The Encounter at the Fence

In just two months, I’ve heard the many stories that before now, I only read about via news articles and saw briefly across news stations. I’ve talked with families of students, community members, 1st and 2nd generation citizens, and students themselves about their stories of being marginalized, oppressed, discriminated against, and left out. I’ve wrestled with how to properly connect, communicate, show concern, and ultimately make an mpact. No class or textbook prepares you for this. I have no idea of the depths of their struggles, but I’m willing to learn even as I still battle with my own. But yet…even with the storytelling; there is this strong desire to want to know, to want to see.

Where would I start? Where could I go? As far as my freedom papers and my scared mind would take me-


I walked to this thing trembling to this fence, this border, this place where one side represents bondage, broken families, and a mind full of hopes and dreams and the other of alleged freedom and opportunity. I watched family members cry and laugh with one another through a fence holding onto each other’s words as the aching memories they would soon become. I spoke to natives with my limited elementary Spanish. I laid hands on the fence. I bowed my own head and wept prayed to the same God that made me and made them.  I performed and shared communion with those that looked nothing like me. Talk about a moment….a heavy one, but a real one.

There aren’t even enough words.

To describe what just took place at that fence – he Border, on one side-the hopes of freedom, and the other side-the happenings of freedom.

Note to self: LaShundra-as much as people around you complain, don’t you ever let it discount your ability to walk away from that fence, tears dried, fears settled with moments of freedom to live. To some, it means nothing at all. To others, moments they long to live. Don’t ever forget that.

And….To some of my students and families-their (only) way out! *sounds familiar*

As an Educational Leader, it’s not enough for me to simply care. I must immerse myself enough to know! How could I ask of any teacher, administrator, board member, etc. to do what I hadn’t yet to do? I dare not. That process of doing, learning & knowing (for me) started today. I didn’t visit the border as a sight-seeer but as a student. Now….this is #professionaldevelopment.

Thank you, God for the encounter at the Fence.

“Celebrating the culture of others but doing more than caring, but being considerate enough to learn.”


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