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Where is the immigrant?
These sequence of paintings transport us to Dominican Republic, where for a better life, people take a fragile boat to cross the seas to Puerto Rico and United States, risking their lives in the process.
The first painting reflects how Simon, as an immigrant, put his life in God’s hand before crossing the ocean. The people in the background watch Simon leave and judge him.
The second painting reflects Simon, as the immigrant, carrying the cross because the people who were judging him in the first painting want him to pay; in this painting, they want to be witnesses of a “Just Law.”
There are three crosses because immigrants always have to carry more than one cross at once, including:
- Suffering, because of being far away from their families
- Paying the economic, social, and spiritual costs of trying to find a better life
- Internalizing pain, because they cannot express their truest emotions with anyone
The third painting symbolizes liberation. Simon, as the immigrant, will be able to break the chains when the people in power and in the crowd start paying attention to immigrants’ lived experiences and reforming immigration laws.
When the people in power, as us, as people with power, are going to spend time to think about the immigrants, reflecting on immigration law and reform?
When the actions and protests are going to be heard? How can we be better listeners? How can listening to these stories lead to action?
We are all children of God and nobody should be battered because of who they are and their im/migration journey. If there is going to be action, it is action that is needed and necessary now.
McCormick Theological Seminary
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