You are my other self

By Msgr. Arturo Bañuelas

I come from the border communities of El Paso-Juárez. I have seen a lot of suffering in the immigrants who cross the border, and I have heard many lies about them and about immigration.  Despite all the lies I feel optimistic, because this is our time, this is Latino time. We are coming of age and we want to help fashion a new nation: one that is more just, equal, and free for all citizens, especially the poorest.

But we will need to do this the Latino way, grounded in a new vision we inherited from our indigenous ancestors who said: “Tú eres mi otro yo”, you are my other self. This is a profound spiritual vision of life, an economic program for justice, a cultural solution for peace, and an authentic reform for human dignity.

Tú eres mi otro yo is the Latino way. We are linked as one. We stand together, or fall together. We are each other, and we need to help each other. Our ancestors teach us: if I despise you, I despise myself. And if I promote the good in you, I promote the goodness in me and everyone else.

Our fathers, mothers, and abuelos, have always taught us what Christ teaches us: that we were made good and for good. When we see life in this decidedly Latino world view, we discover that there are more good people in the world than bad, that the world is in truth moving toward this oneness. This is the Latino good news.

I believe that our greatest meaning in life comes from our solidarity with others, especially the struggling poorest among us. As long as they do not eat, have health care, get a good education, live in decent housing, get treated with respect and dignity, then we all remain incomplete in ourselves and as a nation.

Msgr. Bañelas with Carmen F. Aguinaco and Bill Sadlier Dinger after delivering his speech at
Roots & Wings National Congress 2010.

In a time of such propaganda, lies, drastic poverty, violence, racism, and war, in this time when human life seems to be dirt cheap, we must proclaim that each person matters, that they matter enormously to us because tú eres mi otro yo.

As a Latino from the border I have reason to feel optimistic about life and our future because in us we carry this deep Latino desire to live out our God-given oneness: at the end of all our human struggles, we will see that it is our oneness that will win over lies, division, hate, and racism. In the end the glory will go to those who know how to embrace tú eres mi otro yo.
This immoral wall along our border and in our nation´s heart is causing moral damage to the nation´s soul with long term consequences. It says we have stopped dreaming of the possibility to help each other as human beings in the land of the free.

This is an historic moment for us. We have never been this close to immigration reform and we are not backing down because we are not afraid of those who oppose us. I have seen in the face of Latinos all over the country that we are ready to show our resolve, our conviction, and our dedication to the immigrants and to reform. I still believe in the dream of a better, more just America for everyone. Hope runs through our veins and the cause of reform endures in our hearts. We are a proud people and filled with great faith and hope.

Excerpts from a speech delivered at Raíces y Alas 2010


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