As we journey, we listen.
Sometimes, we listen with ears perked up, tuned in to the voices around us. Other times we watch carefully, training our eyes to see and remember the important details. And still other times, we put feet to the ground and tread carefully the desert paths that others have walked, and let ourselves be surrounded by the environment that others have experienced. A group of people from the newly formed Solidarity Beyond Borders team had the opportunity to enter into this place of empathy and compassion.
They walked on the Migrant Trail, completing the 75-mile journey from Sasabe, Sonora to Tucson, Arizona to highlight the tragedy of deaths that continue to happen there as people cross the desert in a desperate move to provide for their families. Anna Psiaki, one of the team members, shared this story from her time on this pilgrimage:
It had been a full-morning of military-like hiking: 60 or so people marching silently in a single-file line in the earth-splitting Arizona heat. That night we had the luxury of staying in a church: ceramic floors and high ceilings sheltered us from the afternoon sun. We sat in a tired mess, listening to Margo, a public defender, speak about immigration reform. The walk had felt so hopeless at times: carrying crosses marked with the dead, and wondering whether our simple act of walking was going to have any impact whatsoever.
Margo looks about 70: she has a giant space between her two upper front teeth, but she is beautiful in her tall, gangly, easy manner. She’s a rockstar of a lawyer: handling daunting murder and immigration cases which could easily turn even the most hopeful person cynical. But Margo, the woman who had perhaps seen the most, was the most hopeful one on the trip. I will never forget her words (which I’ll paraphrase): “sadness is important: I cry every day, I do. But you have to do something with that sadness – if it doesn’t fuel your fight, it’s worthless.” I understood then, that she was able to keep from becoming defeated, simply by continuing to fight. Her words to us were to get in the ring, and to stay in the ring: “it’s a fight, but it’s also a game to be played: I can’t tell you what to do: you need to use your own creativity to find your way to be in the game.” I came away from the walk so strengthened by her example of a generous, cunning and loving heart willing to be broken and remade.
As a people who follow Jesus and who come alongside those who are suffering, I hope we continue to be moved by our sadness, to fight creatively against the oppression we see on a daily basis.
Today, Saturday June 18, the Solidarity Beyond Borders team is being highlighted for our monthly Circle Thrift day, where 50% of the proceeds of all sales at both stores (2231-33 Frankford Ave. and 1125 S. Broad St.) go towards this team and their work to support immigration reform.
– Bethany Hornak, reporting
Bethany is the wearer of many hats, including Circle of Hope Operations Manager, Compassion Core Team leader, local food co-op volunteer, and intrepid home renovator