The day I interviewed Yasmine was only a few weeks past my daughter’s 9thbirthday. As I spoke with her, I kept picturing my own daughter being worried about me, thinking she had to be the savior, seeing me in utter distress and being fearful of her life and for my life. (below is an excerpt from our interview)
“We tried to cross again and, at some point someone said “they’re coming” – meaning the patrol – so we were crawling and then we start running back and of course I’m 9 and I’m running faster than my mom and I look back and I see my mom trying to run and she trips and falls and all the snacks are all over and I screamed and then I run back to get her and she’s like , “No go! Go!” And I’m like, “I’m not gonna go!” So I came back and for her and I grabbed her by one arm and thank God one of the guys we were with, he came back with me and helped me. We both carried my mom back to the boarder so um, yeah. That’s when I said bye bye to childhood – time to grow up.” - Yasmine
I’ve been working with Canal Alliance to help bring awareness to the lives and stories of immigrants in California. At Canal Alliance, immigrants get all sorts of assistance
I’ve interviewed many clients, volunteers and staff from Canal Alliance, but Yasmine’s was by far the most visceral for me. Because
I knew, in my bones, that as a mother, I would never put my own child in such an uncertain and unsafe position unless staying in place was more uncertain and more unsafe than leaving. Unless I was certain that risking everything was necessary for survival.
It’s hard to hate up close. You can’t generalize when you look someone in the eyes and see their experience written all over his or her face. No, proximity breeds compassion if you’re willing to be open.