Friday, July 18, 2014

If You Let Her In

If you let her in, one day she will tell countless young women that they can - because if someone had told her that, maybe it wouldn't have taken her 40 years to finally believe it.

If you let her in, on a cold, rainy day she will hand you a dollar, her wool coat, her tax refund, because she knows first-hand that the kindness of others can replenish a soul.

If you let her in, she will defend your child, speak up for your daughter, advocate for you, because she knows too well, what it's like to have a voice that doesn't count.

If you let her in, she will never let those high school boys who circled her when she was 6 and told her to go back to her own country, the customer who requested an "American" front desk worker instead, those men who called her gook, chink, chinamen just a few months ago - she will never let them represent all that is good and just in this country.

If you let her in, she will pour her heart and soul into your community, her community not merely by filling out some mandated tax form, but by actively participating, volunteering, maybe even running for an elected position that might allow her to do even more.

If you let her in, she will choose to take a pay cut, drive 40 miles away from her family every day, if she thinks there's a slight chance she can become part of the solution.

If you let her in, some day she will end up standing next to you at a peace rally in Washington D.C., fighting for the same justice that you seek. 

If you let her in, she will grow with you, build with you, dream with you.  Like you, she will do everything in her power to create a world that is beautiful and fair for your children, for hers...and for all the children across those imaginary lines we keep drawing to separate us from one another.

I was 14 when my parents stuck an "unaccompanied minor" tag on me, put me on a plane 9000 miles from home, and sent me to live with a distant relative in Kensington, Maryland.  While I was born and spent the first 8 years of my life in the suburbs of Chicago, my family moved to Thailand when I was 8.  The Asian stock market crashed, along with millions of Thais, my dad lost his job, and a series of other hopeless, option-less events took place far away from the land of the free, in the developing part of the world.  And just like that, my parents were faced with the hardest decision of their life.

Thank you for letting me (back) in 28 years ago.  I hope we don't miss the chance to always open our hearts and our borders to the young people who most desperately need us to embrace them.  You never know who they might become.  If we make a little room in our hearts, to let them in.

No comments:

Post a Comment