Dear President Biden, Vice President Harris, and Members of the 117th Congress,
I have seen the sacred ability to dream by so many further shattered over the last four years. To quote Cruz Ramírez in the animated movie Cars 3: “Dream small, Cruz… or not at all.” As a Latina theologian, dreams devastated by a lack of hope are not new. However, these sorrows only increased as we witnessed at least 23 lives lost and countless others injured during the August 3, 2019 El Paso massacre; the higher impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people of color; as well as over 2,805 migrants who lost their lives in pursuit of refuge and safety, like Jamillah Nabunjo.
Last year, I heard a Latina lawyer working at the Mexico/U.S.A. border (probably for wages well below what her colleagues make) respond to a group of pastors who asked what changes she would like to see in policies for refugees and migrants. She said: “I would just like to return to where we were before the Remain in Mexico Policy (MPP) was put into place.” For this attorney, a practical commitment to justice meant tightening her vision to a more recent past; she was faced with the need to dream small rather than the ability to dream big.
“…lead us as a country to live into new dreams with and for each other…”
Likewise, I fear that federal leadership will dream small and turn to surface repairs for the deep cracks in our social systems in the U.S.A. So I write to you today and beg you not to create mere simple remedies for the chaos further awoken over the last four years.
Instead, lead us as a country to live into new dreams with and for each other, with the most vulnerable at the core of the dreaming and the decision-making power. Life is fragile. Multiple communities of people have lived into dreams which attend to the fragility of life. Inspire many generations of leaders from these communities. Use the hundreds of organizations and individuals that have been working together across the Americas to think through social issues, such as Iniciative Causas Raíz. Living into big dreams depends on the shared wisdom of many rather than the narrow sightedness of few.
Neomi De Anda
Neomi De Anda, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, University of Dayton
President, Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States
Member, Marianist Social Justice Collaborative Immigrant Justice Team