When a Mother, an Immigrant, and a Gay man watched the Inauguration

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As many witnessed, likely from the coziness of your couches, the event that played out today was truly extravagant. It was a day where we commemorated a dream moved closer to reality- the reelection of our nation’s first black President. His eyes and his words and his posture reflected an understood responsibility to make this moment matter. Gray hairs across his head showed us how hard he had been trying. The weight of centuries of oppression sat on his groundbreaking shoulders.

And you could almost hear the cries and claps of Martin and Rosa and Jackie sounding from that suite in the sky.

My mother, my immigrant brother and I, sat together across the couch and watched… completely unaware how personal the political can be.

And through the airwaves came a calling,

“our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts.”

And my mother smiled and felt special and seen. A woman who chose the privilege of being a mom to five exhausting children. The same one that, after we grew up, went back to work so she could mother other kids as a high school para for the forgotten EBD students. It was in that setting, she met a homeless kid in need of a place to stay…

“Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity”

And my African born brother beamed and felt blessed. A young man given too heavy a cross to bear- One which would cause the best of us to grow bitter. Amazingly, he took his tears and became captain of the football team, an honor roll student, and now, soon to be a college freshmen to any school of his choice. When unforgivable circumstances led him to homelessness, he moved into a family and met a guy that told him he trusted him. He trusted him, so he told him a story of a different kind of foreigner.

“Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal, as well.”

And I felt warm and included and recognized. It was a good feeling.

There we sat, three different storylines, written from the deep of the margins. All of us bore bruises and scars by the powers of prejudice. Some from expectations, others from country and a few from faith. Our mementos and meaningfulness were born out of times of desertion.

But, if just for that moment, those few brief sentences, each one of us were basking in the rewards of some sort of redemption. Tied into a few stanzas, a few nods and inflections was a pride that rang from the deserts of Arizona to the fields of France. It was about us.

Written into our stories is the absence of an advocate. We are the invisible few, the Waldos of the Suburbs. Until you look hard, you won’t see us. Nobody ever does. But today, the whole world was asked to search us out and lift us up.

Her and him and me had unexpectedly made it somehow, and perhaps to you, just a couple inches. But hearing him hold up my Scarlet Letter and declare that I am worth more than a second-class citizenship… it made me feel like I belong.

The leader of the free world had not forgotten what it is like in the lower corners of the valley. President Obama, the son of an immigrant with mixed racial heritage, is too familiar with our stories to not speak out and wave us in. Via verse he reminded us that we too belong here. We too are wanted here. Poetically and perfectly he pulled us all closer together, right there on that couch, recognizing the commonality of our uniqueness and the promise of progress.

And with a hilarious final note, my mom stood up, flung out the fist pump and began belting, loudly-

“Women, immigrants and gays! Women, immigrants and gays!!”

Oh, Happy day,

RR

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3 thoughts on “When a Mother, an Immigrant, and a Gay man watched the Inauguration

  1. Pure poetry. It means so much to be seen and known.

    I wonder if those who have always been seen know what they have. I treasure those times when I am known so much more because most of my life I was unknown.

    Thank you for your vulnerability and your ability to share.

  2. I missed it because we were on a family outing. But I did get to read all about it later. Although I only have my two kiddos, I can relate to your mom and the beauty, privilege, and toil of raising kids as a stay-at-home parent. I know that as such, I do often feel invisible. I hope that we can learn to take the President’s words to heart and make all people feel included in our national conversation, regardless of work status, wealth, gender, orientation, nationality of origin. I think I said this elsewhere, but I don’t want anyone making room for me (or anyone else) at the table–I want us to be recognized as already having a place there.

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