This morning I went to an information session about Obama's executive order released in June. The order would allow for young immigrants without legal residency or citizenship to potentially obtain deferred action status (meaning they would not automatically get put in deportation proceedings...this does not give them permanent residence or citizenship) and work permits.
As I sat in the back of the room with my coworker (who is also a huera...it appeared that we were the only two non-Hispanic folk in the room, besides the presenter), I looked around and thought how strange for me to be there. I went to learn about the action because of who it is that I work with...but I realized that this issue was much more personal for most of the attendees, especially when questions started being asked.
I witnessed mothers hopeful for their babies. Teenagers and young adults hopeful for their future.
But I also witnessed mothers scared of deportation if "too much" information is shared. Teenagers scared that their dropping out of high school may have cost them their qualifications. Young adults scared of what could happen after November's presidential election.
The room was full of optimism and skepticism. Anything like this is has to be too good to be true, and has to have its many, many risks. If I were eligible for this action, if I did not possess legal papers, if I were an immigrant... I'm not sure if the benefits would outweigh the risks.
But. I am not any of those. I can apply for any job, I can pass by authorities with no fear, I can travel around the world, I do not fear deportation or separation.
Yes, in that room, I felt out of place. But I couldn't help but feel some sort of empathy...well, perhaps it was just sympathy...for others in the room. I guess this is what solidarity feels like? Except that I still feel the weight of what some call "privilege" on my shoulders.
May we take steps forward into Hope so that we can continue Dreaming.