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The Wall Cannot Stop Our Imagination for Peace

[caption id="attachment_1404" align="alignright" width="200"]Blog by Associate Conni Dubick, OPA Blog by Associate Conni Dubick, OPA[/caption] I didn't know the meaning nor impact of the chant "Presente, we are here, we remember, we will carry on." But hearing hundreds of voices from dozens of groups made an impact on me that Sunday morning.  I was seated on the street curb, facing "the wall" in Nogales, Mexico, hearing the names of people killed by border guards, military police, drug dealers and others.  "Presente, we are here, we remember, we will carry on."  I was participating in the Border Convergence sponsored by the School of Americas Watch (SOAW). The wall loomed and was the visible sign of the division, discrimination and implicit bias that is evident in today's world but birthed decades ago.  The indigenous people, migrants, immigrants and refugees - all marginalized people, face the effects of the wall with a combination of fear and hope of a better, safer life on the other side of the wall. (New York Times reporter Declan Welsh wrote about his weeklong experience with migrants and guards in the borderlands around Nogales.) Members of Black Lives Matter, Veterans for Peace, the Guatemalan Solidarity  Project, Standing Rock, the Thomas Merton Society for Peace and numerous other activist groups were present, remembering and vowing to carry on.  As one speaker stated, "the wall cannot stop our imagination for peace." Now at home,  I wonder  what to do to sustain the impact on my  mind and emotions to move me to action.  One veteran of Vietnam told me that he returned to Vietnam and worked for 15 years for peace in that country to make amends for what he had done earlier in the war.  Now he was present at this border to represent people for peace. wallWhether it was the personal conversations with participants or the speeches and songs from the stage, the messages were similar: we are here, we remember, we will carry on.  Speakers shouted, "tear down those walls to see around us….the desert is hot, but we are the rain… you stand with Standing Rock….tighter controls is out of control….we need to be listened to…the wall cannot stop our imagination." As I ponder what I must do to focus on immigration reform, I think about the words of our Sister Rachel Sena, who lives and ministers in Arizona.  She said that these problems which cross ethnicity, geography, and generations are complex and we must recognize the complexities.  Lack of formal education and vocational training, unemployment, extreme poverty, lack of food and shelter and the atmosphere of fear and insecurity result n the need for complex coherent solutions. The Dominican Sisters of Peace and Associates as a community have the Chapter Commitments and Corporate Stances to lead us to action each in our own ways using prayer, study and ministry in imagining for peaceful immigration reform.

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