Immigration is a topic discussed among several platforms, such as art and scripture. It has been discussed throughout history but more so in today’s society.
The 14-16-year-old class of the Greater Allen Cathedral in Queens, NY is preparing a skit on immigration for Sunday School.
T.W., 15, identifies as an African-American female. When asked the reason for portraying the issue of immigration in America as a skit, she said, “an immigration skit shows people what immigration’s about.” In other words, the injustices people have to go through. She hopes the skit will open people’s eyes to the injustices immigrants have to go through in America. The term ‘illegal immigrant’ upsets her, she said. “They call immigrants illegal, it’s like not fair.”
T.S., 16, identifies as a Trinidadian-American male. He hopes the skit will change the way immigrants are treated when entering America. When asked about the effect of the term ‘illegal immigrant’ on him, he said, “It doesn’t really affect me but it affects others around me.”
K.C., 16, identifies as a Haitian-American female. She hopes the skit will help the government see what it is doing to families. She said she doesn’t mind if immigrants are ‘illegal,’ but finds it problematic if they are also criminals.
T.M., 15, identifies as a Jamaican-American male. He believes immigration is an important topic to discuss. He hopes the skit will help immigrants be accepted and start a new life in America. The term ‘illegal immigrant’ impacts him because it makes him “think about how we have so much and a lot of people do not and [they’re] getting taken away from their families.” He is very sympathetic toward the families ICE is separating. When asked about what he’s been told about ICE, he answered, “I feel like they’re doing an unfair thing, that people need to be able to come into this country and feel safe.”
T.J., 15, identifies as an African-American male. He hopes the skit will be meaningful to people. The term ‘illegal immigrant’ impacts him because “if I wasn’t from here, it would be hard to get here.”
Sister L.H, the teacher, identifies as an African-American female. She hopes the skit will “move others to action and because of the heightened awareness that a skit will bring, that they will understand that they have the power to do something.” When asked about what she’s been told about ICE, she answered, “ICE is an organization that basically patrols the border…they patrol the border in the sense that they’re the ones responsible for…I don’t want to just say apprehending people who come across the border because they should also be directing them to the proper authorities.”
The teacher as well as the students were asked, “If you were undocumented, would you flee or would you stay and fight for you and every other undocumented person?” T.W. and T.S. said they would flee. K.C., T.M., T.J., and Sis. L.H. said they’d fight to stay.
The students and the teacher said immigration is important to them individually. T.S. said, “On a [scale] from one to ten, probably like eight.” K.C. said, “It’s important because you know families are being separated from each other and that’s like really sad.” T.M. said, “It’s very important because if I was put in their shoes, I would want to be [treated] the same as everyone else.” T.J. believes diversity itself is important. Sis. L.H. said, “Immigration is very important to me because I understand that most of America was built on the contributions of immigrants from different countries.”
Immigration is a very controversial topic that can spark sensitivity within many living in America. Immigration in what it’s come to today has been made to be an upsetting topic for many. It has driven many families apart and broken many families that have been reunited. The Greater Allen Cathedral is being brave in discussing a topic so large that has many different opinions around it. They hope to make a difference in performing this skit and with that, spark greater discussion. Many live in fear of what could happen but forget that there is always now. The GAC shows the reality of it while also trying to spark hope in people. This shows determination for change and empathy for those affected.