The Work of the People

JUL 13, 2016 - Visual Epistles
Atlanta_dismantle_ice_lupe-9

An Image of Pure Love & Fierce Strength for Human Dignity

Stay Awake.  Pay Attention.  We must Learn to See.

The divine is enfleshed among us.  Her name is love.

It happened again – the sudden pain rising from my chest, releasing its sting, as tears stream from my eyes.  The pulse of the actions around me slow down, the noise becomes distant, and my surroundings lose focus as my gaze takes in the pure love and fierce strength embodied in Lupe and her granddaughter as together they face their fears and their oppressor.  I stop making photos for a moment, in part because I cannot see through the tears that cloud my vision, but also in part because I see more clearly than I did before as I bear witness to the power of love.  This divine human love almost always reveals itself to me enfleshed as a child or as a woman – as pure and true strength, as opposed to the illusion of power surrounding Lupe in that moment in the form of mostly men who carry guns on behalf of a deceptive sovereign power called the state.  It’s this state that has enacted incredible violence and suffering on our community through what Lupe later describes  as the “machinery of deportations.”

Lupe Dueñas is standing with four others blocking traffic to Atlanta’s ICE office holding signs calling for a “Moratorium on Deportations.”  After nearly two hours of protest and actions and not long before she is arrested with the others by the police, Lupe’s young granddaughter runs up to her from the amongst the supportive crowd to embrace her, weeping deep into her arms and close to her heart.  I watched as Lupe kissed her and then whispered something into her ear.  I knew this was sacred space and if we could only just have the eyes to see and the ears to hear . . . but this people’s heart has become calloused.  I later asked her what she whispered into her granddaughter’s ear.  She said to me,

I told her that the reason I’m doing this is because we have to maintain our dignity and we refuse to be stepped on anymore.  My granddaughter was crying because she did not want anything bad to happen to her Grandma.  I said to her, please don’t worry.  We are tired of all the abuses.  We are using this moment as a political trampoline.  That’s why I decided to do this action.  It’s just too much.  We want to show our grandchildren that we are not afraid and that even without papers we can act against all these abuses.  I am showing her that we can stand here without fear.  I don’t want our children to be afraid anymore.  We need an end to deportations.  We need an end to the suffering and the abuses we are experiencing.  The machinery of deportations must be stopped!  Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will continue what Pres. Obama has started.  So until they stop all the deportations, our struggle will continue.

Stay Awake.  Pay Attention.  We must Learn to See.

The divine is enfleshed among us.  Her name is love.

by Steve Pavey // Hope In Focus 

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About Altɐr

We believe there is an alternative narrative to the prevalent narrative of scarcity and fear. We believe God is moving and is behind an alternative narrative of abundance and freedom, a narrative in which fear gets defeated and love wins.

We believe God’s narrative requires we altǝr our perspective, that we step, in faith, into God’s upside down reality. In God’s reality we listen for, live and speak God’s upside down voice of faith, hope and love, not striving for ourselves but serving our neighbor. For all these reasons, this is Altǝr.

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