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If I Called ICE

If I Called ICE

 She leapt up from the bleacher in a giant cheer. The star of her alma mater’s basketball team made the winning shot.  But as Victoria shuffled out the gym door amidst the crowd of smiling students, I saw seriousness rather than celebration on her face.

“How are you, Victoria?” I asked as we walked down the hall of the high school that once was mine.

“I’m stressed.”

“What’s up?”

“I’m behind in paying for my classes,” she said, looking down at her sneakers. After graduation, Victoria had enrolled in community college.

“That’s gotta be tough.”

We were both silent for a time.

“But I don’t think I’m going back to school anyway,” she said, giving a slight toss to her hair. “It’s the things people say.”

“Like what?”

“One of the other students asked me if I knew how to “do cocaine”. ‘Why would I know how to do cocaine?’ I asked him. ‘Because that’s what Mexicans do, isn’t it?’ he said.”

She went on.

“I decided to be brave in my sociology class. To tell my story. How I came to the United States when I was six years old. About how my family got deported. I got extra credit for it,” she smiled with a flash of pride.

“After my presentation, I took questions. It got bad. One girl said, ‘So if I called ICE right now, they could come and get you?’”

Victoria decided at that point it was time to stop taking questions from her classmates.

I silently shuddered. That day’s headline told of more children being torn from their families during raids by ICE—U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement.

Her giant dark eyes intensified as she looked straight into mine. “Going to school is my American dream,” she implored. “But we don’t have any money for a lawyer.” She hadn’t heard about the immigrant legal center that provided free services, or the scholarship program for young people just like her. I shared a bit of possibly helpful information.

A thoughtful or thoughtless question. A careless or kind remark. A single moment of listening. We can crush a dream, inspire a dream, or give hope to a dream with a handful of words.

It’s easy for us to forget the great burden that everyone we meet carries.  Even those who join the crowd to cheer on their favorite team.

Coach Koenig

Are you allowing anyone’s words to crush your dream?

Who might need your listening ear today?

Are you willing to be brave, tell your story, and hold on to your dream?

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