Feb 12 – Maria Ibarra – “A different oral argument”

Wednesday, February 12

Maria is the Southeast Michigan regional organizer for We the People Michigan. She immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico when she was nine years old and grew up Southwest Detroit and Dearborn. Maria has been fighting for immigrant justice for almost a decade, including grassroots organizing and political advocacy.

Yesterday, the Ignatian Solidarity Network reached out to Maria asking if she could “reach out to someone in the Jesuit network to ask them ‘what is at stake for the network if I, Maria, were to lose my DACA status.’”  Maria reached out to me.  Last night we decided to base our ISN response on Maria’s poem of last fall: “A different oral argument.”  While I am writing this morning’s poetry post, Maria is writing the first part of our response to the ISN’s question. We will finish our collaboration early this afternoon and submit it to ISN.  Mostly, we will base what we send on “A different oral argument”  (posted on this list last November 18). Working with Maria Ibarra, one of Detroit Mercy’s graduates whom I admire immensely, is an honor.

For a start on what we will send to ISN later today, here is her November poem.   Best to read it out loud with pauses.

Have a blest day;  looks like some pale February sun begins to anoint this Wednesday.


john sj

Today’s Post:   ”A Different Oral Argument” by Maria Ibarra

Today, November 12, the US Supreme Court
is hearing oral arguments on DACA.
Arguments on whether this pro-life
Will let me keep the life
I lead.

I don’t want to argue.
I don’t want to talk to them.
The only people I want to talk to are
Other undocumented young people
Many with DACA, many without.

So this is to you, my loves.
We are not an argument.
We are warm honey
And the smell of cinnamon sticks
Simmering on the stove late at night.

We are sweet like guava fruit,
And prickly like cactus in the sun.
Ripe with possibility, wrapped
In self-protection.

We are powerful like our mothers,
Who break English in order to survive it.
We are gentle like our fathers
holding their new grandsons for the first time.

We are not an oral argument.

We are poetry dancing in the streets,
Hymns reminding us that
We survive each day despite
A military state trying to crush us.

How amazing it is that we are still here.
Powerful, and kind,
And beautiful, and yes
But most importantly
My dears
Most importantly, we are loved.
We are loved by our families and communities
Who crossed oceans and deserts
To give us this life.
This love is stronger than a supreme court decision, stronger than ICE,
Stronger than foolish
Arguments about whether or not we deserve to stay.

We already stayed. Now it’s time to live.


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