The Jesuit Antiracism Sodality East
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.” – Revelation 21:4
While working at a migrant shelter in El Paso, Texas, last summer, one of my responsibilities was to occasionally drive guests from the shelter to the airport or bus station. From there they would be on their way to reach family or friends they have here in the U.S. Once I was driving an eighteen-year-old boy who had traveled by himself to reach the U.S. After talking a bit about his family and where he was headed to, he asked me: “Will I be safe here? Will people want to shoot me because of my skin color?” His question floored me. It had been easy for me to think of arrival in the U.S. as a moment of hope and joy for those who had made long journeys. In reality, for many migrants arrival in the US is just the beginning of a new set of challenges, a new wave of fears. And though I tried to reassure the boy, I felt disingenuous and ashamed knowing that just a couple of years earlier, a white man had come to El Paso with the sole purpose of killing people with brown skin.
I was recently interviewing at a Cristo Rey school as a possible placement for my upcoming regency. One of the stops on my tour of the school was the college counseling center, which was filled with life and energy as students talked about their college prospects. My tour guide mentioned to a group of seniors that they might want to look at the University of Scranton and was immediately met with questions: “How far is that from here?”; “Do they have a nursing program?”; “Are applications still open?”. The smiles on their faces and excitement in their voices were electric. These students would not be complacent or passive towards the world around them. In that brief moment, those students showed me what it means to approach the future with hope, confidence, and curiosity. I was looking at young Black and Hispanic people who would be leading all of us closer to the Kingdom.
This month’s reflection was provided by Brian Engelhart, SJ, of Cristo Rey Atlanta Jesuit High School. If you would like to volunteer to provide next month’s reflection, please contact Sean: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The views and opinions expressed in this reflection do not necessarily reflect those of Jesuits USA East.