“The Border Is Here” – What Can We Do About It?
By Eric Steckel | February 20, 2020
Perspectives Article by Eric Steckel, Communications Manager
“I had crossed the line. I was free; but there was no one to welcome me to the land of freedom. I was a stranger in a strange land.” – Harriet Tubman
Last week, Children Rising participated in the Project Peace Speaker Series event “The Border Is Here”. The panel discussion included a wide array of speakers discussing the issues surrounding immigration from unique perspectives of housing, education, policy, the legal system, and the specific East Bay context.
As Rev. Deborah Lee, the Executive Director of the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, stated from the outset, there were going to be elements of the conversation that would make us squirm in our seats. That certainly reflects the complex nature of the immigration debate in our country. However, whatever your personal beliefs, it was refreshing to be in a room with people of good will, exploring and pondering the difficult questions we as a nation, a state, and a region are confronting.
“42% of the students we tutor in reading and math are Latino. 30% are English learners, speaking their native language at home and struggling with English at school.”
The issue of immigration, and “the stranger in our midst,” touches Children Rising on a daily basis. As I interviewed Succeeding by Reading clinic coordinator Gwen Stephens for a recent newsletter article, I was reminded that for many of the children we tutor, English is their second language. 42% of the students we tutor in reading and math are Latino. 30% are English learners, speaking their native language at home and struggling with English at school. Indeed, for our tutors, the border is here. Children Rising is doing something about it by teaching these children fundamental reading and math skills so they can rise above the additional challenges of learning in a second language.
As the evening concluded, a question came in from the audience: What do you recommend we do about it? For people of good will, that is the question that leads to action, and several of the responses were empowering.
- Go to another event and become involved in finding a solution. It’s easy, but don’t stop here.
- Find something sustainable and close to your heart that you can do to make a difference. Then commit to it.
The good news? The opportunity is at hand to empower these and many other vulnerable children who are surrounded by poverty and attending severely under resourced schools. One-on-one tutors meeting with students each week, are nurturing hope, the courage to dream, and the opportunity to thrive – and making a generational impact in our community, one precious child at a time.