By Kaitlin Davis
Issues of immigration and deportation have long impacted the general community of San Luis Obispo County, but what often gets left out of the story are the authentic accounts of those whom these affairs truly impact, and the travesties that this impractical ignorance has incited. As legislation wages its war against the homes of our neighbors and enforcement belittles the beating hearts of humanity, the unvarnished voices of minorities have been blatantly disregarded. Because mainstream media has been neither a consistent companion nor a considerate ally in chronicling the individuals they have been reporting, judging, and analyzing, we, as a community, have been given an incomplete picture of what it really means to be an “immigrant” in this country.
Feelings of social, political, and institutional alienation have long plagued Latino communities — as well as other minorities and people of color — and a lack of empathy for their partnering emotions have quite literally and figuratively bridged a gap between various societal concerns within the realm of scholarly discourse. And until now, it has been hard for SLO county citizens to idealistically, realistically, or practically relate to these innate disturbances that have long perturbed our San Luis Latino community.
The Personal Is Political.
As an essential slice of California’s topography, the Central Coast serves as an integral collective of citizens representing the Golden State. San Luis Obispo County, specifically, resides only five and a half hours from the border, whose liberty and freedom is being threatened by the intrusive national attempt to build a wall.
Unpublicized to the masses and unmentioned by many, 9,000 undocumented immigrants reside in SLO county. Most are marked by blunt bewilderment, confounded consternation, and frantic fear in the wake of the contemporary political agenda. Startled by current legislative processing, those who once felt safe in this country are now startled by the flagrant prosecution of people of color, that both dishonors the statutes of liberty that this country was founded on and substantially threatens the entirety of the “American Dream.”
If you truly claim to “love thy neighbor,” now is the time to promptly speak up — cry, weep, mourn, pray, but most importantly, stand with humanity. This definitively includes all minorities — people of color, indigenous groups, women, the LGBTQ community, and the list goes on. Retreating to “old-fashioned” habits and inhabiting lifestyles devoid of empathy and compassion are sure fire paths to the complete abandonment of integrity, and they ultimately represent the surreal surrender of our power into the hands of people who have wronged us as American citizens.
Education Is the Future.
Portraits of broken families are now being figuratively painted on the desolate “front-covers” of American minds and their bleeding, patriotic hearts. Mothers and fathers are now burdened with legislative action that is tampering with their familial futures. These parents must confront the shocking consequences that these changes have already had on both the educational opportunities and the livelihoods of their sons and their daughters.
In order to move forward, it is principal to acknowledge that Spring is a time for education and for action. As a community, we need to maintain an effort to move past this contemporary, incomprehensible broadcasting and its accompanying atrocities; we must make an active effort to definitively transcend hatred with pure, honest, and compassionate love. And in the name of progress, it is time we all achieve a holistic understanding of our local Latino community that both includes and incorporates the opinions and anecdotes of minorities into the history of our San Luis community.
Kaitlin Davis is a senior Cal Poly psychology student concentrating in gender studies. She was trained in sexual assault education through Safer, and wants to professionalize in domestic violence awareness & crisis counseling.