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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Keeping time with Tomas Karmelo at Promise Arizona Leadership Training!

The couple in the middle was hugging.  They were surrounded by people singing, young and old together, arms in the air, waving to the music.  We were all keeping time with Tomas Karmelo as he sang the song he penned with Deandra Gamez at the state capitol in the early days of the Vigil against Arizona SB 1070.  Michele was there, and Jeff, and Myra, and Sue, and Pedro, and Jessica and Erika, and Brittany and Nicole and so many others. 
songs from the vigil
I was wiping the tears as they tumbled down my cheeks, hoping no one would see.  Leadership training does funny things sometimes. 
We were sitting in a packed room in Arizona State University.  Promise Arizona, led by a long time organizer, Petra Falcon, had brought national trainers and civil rights leaders to teach us what to do when our community is under attack:  Stand up, fight back!
Promise Arizona has a unique way of fighting back.  Their message of peace and love from civil rights movements of the past is spoken in a new motto:  Faith, Hope: Vote! 
Team Promise wants to register 50,000 new Latino voters and change the political landscape of the nation!  Electing leadership which keeps in mind all people who live in Arizona, instead of just the elite, will send a message to those who wish to legislate exclusion.  Pass hate laws and get a pink slip from the (new) voting public!
This great country faces some mighty challenges.  How to treat everyone fairly under America’s skies is one of the biggest.  We are a nation of immigrants.  The newest souls to arrive are seeking their chance to make a difference, to work hard, to give back, to nurture and to be nurtured. 
I trust, as these courageous people fight for their chance at the American Dream, the Dream changes a little bit.  It is time we begin to dream in terms of “all of  Us” instead of in terms of “us and them”.  Or did we dream it once and then forget? 
I am grateful the Promise Arizona community thinks in “we” terms.  If their message of inclusiveness is successful then there will be plenty of room in America for Tiny Tim.  Considering Latinos will consist of the single largest voting base in the U.S. within 15 years, inclusiveness is a generous message to preach.  Maybe the ones who need to go to leadership training are the conservative class who heretofore have been advocating division of families and limiting access to schools and opportunities to those in America who need our help the most.
petra and jeff
Heck, I am not going to hide the tears any more.  This is my family.  These are my brothers and sisters.  These are the values I hold dearest to my heart.  My country is under attack.  I am ready to stand up.  I am ready to fight back.  Does anyone have an extra voter registration form they can lend me?
Michele is here, and Jeff, and Myra, and Sue, and Pedro, and Jessica and Erika, and Bridgett, and Nicole and so many others.  Come meet us and come meet my inspiration, Petra Falcon.  Come live the Promise with us!

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