We Have Too Much Love To Accept the I-Word

And four brave people who came out of the shadows on Colorlines this week remind us why.rn

By Kai Wright Mar 18, 2011

All week, Colorlines has been publishing first-person essays from people who are either undocumented or deal with the consequences of the United States’ broken immigration system in their families. They love themselves too much to accept being called criminals, and we love them for sharing that bravery with Colorlines. 

The United States is a country in which millons of people are citizens in every way other than those that would give them the rights of citizenship. They have built lives and communities and economies and families and all the things we claim to hold dear, and yet we reduce them to criminals because their existence defies the fiction of a bordered world. I struggle for an explanation for this beyond the fact that they are primarily people with brown rather than white skin–a difference that Americans have often used to distinguish citizens and invaders, humans and monsters. But this delineation has always depended upon the so-called monsters’ acceptance of their sub-human status. Whenever we have stood up and insisted upon our humanity, whatever the cost, we have moved toward justice.

That is the brave step uncounted numbers of people took this week, in honor of Coming Out of the Shadows Week. It is the step that David, Dayanna Rebolledo, Tony and Andrea Rosales each took on Colorlines. They each love themselves too much to be afraid or ashamed of being undocumented. Their capacity for love is one more indication that they are not criminals; they are citizens. It’s time our laws catch up to that reality.

We’re ending the day as often as possible by celebrating love. We welcome your ideas for posts. Send suggestions to submissions@colorlines.com, and be sure to put Celebrate Love in the subject line. You can send links to videos, graphics, photos, quotes, whatever. Or just chime in to the comments below and we’ll find you. Be sure to let us know you’ve got the rights to share any media you send.

To see other Love posts visit our Celebrate Love page.