FIRST THOUGHT: Never too young to start!
The memory of the first day at a new school gives me the same awkward, anxious thoughts every time. There was nothing quite like standing in the cafeteria with a spicy chicken sandwich and limp fries on a tray, staring at tables, wondering where to sit, while simultaneously pretending that’s not what you’re doing. We need to teach our children to be perceptive, to seek out newbies or loners, and invite them to sit down at their table. All anyone needs is one friendly face, one friendly gesture. Maybe you’ve graduated from those sweaty-palm days, but there are still plenty of opportunities to accept someone into the fold. Consider it your homework for the day.
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 21 million
Imagine being that kid with nowhere to sit at lunch. Now, imagine that along with being in a new country where everyone speaks a language that you haven’t learned yet. That’s what it’s like for a lot of immigrants. There are about 21 million female immigrants in the United States, and while you’re adjusting to the fact that Claire’s didn’t pierce your ears correctly, they’re navigating radical cultural differences.
WOMAN TO WATCH: Sophie Cruz, Activist
What were you doing at five years old? I was watching that show Arthur and getting upset because my best friend accused me of giving her chicken pox. That’s not quite what Sophie Cruz is doing. What can a young girl do in this big, scary world? Be a voice for others.
In 2015, the Pope visited the White House. Sophie Cruz ran out to greet him only to be stopped by security, but Pope Francis saw her and requested to meet. She gave him a hug, along with a letter explaining her fears that her undocumented parents might get deported. Sophie asked for his prayers.
The following year, President Obama invited her to the White House. She starred in a short film that documented her family and her activism. It went on to be presented at the Tribeca Film Festival. In it, Sophie’s mom describes how DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans) would keep her family together. The legislation has since been rescinded by the Trump administration.
Sophie is full of energy outside of and before her activism. At two, she wanted to do Tae Kwan Do. The instructor told her to come back when she was four. When Sophie turned three, she returned. The instructor said if she could know the difference between her right foot and her left foot, she could stay. Of course, Sophie did.
There’s nothing Sophie can’t do if she has the willpower. There’s no doubt she will achieve great things, but there’s also no doubt that she has the maturity to understand the devastation deportation would cause. Her mom instructs her to call her godmother if that ever happens. It’s an uncertain future and one that weighs heavy on her now nine-year-old shoulders.
Sophie spoke at the Women’s March, giving what some say was one of the best speeches of the event. We are in awe of her bravery and her never-give-up attitude.
QUITE THE QUOTE
Poet Warsan Shire said:
“No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark.”