John Donne, English poet, satirist, lawyer and cleric in the Church of England, said in his 17th Century work Meditation XVII: "No man is an island, entire of itself, every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main." Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. reminded us that: "We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly." One of the greatest philosophers I ever knew, my mama, said
"The same person you step on going up the ladder may be the one who has to help you down when you're about to fall of it." I got the same message and conviction from all of them: We are all connected -- sometimes in ways that are obvious, but other times by circumstances, fate or even Karma.
I live my own life recognizing that dilemmas trump differences every time. Tragedy comes wearing different clothes and smelling of various scents, but the look and feel of suffering is the same. And so I am compelled to live my life near the margins. I am conscious of the pain and perils of others. Sometimes my pain and perils meet others at a crossroad.
It is at the intersection of the many identities that we hold, we find oppression, disdain and often hate. We must fight for justice for our racial, cultural, socio-economic, gender and sexual identities at the same time. And doing so is easier if we stand in solidarity with others who are oppressed. Today, I am honored to stand with undocumented Georgians, racial justice leaders and LGBT leaders who demand an immediate end to detentions and deportations.
Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR), Southerners on New Ground (SONG), members of comities poplars from across the state, Project South and other supporters held a rally and press conference on Tuesday at the Atlanta office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The groups are confronting the current immigration policies and enforced action that have contributed to the chaos and suffering of thousands of families.
While the global economic integration of recent decades has produced immense wealth for a privileged few, it often comes from the labor and exploitation of brown and black people who often do the dirty and dangerous work in our country. The violent, degrading raids of ICE are steeped in policies that foster contemporary forms of discrimination. These policies and processes of neoliberal globalization are perpetuating racism, and racial profiling. They are justifying the exclusion of those who have been left behind by the global economy and aggravating poverty, inequality and human rights violations.
So I stand with those who are subjugated and scorned. And I challenge the policies that support this. And I call on lawmakers to practice intersectional justice to end this injustice. While President Obama is responsible to all of us for his administration's policies, he cannot be responsible for the behavior of objectionists who would block any ideology and policy that he presents. If opposing parties would put aside hate and racism cloaked in false piety, perhaps there could be real efforts at helping save lives and restore families.
At the end of Meditation XVII, Donne writes: "Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee." I consider it to be an insidious evil when people in power would watch America's moral fiber erode by allowing millions to be removed of dignity and have their bodies and their very lives put in jeopardy. The bell will indeed toll for you.