I started writing a blog while I was in LA, but just wasn’t able to put on paper what I was seeing and feeling. What we saw and what we experienced is hard to describe, but when I reflect upon this experience after being removed from it for a few days, three words come to mind: people, perspective, and powerful.
The people I met on this trip were quite fantastic, not only did I make some great friendships with my fellow travelers, but I also met people who had an amazing love and compassion for their community and families. For instance, each of us got up one morning during the week to help a woman cook breakfast for the homeless men in her community. I woke up with her at 3:30 AM once and was exhausted. This woman does this 6 days a week for men she doesn’t really even know, she just knows that they are trying to make better lives for themselves and wants to help. Pretty powerful.
Being in the midst of immigration was also an experience that I will never forget. Poverty, violence, and fear are all realities to these people. Poverty occurs because of lack of jobs, or lack of decent-paying jobs. Violence occurs because people who can’t find jobs turn to gangs for acceptance and a sense of purpose. Fear is a reality not only because of the gang violence, but because of possible deportation. I could not imagine living one day like this, but this is people’s reality. However, being around these people made me realize that we are not so different from one another. They love just like I love, they laugh just like I laugh, and they have faith, just like I have faith. The only thing that separates us is where we were born, which none of us had control over. These are real human beings, with the same capacity to love like the rest of us and being in East LA gave me a new perspective on how I am going to treat the issue of immigration. Pretty powerful.
Again, it’s hard to put into words what my emotions and reactions were to this trip to LA…but to sum it up quite frankly, the people were awesome, my perspective has changed, and it was one of the most powerful experiences of my life.
Peace and Blessings,