#49 "A Walk near the Rio Grande River"
Blog #49 is about Yonathan Moya. Yonathan is the founder of the organization, Border Perspective. (https://www.borderperspective.org/)
Yonathan grew up in Texas near the southern border. He spent a lot of time helping to raise his siblings. He lived in a community surrounded by immigrant families where he was taught to care about other people. He attended college in Indiana and before returning back to his home in Southern Texas, he spent time doing service internships in Latin America. Once he returned home, Yonathan began to focus on domestic work with the immigrant communities in his hometown.
This work led Yonathan to create his nonprofit, Border Perspective. Border Perspective partners with local organizations and nonprofits along the southern border to support families in need. Additionally, they connect people from all across the United States to serve along the border to see the situation firsthand and help others gain a better understanding of what is occurring.
Yonathan realized that his experience was unique. He had grown up in southern Texas and had met many people living along the border. He had walked along the Rio Grande river and had seen the overwhelming number of people in the shelters. He understood that the people on the border were fleeing from poverty, persecution, and violence. He realized that these people are mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, sisters, and brothers. However, like I said, Yonathan also knew his situation was unique, and the overwhelming majority of people in our country had never taken a walk near the Rio Grande River.
He wanted to help others understand what he understood, so he started a service that gives people the opportunity to take that walk. Yonathan, a father to a sixteen-month-old son, has watched a parent lay with their newborn on a mat in a shelter that is filled with a thousand other people. He has talked with a parent of a fifteen-month-old daughter who took her first steps at a migrant camp with 2500 other people. With his service trips, Yonathan is creating a way for people everywhere to encounter those same experiences and create an informed perspective about the border crisis.
So, what can we learn from Yonathan? We can understand that gaining perspective is a SUPERPOWER. Before solidifying your opinions on others, ask yourself what a walk would be like in their shoes. Before labeling someone, consider the fact that they are a human being FIRST. We all have perspectives, and we can seek to shape them with new information.
If I took a walk along the Rio Grande River, I would probably meet a girl the same age as me. I could sit and listen to her story and try to understand what it would be like being a seventeen-year-old trying to cross our border. I could be educated on the situation and think of her while I am shaping my perspective on this crisis. If you took a walk along the Rio Grande River, you could do the same thing. You’d probably realize that the people on the border are not different from you, just in a different situation than you.
And one additional thing to leave you with-Yonathan mentioned to me that if he could tell all the teenagers in the world one thing, it would be the following: “None of us are that different. This virus is living proof of how similar we are. No amount of money or power can keep COVID-19 away from you. From NBA players to your next-door neighbor, it can affect any of us. We are all human beings on this planet and are living through this together.” When Yonathan says, “this” he is not just describing the virus...