This morning I woke up reminding myself to remind myself not to forget to go to the Immigration Rally taking place this afternoon at
Anyway, looking at today’s NY Times and come across this article about a woman accused of defrauding Garifuna and other immigrant communities in
There are probably a dozen stories like this written every year, and it clearly points out to one of the countless difficulties that immigrants face when trying to adapt to or securing residency in the
We all know that what ms. Maximo is accused of doing is wrong—we should also know that sympathy are not the only emotions to be extended to our brothers and sisters from different shores, or as in the case of “Mexican immigrants,” people who are repatriating territories that not too long ago was theirs. We should also know that people like Ms. Maximo are byproducts of a system that needs to be reevaluated and overhauled. Spending time trying to catch “illegals” and prosecuting people who are ‘illegally helping illegals’ shows how (1) outdated immigration policy is in this country, and (2) how absurd the legal framework for categorizing immigration “offenses” is in the
There was another reason why ms Maximo’s story caught my attention. For the past few months I have been collaborating with a friend trying to develop a project that is part ethnomusicology, part cultural history of the Garifuna.
She’s hit roadblock after roadblock in trying to develop her project—but as far as I can tell once she hits her stride what she produces should be nothing short of amazing and will be one of the things that people have to revisit in the libraries for years on end. In the time that I have known her, I’ve heard about her attending countless events showcasing the talent brewing amidst the NY Garifuna community and seen her own attempts at getting her project out in the open for more support.
However it was not until today’s article in the Times that I saw a major paper cover something happening in the New York Garifuna community. And as if Maximo’s story is not tragic enough, her ascent is connected directly to the
Ironically, my friend’s hope and dream is to reverse this trend—change the narrative arc of the Garifuna from tragedy to triumph—from a dying past to a very alive and living future—so that the next time we see smoke emitting from their midst the world will know how to read their signals.