When I thought about what I wanted to write about today, I could not visualize an image to illustrate what I wanted to say. I wanted something to capture this feeling of impermanence, of losing footing, of being cut off and floating in space.
And then I looked more closely at this painting. At the petals seeming to find root at the base while scattered in the air, too. But not really scattered. Because they are orderly and contained even as they are detached from the earth. And so it is with the 800,000 plus young people who have benefited from the DACA program.
But let me start in a different way.
Today is Labor Day. The end of summer holiday that most of us have forgotten is more than just a last picnic before back to school and back to a full work week and back to the colder weather and warmer sweaters and don't wear those white shoes until Memorial Day in May.
Today is also the day after the day Donald Trump announced that he would be discontinuing DACA - Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals - a program that protects undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children from deportation and grants them eligibility for a work permit.
I saw an amazing play about just this. This past Friday. At the Ensemble Studio Theater at Atwater Village. The play is called Wet, and is a one- man, written word, poetic and powerful, insightful and raw piece of theater that called to me to stand with this actor as he shared his truths and wore his struggles for all of us to see.
Questions were raised and answered in rhyme and rap and language sweet with imagery. Who are we if it is not documented that we belong? How to we keep our footing if our tracks cannot leave marks that we are here? Where do we belong if where we grew is not the place where we were born? And how do we create stability when the only place we call home keeps changing the rules?
This play has been extended. You should go see it if you can. For me, to witness what is happening not on the news and in the papers, at a distance and so at arms length, but in an intimate theater where the truth sits right in front of me makes the conversation different now.
And the conversation today is that we are celebrating our workforce while beginning the process of decimating a vital section of our work force. Labor day is an honoring of our worker. Not the individual, but what workers accomplish together through activism and organizing. It is a celebration of the labor movement's foundational values of self-determination and self-reliance. These very qualities that describe the 800,000 plus young people who will be so adversely hurt by the dismantling of DACA.
Do you see the irony here?