A few weeks ago, I went back home to Los Angeles to host a discussion on immigration reform. More than 300 people packed the auditorium at East Los Angeles College (ELAC).
The immigration issue in communities like this one is about a lot more than numbers. For families in this neighborhood, it represents a daily kick guided by great uncertainty, anxiety, and fear.
I was raised by settler parents in a town about fifteen minutes from ELAC, so I’m familiar with this story. Not surprisingly, many in the audience were, too. I heard about families being alienated because of our broken immigration laws; about fearful workers who had been treated terribly; and about brilliant students, with big dreams who can’t make them come true. It broke my heart. It made me think about my story – about the people who raised me and how much they’ve meant to my life.
Storytelling is one way to learn about the immigration issue, one way to attach with it, and with each other. Stories help link our commonality – our ordinary struggles, goals and victories. Stories bring us closer as people. But they also give a unique framework from which to better make the case for building a 21st century immigration reform.