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Deporting Love: A Married Couple’s Journey to Stay in the United States

On November 28, 2005, Enrique Gonzalez walked across the border to pursue a safe and prosperous life in the U.S. Afraid of gang recruitment in El Salvador and seeking to escape to a safe place with opportunities to work to help himself and his family, after two days of processing and detention, he was taken (by immigration officials) to a Texas bus station where he was left to find his way in what would become his new home, the United States of America. Thirteen years later, with a U.S. Immigration approved marriage to a citizen, Enrique is being deported.

In the January 2017 Executive Order, Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, the Trump administration laid out a much wider dragnet authorizing and empowering ICE in the deportation of undocumented.  Unlike the discretion of the Obama Administration, as evidenced in the 2011 Memo, which exercised a great deal of flexibility the Trump Administration's laser-sharp focus is on the numbers! Every undocumented …


An Open Letter to Indy's East Side Neighbors

Dear East Side Neighbors and Friends,

Together we face a historic moment for local communities and our nation. The Irvington, Christian Park, and other east side communities in Indianapolis, stands the chance to join others around the nation in the promotion of "human-centered" solutions for immigration reform. 

We are culturally diverse. Nearly 30% of our population is Hispanic. Our neighborhoods are comprised of a rich tapestry of immigrants from around the world. We have LGBTQ, African America, Asian, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Indian, Native American, and whatever other labels one might use to slice or dice our demographic makeup. 

East side neighborhoods are said to have one of the most dense communities of our beloved age-in-place elders (the respected leaders of our tribe). And, in recent years, millennial residents who love the vibe and convenient lifestyle of a tight-knit community, have found their way into our neighborhoods and into our hearts.  Our diversity is our strength.

Immigration is not a political problem. It's not an opportunity to stomp our foot and pout, nor to raise our voice and fight! This is a humanitarian crises that is underway - on American soil. Kindness and a helping approach is what is needed.

As you know, Enrique and I are now facing the destruction of our entire lives with a pending deportation. The lives of many other families just like ours are at stake.  In my view, the enforcement of current policy is similar to a natural disaster. It's a tsunami, a forest fire, and earth quake. It's path of destruction is immense. 

If an earthquake were to shake any one of our homes into rubble (a gay, a "Jew", a Muslim, an elder, millennial or black family in our community), you would not first judge before you leap. Quite the contrary. The very people right next door who are active on social media, lashing out with ill intent, would not hesitate to rush to our rescue were we in a fire. You know you would! So, all we're asking for tomorrow's rally is that the good people of east side communities suspend judgement and attend our event with compassion and generosity as we face the need for an emergent response. A life-or-death rescue is in need.

As a former health Information technology innovator, and former CIO, COO, and CEO of various healthcare engagements, I can smell an innovation a mile away. My closest friends laugh when they hear me proclaim, "...there's a juicy problem waiting to be solved." 

We innovators and entrepreneurs alike, know when we are standing face-to-face with " idea whose time has come."  In that one moment, a striking second when an innovation emerges to solve a juicy problem, we humans demonstrate our capability to solve any problem with empathy.

For innovators, we have but one innate reaction: to face the risk without hesitation while taking the first step towards a solution. We see the world through a "can do" lens and we find our ways to muster up the courage to leap - to bring to life the "idea whose time has come." 

Enrique Gonzalez and I may soon be leaving you (depending on what the courts decide), but not without a plea for kindness, compassion, and a great deal of understanding, listening, and empathy, we look to our community to help innovate solutions for the challenge that is American immigration in the 21st century. This is what "What About Us?A Peaceful Resistance Rally for Immigration Reform is all about. 

With courage to stand before you all (even you provocateurs on social media - and, you know who you are) to tell our story, and to courageously face the risks associated with making our life public, we're putting our lives out there to shine a bright light on the darkness that is the morally unjust humanitarian crises of immigration. We're speaking up for those who have no voice. Laws that must be changed, Enrique and I are risking it all in search for human-centered solutions. 

What if you woke up  one morning to discover everything you love, everything you built, all your close friendships, family, home, and business will soon be swept away (at the age of 50)? What if you were forced to move into harm's-way within a country that has earned the distinction "The Murder Capital of The World?" This is my truth! This is our truth. 

Indy, historically known for its "Hoosier Hospitality" is a community that welcomes others. We are a strong community rich with cultural diversity. We're innovative (just look at our industries). We want to find solutions right here at home - right here in our own backyard. We've remodeled many of your kitchens and rehabbed many of your bathrooms. We have become friends with so many of you along the way. Would you please join us to solve some really "juicy problems" - an - "idea whose time has come?" 

See you tomorrow at 1pm in the IRV Library parking lot.