May 2, 2017
by Barb Cardell, PWN-USA Board Chair, PWN-USA Colorado Co-Chair
Like many other PWN-USA members and allies, I took part in a May Day march and vigil Monday. The call to show solidarity with #TheMajority a coalition of black, Latinx, indigenous, labourer, Muslin, climate, refugee, LGBTQ , disability, immigrant, women and anti-poverty groups standing for social change, radical justice and equality for all speaks to the intersectionality of our lives.
I was not expecting to have my heart broken wide open.
I am no stranger to marches and protests. This one began like so many others: meet up in the parking lot, practice a few chants, hand out water and mega phones, describe the route and then step off.
We marched and chanted, gathered in front of the daunting ICE processing building in Denver, listened to motivated community leaders and shouted the names of those detained within the walls loudly so they would know they weren’t forgotten or alone.
But it was on the way back to our cars that we met Jeanette Vizguerra’s daughter, a slight girl who seems overwhelmed by her mother’s place in history. Jeanette is an immigrant rights advocate who sought sanctuary in a Denver church to avoid deportation and separation from her children. Her daughter talked about the rally and the need to ROAR!!!
I take her words one step further. We must ROAR for those who are in danger of deportation. We must ROAR for those families torn apart. We must ROAR for those who are marginalized and victimized by overzealous police and immigration officers.
Then, for a bit as we walked, she was able to be a just little girl. She talked about her cats and admiring my sister’s pussy cat hat. Then, as we hugged her goodbye, my friend MJ gave her one extra big hug for her mom: “Please let her know that we are with her, that she is not forgotten.”
What is wrong with this country, that we tear families apart? Where is our humanity, when children must plan for the day their mother doesn’t return home because she has been snatched off the streets and deported?
President Trump, I don’t see hard-working women and dedicated mothers like Jeanette to be dangerous to our country. Instead, I see fearmongers like yourself, who whip up hate and division to be dangerous to our country. We are a nation of immigrants, some documented and some undocumented, and that is the strength of the United States, not its downfall.
I am certain that when we are standing in sisterhood, solidarity and ACTION, we stand for women like Jeanette and so many others.