We Are All Migrants
“You have to understand, that no one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land.” – Somali – British poet Warsan Shire
Sunday, December 18th is International Migrants Day. As a Dominican Volunteer with the Dominican Leadership Conference NGO to the United Nations, one of my focus areas was the issue of migration. I learned about the impossible decision individuals made to leave their home, their livelihood, their family, and travel incredible distances through desert, mountain, land, and sea while risking being kidnapped, robbed, cheated, stranded, or even trafficked.
Migration has always been an issue that evokes a great deal of emotion within me especially in our current global context where immigrants and refugees are faced with such dire situations that they have no other option but to take journeys (that often put themselves or their families in danger) in the hopes of finding a better life. I can’t imagine attempting to make a 1,500 mile journey riding on top of a train, walking 389 miles in the desert, or attempting to survive a three-day-long trip across the Mediterranean Sea in a rubber boat crowded with hundreds of others.
And yet, individuals take these journeys daily. It is incredible, and terrifying, to see how large the issue of migration is and how seemingly interconnected it is to every other justice issue. War, violence, poverty, political instability or repression, lack of access to food, water, and healthcare, discrimination, religious persecution, human rights violations, depressed economies, climate change, and natural disasters are all factors that push, and even force, individuals to leave their sense of familiarity and comfort behind to try to make a new home.
We are all in Constant Need
In a sense, we are all migrants; life is a constant spiritual, emotional, and physical journey. The acts of moving and searching fill our life-long journey. In that solidarity, let us stand with our sisters and brothers who are forced to search, to walk, to move, and to migrate and get to know their journey.
International Migrants Day is December 18th and National Migration Week is January 8th – 14th. For more information check out these resources:
USCCB Pastoral Letter Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope.
To Go Forth USCCB Department of Justice, Peace & Human Development Blog inspired by Pope Francis.