January brings a new year, and renewed attention to continuing social issues in the United States: Abortion, Women’s rights, racism. DACA is still under siege. Why should Vincentians be present? A reflection by Colorado Vincentian Volunteer alumna and Vincentian Lay Missionary Jenna Carbone is a valuable re-read.
See. Judge. Act. We often think of this as analysis for project planning. But activism stems from this as well. A new generation of Vincentians in the United States have heard the call of the Gospel: “I was a stranger and you welcomed me!”
In response to the recent Presidential Executive Order restricting immigration and refugee entry, many young Vincentians are speaking out and become activists.
I asked former Vincentian Lay Missionary and Colorado Vincentian Volunteer Jenna Carbone to tell us why.
I protest because so many of our brothers and sisters in this county are scared right now, and they need to know that we are behind them, that we will fight for them. They must know we will speak loudly and protect fiercely on their behalf. I protest because I am horrified that refugees who have already endured so much- famine, war, violence, political unrest- would be turned away from this county when they are in their most dire need. They must know we will fight to provide a safe haven for them and reassure them that they are needed, wanted, and welcomed here.
I protest because the world needs to see that America is not a place that believes what President Trump does. They must know that we believe our diversity is our greatest strength and our communities are beautiful because they are filled with different cultures, customs, and histories.
I protest because walls only serve to separate and divide us. We hold tightly to the belief that our neighbors are our greatest allies, and empathize with those seeking to enter this country as they give up everything-family, friends, familiarity- in some small hope of finding a better life. I protest because I will not be a part of fear mongering, hate, and discrimination. We refuse to let history repeat itself under our watch.
I protest because I feel a great responsibility to the world and believe that to those whom much is given, much is expected. We cannot sit idly by while injustices are being committed to our brothers and sisters, as we are all one body. I protest because I believe that people can change.
We march and rally in hopes that those who see or hear our movement may be moved as well, that their hearts are opened to see the value that all people have.
I protest because as Elie Wiesel said, “Wherever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must- at that moment- become the center of the universe.”
I believe that moment is now.
Hopefully, we will hear from more people with this kind of commitment. Sometimes saying #IamVincent means becoming an activist.