America, we are one nation under God and in God we trust. With this in mind, and with the privilege of being a world power, should we not show His great kindness, generosity, love and forgiveness to those who need us the most? After all, we are all God’s children.
The earth and everything it contains are the LORD’s. The world and all who live in it are his. -Psalm 24:1 (GODS WORD ® Translation)
In Dead Man Walking Sister Helen Prejean stressed that, “it is better to help ten real hurting people – or nine, or one, than to be overwhelmed and withdraw and do nothing.” In light of this, I would like to put a face to immigrants and ask us to use our greatness to demonstrate kindness. Let us be benevolent with our greatness towards the pain, fear, nostalgia, agony, insecurity and embarrassment that immigrants suffer.
Immigrants have been misunderstood and vilified, but they are a source of enormous potential for our great nation. They are not the cause of the world’s problems, or America’s problems. It is the thirst for power of others that leads many to flee from dangerous, destitute, undignified and life threatening situations in their own countries. Immigrants do not choose to be displaced from their homes, but the destructive and oppressive conditions which they are forced to live in uproots them to leave the agony that their countries of origin have become, to come to this beacon of hope called America. Would we not do the same?
My country of origin, Sierra Leone, suffered a brutal civil war. Hands, legs, of men, women and children were hacked off; young girls and women were gang raped. Our story is filled with horrors that no human being should ever have to endure. International diamond companies benefited from our spilled blood and agony, as international arms were exchanged for our national diamonds. Foreign nationals built their fortunes out of our misfortune. They built their dreams out of our nightmares. As a result many were displaced and were treated with repulsion, unaccepted and an inconvenience to and in foreign countries.
Immigrants come to the United States out of the necessity to escape grave danger, hunger and persecution. It is by far one of the most humiliating, belittling and degrading experiences one can undergo. Immigrants don’t come here to purposely abuse the American system and way of life. Men, women and children have come to this country because the alternative is death. If you were faced with a decision to either come to America or to stay and have your daughter gang raped by militia, your son taken as a child soldier, your wife or husband mutilated and tortured to death, or to watch your malnourished baby slowly die, would you not risk everything you had, to find a safe haven for them? If that safe haven is America, would you not bring them here?
The primary goal of immigrants is not to take jobs, healthcare and education from Americans, no, it is simply to stay alive. Immigrants will do almost anything to arrive in America because of what we say we stand for – freedom, dignity, justice and opportunity. They want to contribute not just to America but to the world. Like every other human being, they have hopes and dreams too. They want to assist but their hands are tied. Many want to be a voice, but their voices are broken. They want to rise up and shine, but they are suppressed. They want to be assets not liabilities.
If America were to pass laws that will assist immigrants to live openly and not in hiding, restoring their hope and dignity, America will reap its kindness in unimaginable ways. This is America, and we have the greatness, the power and the gift to not only be kind to others, but to give them back their dignity and treat them as brothers and sisters.
Like Ghandi said, “One comes to appreciate that there can be no ‘we’s’, and ‘they’s’, but only brothers and sisters- all children of God – all sacred and dignified.”
Immigrants are not looking for pity, but the right to live as human beings. There are plenty brilliant immigrants, hardworking, well-meaning and respectful. Given the opportunity, they will continue to contribute positively to America, uplift her, and support her. They are proud and grateful to be here. They understand and know how beneficial it would be to be industrious, resourceful and productive in this great nation.
Unfortunately, and sadly, it seems as though we live in a culture that appears to view kindness as weakness, but it is not, it is power. We will reap what we sow; therefore, let us use our freedom and freewill to sow love, mercy, kindness, peace, forgiveness those who need us to live and thrive. I know we have to protect our nation, but let us also use our existence on God’s earth to give life to those who would otherwise suffer and die with all their God-given potential, a chance to flourish and prosper. Do not allow fear to make us act or become like anyone else but our better self. At such a time as this America, let our kindness and compassion, not our fears and insecurities, shape our nation. Let us use our power to be just and kind. Let us be an example of fearlessly demonstrating unconditional love. A difficult thing to do, but not an impossibility.
“You are to have the same law for the foreigner and the native-born. I am the LORD your God.” -Leviticus 24:22 (NIV)
Indeed may God bless America and as He blesses us, may we in turn bless those who need us so desperately.
Kindness is NOT weakness! It is real power!