I have lost faith in humanity and in turn, it’s as if humanity has lost faith in me. The need to bear witness is urgent. You can feel that a modern-day holocaust is imminent. There’s a haunting chill deep in my marrow. Today we had coffee with Aukwi, a Sudanese refugee, and Ahsmah, an Iraqi refugee. I saw the despair in both of their eyes—felt their fear. The society we live in makes a simple task, such as finding work, next to impossible for Aukwi. Ahsmah doesn’t feel safe in her own home because someone who calls himself a neighbor is anything but neighborly. Sleepless nights and night terrors haunt Ahsmah and her children. Ashmah has gone as far as asking her daughter to no longer wear her hijab because she fears discrimination, yet her daughter’s faith is too strong to remove it.
I had to maintain my composure at this coffee meeting. At the end, still with a full cup of coffee, the only thought I could formulate is how humanity can be so cruel as to treat anyone with such disregard and hate. I felt a self-loathing I had never felt before, because until today I considered myself human.
From today going forward, call me a protector, a leader of diverse nations, a warrior.
Today’s experience reminded me of my own roots. I remember the story of when Grandpa Deleon marched with Cesar Chavez in Texas on that Labor Day in 1966. It makes me proud to be his. I am proud to be on the right side of history.
It is our moral obligation to stand by the targeted and do something. We are entering a revolution, and tears that have been shed only serve as fuel to feed the fire in my bones.
The Bernie March images were taken prior to this date—they were from a time of hope and intrigue. Looking back on those images remind me that we are not alone in our fight for equality and fairness. I am convinced that one day we will get back to that place of hope and intrigue.
Living near the capital of Idaho Jessica Deleon is a full-time student. Currently seeking undergraduate degrees in both Criminal Justice and Photography. She is happiest when she can sit with a good book outdoors, and when she can share what she creates. Her passion for social justice can not only be seen in her photography, but also in how she chooses to spend her free time. Being a member of Lambda Theta Alpha allows her to donate time and effort to St Jude’s and the Women’s and Children’s Alliance, both organizations dear to her heart. She continues to work with local organizations who fight for immigrant and minority rights. You can follow her on twitter @dali_mae_media.