse love, we refuse our own dignity.

White supremacy and white Christian nationalism have said that there is a crisis at our border. 

We have no crisis at our border. Actually, families are migrating as so many families always have. Actually, people are being denied their legal right to seek asylum and safety. Actually, people are being taught to fear, to wound their kindred and, in the end, themselves.

We have no crisis at our border. 

But we do have a crisis of our borders. 

The crisis is believing there is a border between who is human and worthy of dignity and who is not. 

The crisis is believing that we who are trans, we who are immigrants, we who are Black, we who are indigenous, we who are disabled, we who are survivors, we who are Muslim, we who are Jewish are on the wrong side of that border. 

The crisis is that many of us are letting this border between who is beloved, and who is not, rule us in the form of laws, culture, practices and policies.

The crisis is that some don't understand that what we fail to do for others, we fail to do for ourselves and our divine. 

The crisis is whether we think we can survive if our sibling does not.

Hold your loved ones close. Celebrate all those who are fighting like hell for liberation and solidarity. Sing, cook, feast, rest, vote, organize, and build. As Charlene Carruthers writes, "Know that transforming society will take organized people and organized resources to sustain any given policy victory that is won before or after election day. Know that if the candidate we support wins, they will only be as strong as the organizational forces who are resourced, ready and committed to consistently showing up after election day. And finally, know that if we are not ready to win, then we must do all that we can to get ready."

We are in a crisis and we know the way out. Day by day, year by year, love will free us all.