I drive a large white SUV. I call her, in my head, Baby Beluga. I never call her that aloud because I feel like she takes good care of me, and I should call her something more regal, perhaps 'The Snow Queen?' It's still a work in progress.
Yesterday, while driving 'The Snow Queen' to pick up a kid from school, I ever so gently grazed another driver's rearview mirror, leaving a little white line on it. We both pulled over, me with a heavy heart. I'll be the first to admit that I am not an amazing driver. I drive with caution and nervous energy. I've never loved driving, but it is a necessary evil of where we live and send our kids to school.
On the side of the road, the woman looked at me, and then, with tears in her eyes said "I'm sorry, it has been a really rough day. I lost my job, and I'm just not sure what to do next." I apologized, over and over again, and told her we should exchange insurance information to make sure she gets the scratch fixed. Then she started weeping. Head in hands, tears and red-faced, embarrassed and frustrated. She said "It's not you. I'm so sorry. I don't know why I'm crying. I don't have insurance. I'm an illegal. My life is so hard."
My heart completely broke.
I hate that this sweet woman was reduced to a pool of tears and that I made it a little harder for her. We hugged each other, while she sobbed. And hugged. And hugged again. Two strangers, on the side of the road, hugging, while her kids looked on and smiled and waved. After resolving the scratch a different way, we both went back to our cars teary-eyed.
This woman is me and I am her. We are a country of immigrants, and I am no different. And this week, when parents are being separated from their children, and families ripped apart, my heart is so heavy. But having a heavy heart doesn't help anyone. We need to take action. We need to use our voices for those who don't feel safe enough to speak for themselves. Here are some organizations who are working to help, and are taking action in a variety of ways.
Border Angels leave bottles of water on the border and provides immigration consultations, and organizes community events.
Or read this amazing list that has these options, and more on how to be helpful.
I would like for my friends, neighbors, or people I meet, if I bump their car, to know that I am working to keep them here, and together, volunteering my time, and opening my wallet.