From Abosolo, Progresso, Ciudad Victoria, and San Luis Potosi
I was six years old the first time that my parents took me on a “marcha;” a march for equal rights.
I didn’t know it then, but my father had joined other leaders in a federal lawsuit to require equal education for Mexican-American students and equal funding for schools, regardless of what part of town people lived in. And so, at that early age, we marched to call attention to the need for equal representation on the school board and a better future for all children. This was life in 1970’s Texas – my parents always fighting, luchando, for the future that my sister and I now enjoy.
Listening to the rhetoric of today’s presidential politics is a reminder to me that my parent’s fights are not over. Latinos, and in particular, new Americans, will be a greater influence in this year’s elections than ever before. Together, we can show that elections matter and push candidates at all levels to say what they will do to end hunger and fix our broken immigration system.
When Bishop José Garcia and the Bread for the World team step off from the U.S. border with Mexico in San Diego, I will be there to continue marching and advocating for immigrant rights and for children who like me, will one day benefit from the hard work of those who came before. Bishop José and I have talked a lot about what it will take to complete the journey in good health, but maybe not without a little suffering. We will be away from home for many days and each tiring day will no doubt bring its own challenges. But we can be comforted in knowing that our faith and the support of our families will make our burdens lighter.
For my part, I am walking in honor of my great-grandparents Isaac and José pha Morales who came to the United States from northern Mexico just over 100 years ago. Like others before and since, they took the chance that with hard work and strong faith, they could raise a family that would have more opportunities than they did. I give thanks to God for their lives and witness to God’s love that has so shaped my own experience.
The Mexican cities of Abosolo, Progresso, Ciudad Victoria, and San Luis Potosi, Mexico became New Braunfels, San Antonio, Austin and Houston, Texas. Many immigrants from Mexico continue to arrive along the same route that my family traveled and they come with the same dreams of a better tomorrow. I hope that people will follow us along El Camino del Inmigrante and know that the same spirit that inspired my great-grandparents is still alive and strong.