Physical distance is needed for protection against COVID infection, but when it turns to social distance – the separation of people from one another it presents a special challenge. Some across the Tri Cities, and here in Tierra Vida have responded by displaying signs that encourage with words like “We are all in this together” or “You are Not alone.” We need those words, but we also need to love in action (1 John 3:18).
A lot of people don’t feel love. Many of our systems, our laws and our societal practices marginalize people, especially Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). The largest BIPOC group in the Tri Cities is Latinx. Our work for many years has been with and among Latinx people. They are valued leaders, members of our teams and part of our community. Yet we know that we must continue to be vigilant to show people they are seen, they are loved, they are valued. We need to use our actions to live into the really important words on some of the signs, “You Matter” or “Tu Vales.”
By celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month (Sep 15 – Oct 15) we are honoring our Latinx neighbors who share a rich and beautiful heritage. Our community benefits from this heritage and its special gifts of family, community, faith, honor, and service. At the Collegium Café we are using our space to demonstrate to our neighbors and ourselves that we see what God has made special and unique in our Hispanic neighbors. On seeing the focus through the décor (including flowers made by the children at the Nueva Esperanza Leadership Academy), activities (like special social media posts), and the plans for food specials (like Pozole), one community member, with a big smile on her face said, “This feels like home.” Home. A feeling of Welcome. Knowing truly that “Tu Vales.”