This morning I wanna grieve for a few minutes, teach for a few minutes, then challenge you to step up in a major way about an emergency in this country that I strongly believe we all need to adopt as a central issue to our fight for civil and human rights in America.
This past week, 31-year-old Alonso Guillen, a local radio host known as DJ Ocho on 101.9 in Lukfin, Texas, heard that nearby families were trapped in the surging flood waters caused by Hurricane Harvey. So Alonso did what so many brave folk in Texas have done – he got a boat, grabbed two of his friends, and decided he was going to go save some lives. Working until midnight this past Wednesday, well into the dark of the night, Alonso’s boat collided with a bridge and was crushed, sending all three men into the water. One survived, but Alonso and his friend Tomas had not yet been found.
On Sunday evening, Alonso’s dear family spotted his body. They had not given up watch since first learning he was missing. His death pushed the toll of lives lost over 60 for Hurricane Harvey. I’ve posted a link to how you can help Alonso’s family on my Facebook and Twitter pages and hope that you will consider chipping in however you can.
But here’s where it gets political. Donald Trump, being the bigoted white supremacist he is, didn’t even want Alonso to be in the United States in the first place. See, Alonso was not an undocumented immigrant, which is the more appropriate term for who many people used to call illegal immigrants. Alonso was not undocumented or illegal.
He was a DACA recipient. DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. DACA recipients were children of undocumented immigrants who only know the United States as home. This is where they’ve been raised, where they’ve gone to school, where they grew up. This is where they call home. They aren’t just from Mexico, but are from nations all over the world. The United States is their home. This is all they know. They speak English. They are high school students, college students, college grads, and productive working members of our society.
Hundreds of DACA recipients are my personal friends. Our nation has over 800,000 men and women who’ve been granted these protections. You will also hear them called “dreamers.” That’s because of a proposed bill, the DREAM Act, which would grant them permanent protections. The bill, which is so simple, has failed to pass through Congress for nearly 20 straight years – even when Democrats controlled both the House & the Senate.
Now, later today, it is expected that Donald Trump is going to announce that he is even going to end the simple DACA protections for the 800,000 young people who were granted those rights by President Obama. It’s as gross and inhumane as anything an American President has done in my lifetime.
These young people are the best young people in our country. They represent less than 8% of undocumented immigrants in America. They walk the straight and narrow path. They’ve paid hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars in fees. They regularly complete paperwork and attend check-in appointments. They obey the law. They, of all people, should be given reasonable, humane protections from our government.
Let me be clear.
Donald Trump is a son of immigrants. He has married two immigrants. And at this very moment he employees immigrants at his hotels and properties. This man is targeting DACA recipients – not because he has a problem with immigrants, but because he knows doing so will appeal to his bigoted base of supporters at a time when his approval ratings are dipping down to historic lows.
It’s not hyperbole to call this man a bigot. For any of you who, for some reason, were still on the fence about this, I hope these past few months have ended all ambiguity for you. Donald Trump is a sexist, racist, bigoted white supremacist. And with his back against the wall, he’s doing everything he knows to make sure that he doesn’t lose the support of America’s most racist citizens.
I’ll close with this thought.
I want to encourage you to speak up for DACA recipients. I want to encourage you to speak up for the rights of these beautiful young people who call this country home. They are our friends.
Here’s what I know – and I want you to hear this from me – all over this country – DACA recipients speak out against police brutality, speak out against racism and bigotry and white supremacy, they speak up for voting rights for Black folk – now it’s our time to return the favor and speak up for them.
My life quote, which I’ve shared on our show often, is from Dr. King when he said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
He was right then and he’s right now. We must stand up for DACA recipients. We must speak out for them. And we must do it now!
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