Children have no choice in immigration |

Children have no choice in immigration

Dear Editor: I recently took a group of 23 Latino students to a leadership conference in Denver. This annual conference, La Raza, promotes community involvement, cultural preservation and higher education for Latino youth. The experience we had was unforgettable and truly touching. During this conference students attended a variety of interactive workshops. After each class, students walked out invigorated, motivated and curious – a phenomenon that does not happen as often as we would like it to in the eighth grade. Comments ranged from, “That was soooo cool!” to “I didn’t know so many Latinas went to college.” It was evident; the conference was having its intended impact. These students (citizens, visa-holders and some who are undocumented) were moved. They were shown that achieving their dreams is a true possibility. I was so proud as they discussed their future goals and how they were going to achieve them. It became quite clear that these students’ desires all stem from creating better lives for themselves, their families and their communities. Could we ask for better future leaders? In a time of such cultural and political anxiety it is crucial we remember the children. I see these kids every day, and every day I am thankful for that experience. I’ve watched them grow, through their frustrations and accomplishments, into young adults. It is a scary, sad and tumultuous time.We must remember to ensure the safety and appreciation for the many children being affected by current politics. In my students’ faces I see our nation’s future. A future that is culturally and linguistically diverse. A future where we can embrace that diversity and grow within it. A future where our children reach their dreams with the support of their families, schools and communities. It is our responsibility, as community members, parents and educators to encourage and believe in them. Let us not forget that children rarely have a choice in matters of immigration. By providing them with the support and love they need we can begin to build a bridge where our cultures will meet and grow together for a greater cause. Kate ButcherGlenwood Springs Middle School teacher

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