Every day millions of people come to America looking for an opportunity at life. Everyday millions of people wake up to be overloaded with work but choose to endure it, knowing it will provide a better future for their children. Everyday millions of people live by the nation’s rules, avoiding trouble, in order to be taken seriously in a place where they will never be accepted. Is it all worth it?
They all step into American soil for different reasons. Some in search of a greater life. Some in search of a breath of fresh air. Some in search of a smile in their family’s faces. They all think that everything in their life will start going uphill from that moment on but instead, are faced with even more prejudice. Everywhere they go, they will always be reminded that they don’t belong in America and will never be able to call it their home.
Last week I saw a video that broke my heart. It was a little girl pleading the government to bring her parents back to her. “I need my dad … mommy,” Magdalena, aged 11, cried, “My dad didn’t do nothing. He’s not a criminal.” At the start of August, some Mississippi children were forced to sleep in a community gym after their parents were detained by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on their first day of school. Imagine their dazed faces as they finish their first day of school and find out their parents have been taken? They were left temporarily homeless, oblivious as to what was happening around them. In the absence of their parents, members of their community donated food for them to eat, seeing as the government left them hopeless.
Immigrant workers have been fighting deportation for years. They have battled the struggles of unemployment, poverty and distress in order to rebuild their lives. They have walked the challenging path towards success but found deception around the corner. They have shed the tears of shame when being disdained merely for the prospect of their race. Why is it that their children need to pay the price for their errors when they have done nothing, to suddenly being thrust into adult roles? They need to live their childhood alongside their parents, seeing the world as a beautiful place full of opportunities. But no, they are instead exposed to the numbness of the world, having to support themselves whilst their parents face trial for solely wanting the best for their children.
A few weeks back there was, yet again, another shooting. This one felt more personal due to the fact that it happened as a result of the hate the shooter felt towards Hispanics. Being myself a Hispanic girl, I felt each bullet rip through my soul and was overwhelmed by a sense of fear. Fear of living in a country where I will need to be alert at all times and look over my shoulder continuously to feel reassured for just a second. This act of violence fueled other white supremacists to act up and threaten Hispanic immigrants. It made me wonder how it seems as if each shooting encourages others to follow the same example to express their ideas through violence. It is a chain reaction, meaning that now it has been launched, it will most likely never halt.
Many fear immigrants and non-white people only because they are different. They blame their fear on the fact that they seem dodgy and dangerous, but they don’t even give them the chance to redeem themselves. What is highly appalling is that almost all of America’s terrorists and shooters have been white. People should be afraid of their own community, instead of criticizing other ethnicities. They should learn that they have always been surrounded by the extremists, and watch over their backs for the people they think they know. At the end of the day, the people you least expect to blast, are often the ones that do so.
When will this hate end? Isn’t it time to embrace change, letting go of our differences? How much more do we have to withstand before people understand what is happening in our world? It pains me to see the agony families are suffering because of the label plastered on them. Children shouldn’t see this side of society, much more live by it. They shouldn’t be held accountable for people’s intolerant mindsets. It is essential that they grow up beside their hard-working parents, for they will be eternally grateful for the opportunities they have.
Let’s rise from these dark periods and bring forth progress. Because if we keep living this way, we will never have a worthy world to leave for our future generations. Immigrants will keep coming to America searching for a fairer life, but will always end up questioning themselves with one simple question. Is it all worth it?
Featured Image: Untitled (Questions) by Barbara Kruger