I have worked with a variety of people, from Vietnamese and Spanish-speaking domestic violence survivors to small business owners who lack access to capital and training. I’ve worked with agricultural migrant workers, folks from Latin American communities who speak Spanish and indigenous languages (Quiche, Nahuatl, Mixtec) to jornaleros, day laborers looking for decent wages and workplaces. I recognized that in my Vietnamese upbringing, in my immigrant/refugee household, I have learned to be grateful for much in my life. Thus, I have sought work with communities that are underprivileged, disenfranchised, and marginalized, supporting folks with navigating the systems for self- and societal improvement.
The recent ICE raids are not new. It happened post 9/11 under a more “moderate” prez. Back then it was just as unjust as it is today, except now, the raids are on steroids. I worked directly with undocumented, hardworking people who are some of the BEST, NICEST folks in society (with some serious dance skills!). I worked with DREAMERS, who had great aspirations and love of their family. I worked with people looking to fulfill their dreams and to provide for their family – people who are supportive of building an equitable community.
For my 39th birthday, I ask all of you who are supportive of these ICE raids, of what you believe is “immigration reform”, to find 4 people who are different from you. Talk to them in the grocery store, in the hardware store, on a technical assistance call, etc. Seek out folks different from your faith and your skin color and then ask yourself why you want them gone. What offends you so much that you support their violent removal from their surroundings? I have hope that most of us support people. That we can overcome our discriminatory biases. And that we seek to humanize folks we don’t know.
By Linda Trần