If the Statue of Liberty ever came to life I believe she would
be horrified to see how the welcoming of newcomers to this country she
personifies has been, to a large extent, replaced by fear based
rejection. When a leading presidential candidate talks about building
big walls, you know things are changing and not for the better. Even
the youngest newcomers aren't spared. Preschool children are expected
to represent themselves without benefit of lawyer--a feat very few
adults can pull off.
Edwidge Danticat's Mama's Nightingale: A Story of Immigration
and Seperation puts a lovely little face on the widespread heartache
being caused by these changes.
Saya gets out of bed to listen to her mother's voice on her
family's answering machine. She misses her terribly. Her mom is in a
prison for women who don't have papers.
Saya's father writes letters to people in high places. They are
never answered. He is heartbreakingly unable to tell his daughter
when (or if) her mother will come home to live with them.
But then Saya writes a letter of her own. Things start to happen.
Leslie Staub's paintings are expressive and evocative. Reality
and fantasy are intimately entwined as they are in the mind of a very
young child. Pink pajama clad Saya lies in bed asleep clutching her
toy monkey while above her in her dream her mother flies free,
accompanied by a nightingale holding a key.
Most of us can imagine what it would have been like as children
to live separated from a beloved parent. Danticat did not have to.
For most of her youth she lived apart from her parents who resided in
the United States and could not send for her due to lack of papers.
With the USA jailing and deporting over 70,000 parents who have
children born in America there is a lot of unnecessary heartbreak.
Danticat dedicated this book to those children. We can dedicate time
and effort to changing out nation's family breaking policies. We owe
them nothing less.
On a personal note, my daffodils are blooming beautifully. The only
problem is it's still too chilly to sit outside much. I am stubborn.
I bundle up sometimes and pull out a shed chair to read near my
precious flowers and watch with gratitude the bees that flit from
flower to flower sorta like students at a pub crawl.
A great big shout out goes out to all who work to keep parents and
Sent from my iPod