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31 Days of Immigration Stories



Once in a job interview, I was told the position would include working closely with immigrant families. I was enthusiastic about this prospect, although I admitted in the conversation that I knew almost nothing about the political “sides” regarding the topic.

In an effort to assure the interviewer I could serve families in this capacity, I mumbled something about liking to meet new people and generally favoring that others feel welcomed in this country.

That halfhearted answer pretty much summed up my entire “opinion” on immigration. I had always found the topic difficult to engage because heated political debates and sensational statistics just didn’t resonate with me.

But stories do.

My approach to immigration has been significantly shaped by the experiences and stories of real people affected personally by the legislation, rumors, and headlines.

Last month, I completed my first book. Love Undocumented: Risking Trust in a Fearful World will release in January 2018 with Herald Press. In the process of writing, I was often reminded just how little most of us know about immigration: the whys, the hows, the process.

Write 31 Days is an annual writing challenge for bloggers in the month of October. This is my first year participating, and I am joining up for the Instagram Series, sharing 31 Days of Immigration Stories. 

Collecting these stories has been a humbling and sobering experience. I am deeply grateful to the friends (and some strangers) who have graciously shared their stories with me. I still have a few spots available, so if you or someone you know would like to participate, please contact me.  

To follow along and read these immigration stories, follow me on Instagram, where I'll be posting every day this month. You can also check back on this page, and I'll link each photo and story at the bottom of this post.

I hope these stories broaden our understanding of immigration in the U.S. today. I know that hearing them and writing them has expanded my view even more. I am honored to share them with you.  

I'd also like to invite you to pray for our immigrant friends and neighbors. I've created this super short, 5-day prayer guide. It offers language to lift up immigrants in different situations. It is, of course, not exhaustive, but it is a start for us to collectively pray for new arrivals in our country. You can download it here.



#1: Jabu, a lawyer from Sierra Leone
#2: This international couple lived in South Sudan and Egypt before moving to U.S.
#3: David came from Spain to attend a Christian university
#4: Marcos crossed the border from Mexico
#5: Andrej came from Slovakia, X-rays and all
#6: Caz came to the U.S. from New Zealand to serve
#7: Caleb was born in Cuba and raised in Panama before coming to the States
#8: Phoenix left El Salvador with his brother to escape gang violence - Giveaway has ended
#9: Damaris experienced culture shock coming from Nicaragua as a child
#10: Kali and her undocumented husband are waiting in hope for immigration reform
#11: Becca stopped saying "eh?" after she moved from Canada
#12: About 900 DACA recipients are serving in the U.S. military
#13: Billy came to California from Guatemala to participate in a singing competition
#14: Bronwyn came from South Africa for her husband's PhD program
#15: Anthony and his wife came to the U.S. from Taiwan for graduate school
#16: Paco has been waiting almost two years in Mexico to be able to join his U.S. citizen family
#17: Juan traveled from Guatemala across the border to join his mom who'd left twelve years earlier
#18: Gualberto had no money when he got on a boat and left Cuba

More being added daily in October!

#thankstoLoving - The People Behind the History

Fifty years ago, an interracial couple was sentenced to a year in prison for getting married. But Mildred Loving, a black woman, and Richard Loving, a white man, contested their punishment and fought for their marriage. They won in a unanimous decision by the Supreme Court that ended all race-based prohibitions on marriage.

Sometimes it's hard for me to believe that history was only fifty years ago. And then this year I learned that until the 1940's I could've lost even my U.S. citizenship for marrying a man from another country.

So one reason I celebrate Loving Day on June 12 is to join in with a multiracial community that commemorates this important legal victory that has had significant impact on so many people in my life. I want to remember the couple that was behind this history date.

And we have come behind them, benefiting from their commitment to equality and their fight for our right to marry across racial and ethnic lines. So this year, my friends Cara and Michelle and I hosted #thankstoLoving on Instagram, inviting other interracial couples to share their stories. Here are a few favorites:

 




50 years ago today, the Lovings won interracial couples the right to marry. I wish I could say that when they won, racism vanished too...but that's just not the case. We've had racial slurs thrown at us when out in public. We've had people ask why we didn't just stay "inside our own race," and have even been told that "mixed bred" (animals are mixed breeds not humans) children shouldn't be brought into this world. I could go on and on because people can just be downright pathetic. But the people we've encountered who don't see color shine brighter than the dark hatred. Like the ones who have smiled and told us that our family is beautiful, and how blessed we are. We aren't perfect and I don't want to stand out, I just want us to be treated like everyone else. I wish I could thank the Lovings for being brave, for speaking up, and most of all for saying yes to love. And I know I can't control the way others feel and the things they say, but I can control my response and it will always be the same...love sees no color, & love will always win. #thankstoloving
A post shared by Jasmine#throughthelensofgrace (@raisingthemartins) on

A post shared by Brian Helminski (@bphelminski) on

I hope you've enjoyed reading these stories as much as I have. And there's more on Instagram if you search #thankstoLoving! Also, Michelle wrote a terrific piece about how her interracial marriage has impacted her parenting.

Multicultural Reading List: Summer 2017 [Free Download]


The library is emailing me to come pick up my holds. Books are arriving in my mailbox from Amazon. I have a problem. But it's the time of year. Perfect for reading on the porch or by the pool.

It's also the time of year to offer the 2017 Multicultural Reading List! I've shared longtime favorites in the past, but this year I'm focusing on books published in 2016 and 2017 only. Lots of great new novels, memoirs, and nonfiction reads to check out!

Alright, that's enough chit chat. Let's get to reading! Sign up below to receive this year's list with 23 new titles to enjoy!

A Life with Subtitles. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.