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9/11…How Our Lives Have Changed

9 Sep

911 Volunteers

As a nation and global community takes time to pause this weekend to mark the anniversary of the attacks on September 11th, we take a moment to see how our lives have changed.

Everyone has their “moment”- some more direct than others- but everyone, everyone, especially in the U.S. were impacted on that morning.

It brings to mind waking up to calls telling me to ‘turn on the TV’, “what is going on?”, then the second plane hits and the truth settles in. A nation is under attack, sent reeling.

What rose from this day was a mixture of sense of service and sense of fear.

In 10 years we have seen changes in everyone’s daily lives. From the planes we travel, the water we drink, the borders we cross, and the people we interact with. It causes many people to stop and re-think, “that plane is flying too close to that building”, “was that an earthquake or a bomb?”

A sense of service that was birthed out of the event meant for harm, created a calling that we are all connected. That is what led this girl from Texas and a boy from Oklahoma to drop everything and go volunteer in New York City a month after the attacks. Volunteer with faith-based organizations and the American Red Cross to serve those who were in the trenches searching for survivors and clearing the rubble.

That is what leads all of us to continue to work together to try bridge gaps of understanding. That is what led to creating The September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance. A day that is designed to provide a productive and respectful way to honor those who perished and rekindle the spirit of unity and compassion that swept our nation after 9/11 to help meet the challenges we face today.

This is what can bring all communities and neighbors together and prosper together.

As I reflect, I remember three things remain: Faith, Hope and Love. The greatest of these is Love. Love wins.


Alabama immigration law: prejudice over common sense

26 Aug
MLK Memorial

MLK Memorial

While we set to dedicate and unveil the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial in our nation’s capitol, a whole community in Alabama is about to be segregated and no one seems to be noticing.

Alabama HB 56, which was signed into law by Gover nor Bentley in J une 2011 and set to go into effect on September 1st includes the following:

  • All business must check the legal immigration status of all workers using the E-Verify system
  • Schools will be required to find out if all students are in the country legally (data is to be used for the purpose of “ statistical analysis” rather than preventing students from enrolling)
  • Permits police to arrest persons suspected of being an illegal alien if stopped for a different reason
  • Makes it a crime for persons to knowingly give rides to illegal immigrants
  • Makes it a crime for a landlord to knowingly rent property to an illegal immigrant
  • Makes all contracts entered into by an illegal immigrant unenforceable

Various reasons were given on why the law is said to “be good for Alabama”. What MATT see’s in contrast is an immigration law based on misinformation, prejudice and fear.

This law has the capacity to harm communities of every minority. It harms businesses of every kind by making it more difficult and expensive to hire new employees. It harms the whole education system- fear and intimidation do not provide a conducive learning environment and puts an extra burden upon school districts and administrators who are trying to teach.

In other words this law harms the everyday life of all Alabamans.

We can do something about it.

This law is more oppressive than Arizona’s, but not many people seem to be taking notice. We cannot grow accustomed to laws that segregate a large and growing part of our society.

“Injustice anywher e is a thr eat to justice ever ywher e.” – Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963

  • Tell Governor Bentley this is not good for Alabama. Governor’s Switchboard (334) 242-7100
  • Call or visit your member of Congress! Capitol Switchboar d (202) 224-3121. Tell them that the federal government, not individual states, should control immigration enforcement. We need to come together and enact Comprehensive immigration reform.