Last Thursday night, a few of us from the community had dinner with a few DACA students currently attending The University of Colorado.
We listened as the students shared stories of how their families came to this country, how old they were when they arrived, what they were studying in school, internships they’d held over the summer, and hopes and fears they had for the future.
Two sisters from Mexico — the older one who is a DACA recipient and the younger one who was born here — spoke about the different paths their future’s hold, not because of dreams, ambitions, and desires, but because of who had been born on what side of the border.
Students from Mongolia, China, and Ecuador spoke about what would happen if DACA was rescinded.
At the end of our time together, we hugged good-bye, with promises to meet again soon and continue the conversation.
I think about how to circle around and hold those most at risk in this country.
There was some story I heard, maybe I even repeated it in this newsletter awhile back, about an army that came into a village at some point in time with their guns drawn, threatening to take all of the men and force them into being soldiers to fight a war that none of them wanted to fight.
The women gathered the men up, placed them in the center of the village and surrounded them, spreading their skirts out wide to create a shield so that the army people couldn’t get to the men that they wanted.
The story goes that the army people were so taken aback by the women, silently challenging anyone to break through this barrier of human bodies, that the army lowered their guns and backed away.
Could this be a true story?
Could something like this have happened?
Can we do this?
Can we gather our people, place them at the center, hold our skirts wide and say NOT ON MY WATCH MISTER.
I hope that something like that can happen…that our country can rise up and demand equal opportunity for all, no matter what side of the border someone is born on.
I took my nephew for our weekly drive yesterday, making our way out to the plains of Colorado. After about an hour of driving, we took a break to gaze at the giant orange moon.
We spoke about the possibility of our country circling around those that are at current and right-now risk.
We spoke about violence…is it ever necessary?
We spoke about shame, who gets shamed and why, and is it ever okay to shame, on social media or otherwise.
I tried to articulate the systems that shape this country and that led to the current situation we find ourselves in. He had no idea what I was talking about, and neither did I.
We spoke about his own fears about his future, his uncertainty about how to be a grown-up in a world that is both beautiful and cruel.
There are so many things I wish I had said to my nephew last night, as we sat in the car and looked at that brilliant orange moon, hanging over the horizon.
That brilliant orange moon that was so brilliant because of the fires that are burning.
The Free Dance Class happened yesterday, with another happening tomorrow.
People showed up, exactly as they are, occupied the space in big ways and small; and with courage and presence, opened up and gave voice to possibility through their dancing bodies.
Maybe I’ll see you at the free dance class tomorrow <<First Name>>, and in the midst of all that is unfolding in this world that is both beautiful and cruel, we too can drop down below a surface that is rough and choppy, and swim for awhile — in a place that is quiet, and wild, and free.
With Warmth, always,
Joanna and The Agitators
sweetly agitating/persistently upending
ps: Big shout out to Caitlin Rockett for this article that she wrote for the Boulder Weekly last week. With gratitude to you Caitlin.