So much of the work we do at Centro Hispano of Dane County is personal. It is personal because, in the faces of the community we serve, we see our own lives reflected. As such when our community and children are threatened, we are also threatened.
Current rumors suggesting that the federal administration is considering terminating or cutting the policy known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) represents a threat to our moral fiber, to what it means to be an American, and to the values of our country – a place where the most vulnerable are welcomed, including our immigrant youth.
“When I see the faces of my daughters, and the many children and youth we work with at Centro, I see a beautifully diverse future generation. I believe in this generation – in their power to do things better, to learn from history, to grow from our mistakes, and to push towards an end to inequities and disparities in our community and our country. Hate, divisiveness, ignorance, and bigotry will have no place in their America.”
This is why earlier this week, as part of a national day of action, we stood strong with Mayor Paul Soglin and mayors from across this country in full support of the continuation of DACA. We know that the policy has helped many youths in our community access education and employment and contribute actively to greater Dane County since it was first put in place in 2012. These youth, who came to this country as children, and have lived only knowing this as their home, have a right to live without fear that at any given moment they will be ordered to leave.
The ignorance and hateful acts towards communities of color we have witnessed over the past few months should never be supported. In Wisconsin, we continue to have challenges – we are not fully comfortable with the life experiences of others (for fear they may be different from our own) and we are still learning about the tremendous value diversity adds to a community. And here in Madison, we still have much work to do to fully understand the diverse demographics, experiences, and traditions of our neighbors.
Yet I remain hopeful that years to come things will be substantially better. When I see the faces of my daughters, and the many children and youth we work with at Centro, I see a beautifully diverse future generation. I believe in this generation – in their power to do things better, to learn from history, to grow from our mistakes, and to push towards an end to inequities and disparities in our community and our country. Hate, divisiveness, ignorance, and bigotry will have no place in their America.
At Centro, we will continue to stand strong with our Latino and immigrant community. Yet, I have always firmly believed we cannot stand strong with them unless we are standing strong with all. Our path forward will never be possible unless equity is the lens by which we work hard to move forward all in our community. And a failure in success for some to dream and aspire equates to failure in success for all.
I ask that you stand with us and with our young people, learn the facts about DACA, and speak out now in support of our immigrant community – because when you do that, you are sharing in our dream for a future that can be substantially better for everyone.