Back in the 90’s when my wife Becky and I began our committed relationship I was living in New York City and she was still living in London where we first met. We were a long distance couple. Then she decided to move to the States to be with me. It was quite romantic; we had a tiny studio apartment in Chelsea, and in the tiny studio we had a bed, a sofa, a small cafe table and two chairs, a view of a deliciously fragrant and diaphanous Mimosa tree, and two (not so deliciously fragrant) cats. What we didn’t have was a way for Becky to stay in the country. Though not the marrying kind, we would have considered it (despite our feminist spirits), except that marriage was SO not an option for us (in legal terms).
I won’t go into the private particulars of the struggle we embarked upon to stay together in the same country. I cannot tell you the stress and worry and expense we underwent. Let’s just say, miraculously, we managed to keep Becky here and finally, years later to even have children and, yes, get married. That said, international LGBTQ partnerships still struggle with immigration rights today. And of course, at this time, so many immigrants of all backgrounds are facing systematized discrimination in the US and abroad.
I read recently about teachers who are managing the day to day stress and tears of their students whose families face deportation, due to our government’s recent increase in that practice. It sounds so hard and definitely not what children should have to worry about in school.
Personally and politically I am galvanizing myself to dig deep for renewed energy to work on making an inclusive school, town, and country that welcomes, celebrates, and protects immigrants. I am so inspired by those of you already diving in and doing great work in this regard. Thank you.