Twenty four years ago, in a stadium in Miami Florida, I went to my first concert of U2, when the album Joshua Tree came out. I was only 17 years old. In that place I experienced the power of thousands of people singing in one voice the tunes of one of my favorite groups. I raised my voice singing “I still haven’t found what I am looking for”, and from then I started to follow up the life of Bono and his group. Last July 2nd, I missed the concert of U2 in Nashville, because I was marching on the streets of Atlanta, Georgia with thousands of people crying out for justice. U2 has always been about change, acceptance, social justice, and tolerance; it is kind of ironic that this group that portrays all these great attributes was playing in a state that has been tried to establish laws against Muslims, Refugees and immigrants.
Anyway, that is a different story; my story is that instead of singing about justice, I was walking, making each of my steps a voice for those who are suffering injustices, who are been deported just because they do not have papers to work in this country, who are asking to leave the place they have been raised, educated, because their parents brought them with them to live the supposedly American Dream. I was walking for those mothers who are handcuffed, taking to jail and being separated by their families as the most dangerous criminals, just because one day they decided to leave their country and cross the border to be working among us. I was raising my voice for the millions. For a couple of moments the excitement within me almost made me cry, when all those voices were singing in one voice: “We won’t leave, and we will stay”. I was marching surrounded by complete families, coming from all over the South and beyond, Asians, African American, Latinos, Queer, white, old, young, senior citizens, a group of moms with their strollers, all walking while the heat was hitting on us with a temperature of 97 degrees.
Bono, once said, “we are looking for one million Americans to join the one campaign, not looking for your money, looking for your voice”, and then he started to sing the famous “One” with the message: “You ask me to enter but then you make me crawl, and I can’t be holding on to what you got When all you got is hurt .One love, One blood, One life, You got to do what you should. One life with each other Sisters, Brothers; One life but we’re not the same. We get to Carry each other, carry each other”.
Are we human enough to feel the pain of the undocumented immigrants in our land? Can we ask ours gods to soften out hearts to love and listen to their voices? Can we let aside our prejudices, political insanities, and come down where the streets have no name, and march together with the oppressed, the rejected, and the ones that society uses for scapegoating? Can we get together, thousands of people, and forget for one moment, in the midst of the streets of a city, and while drops of sweat are coming down like a heavy rain wetting the asphalt, and taking away our fears, pain, frustration, desperation, anger, and all these for the sake of justice?
YES!! We did it! And even though I missed the concert of my favorite group, I sang their songs while marching as an immigrant in this land and “I ran, hide thorn down the walls that hold me inside. I reached out, and touched the flame where the streets had not name. I felt the sunlight on my face, and I saw the dust could disappear without a trace” (U2, Paraphrased by author)
¡Si se puede! Yes we can!