Proyecto Visión 21

Fulfilled, frustrated dreams for children then and now

I read some time ago –unfortunately. I don’t remember the source- that several decades ago a young South African boy, tired of being discriminated because of the color of his skin and of seeing others like him being discriminated, asked his pastor why God didn’t do anything to change that situation.

The pastor, clearly a man of extraordinary vision, told the boy, “God has done something. He sent you.” The child took those words very seriously and eventually grew up to become Archbishop Desmond Tutu, one of the leaders who successfully fought against the apartheid in South Africa, and winner of the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize.

Last week that story came back to me when I was thinking about other children who perhaps have the same desire as Tutu had to change the world and end injustice, but they will be unable to do it because they dreams were prematurely and irrationally cut short when they were separated from their parents.

A few days ago, I read the story of a Hispanic man in Iowa who committed suicide after seeing his wife being arrested at their home by federal immigration agents in front of their young boy. The man was legally in the country and his wife was in the process of legalizing her status.

I also read the story of the young mother in northern Colorado who will be deported after an anonymous call accused her of child abuse because she allowed her 8-year old son to walk alone a short distance from home to school.

Eventually authorities dismissed the accusation, but they learned the woman was using a document that didn’t belong to her. The child, born in the United States, was sent to Mexico by relatives of the mother, where she hopes to be reunited soon with her child.

And last Thursday I got a call from a young Latina in Denver who told me she had a baby just a few days before the call. She is an American citizen and her husband has filed paperwork to be legally in the country.

Because there were complications during the birth of the child, the young mother asked her husband to go to a nearby pharmacy to buy some medicine.  The husband never came back. He was arrested for a minor traffic violation and immediately transferred to federal authorities to be deported. His car was confiscated.

This young couple doesn’t have any close relatives, so the mother needs to find out how to survive alone, with a newborn baby, with no car, unable to work (at least some time), knowing the child will not see his father in a long time.

How many dreams will be permanently frustrated for these children? Or perhaps we should ask a different question: Who among us will be courageous enough to tell those children they are God’s answer against injustice?

After all, 2000 years ago nobody believed a boy born in the margins of the world would one day change that world.

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