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Carrying The Family Forward

Rev. Carlos Samuel Reyes Rodríguez explores the expectation that comes from the older generations to live a better life and return the favor to the family.

See more videos in the ONWARD series with Rev. Carlos:

Graduation: A Blessed Pause / Identity / Personal Peace & Wellness


Hello family! My name is Carlos Samuel Reyes Rodríguez and I serve as a Deacon in Peninsula-Delaware walking with our Latinx people.

As migrants, we are living in two worlds. We still hear that we aren't from here or from there, leaving us on the borderlines. Our bodies might be in the present but our minds often dwell on childhood memories, old friends and sites that marked the way that our parents or we grew up.

We live under the expectation that this land demands assimilation, while the life of our parents and grandparents motivates us to carry our family forward. We are their hopes made flesh. We have seen their struggles; we have been the recipients of the purest manifestations of love as they had left their family, their land, their home to carry us forward.

Don't our parents' witnesses make the pressure to thrive even heavier? I don't think it is an imposed pressure, rather, it emerges from ourselves, from a place of gratitude. We want to respond with thankfulness by taking care of them, by pleasing them as retribution of their holy efforts - although, we know we will never be able to pay them back. The question is "how is it possible that we can embody carrying the family forward when in many occasions we feel blocked by the weaponized use of labels around our migration status?" We tend to push and work harder. We are to sacrifice more in order to survive.

A resilient group of young people, Dreamer students from Delaware State University, has shown what carrying the family forward looks like. From early on, they have taken responsibilities beyond their reach. Through them, many parents became home owners. They help their parents to navigate through language translations, technology and through two worlds that are structured with different values; individualism vs. communal living. Now at school, while taking full load of classes and working from 20 to 35 hours a week, Dreamer students visit congress and representatives in Washington D.C. to advocate for their lives and their parents.

They are embodying the tenacity of their ancestors in places that they have not been welcomed. Their resistance proves their commitment of carrying the family and also the rest of the Latinx community forward. Demanding that indeed they are from here and from there.

They remind me of Jesus from Matthew, chapter 9 verse 35. Where He goes to different villages and cities teaching in synagogues, proclaiming the Good News, and healing those who were sick. They are going to churches to proclaim that they are children of God and healing us from xenophobic sentiment. We have understood that we bring communities together and that is a powerful gift.

In theory, our spiritual life teaches us that members of a body are intrinsically connected and when one member suffers, the entire body suffers. When one rejoices, the body does also. Dreamers show us how this is lived out.

And for that witness, I am thankful.

The Love, Justice, and Peace of God be always with you.

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