A man is fighting for his freedom, his family.
He sits just there: A red chair, a church basement.

Estas luchando para tu vida, para tu familia — 
the documentary filmmaker asks him to sit up
a little straighter. Look directly into camera.

Con la ayuda de dios, todo se puede…
With God’s help, everything is possible —

Forward is the only direction, there’s no going back.
But this government, this backlash — backwards
is its middle name, its blind bigotry, its rallying cry.

While speaking of the sanctuary community,
he says words like valiente, those fighting

for the paperless. We are not alone in this fight.
Your role — a meal, a ride, cash in an envelope,
lawyer’s fees or a week’s worth of groceries —

these are no smaller than the coffee beans
he picked in Chiapas, the weeds he pulled

from your front lawn. Raise your voice,
raise your right hand, swear on everything
you claim as holy and right and human.

“We are a family of faith, we haven’t hurt anyone –”
my Spanish is still able to grasp these truths,
as is my heart and — I can only hope — my poems.

* * *

Learn more about Lucio Perez.

2 thoughts on “Pa’lante

  1. B says:

    I feel the warmth and power of your poem. I read the article about Mr Perez and his family and glanced at some hateful comments that leave me incensed. The church and volunteers are doing right. Why the attacks? Where is our community? Where is our heart? Where is our humanity?



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