This morning, mostly on bike lanes and busy roads with wide, smooth shoulders, we rode to Springer Middle School. There was a good vibe as soon as we entered the building. The students seemed happy to be there.
Jeffrey spoke to students from two 6th grade and two 8th grade classes. Their teacher, Mr. Glazier, has exposed them to controversial ideas, so the students weren’t surprised or offended to hear reasoned criticism of our country’s immigration policies. They saw the parallels between the bullying of peers (a big topic in today’s schools) and the hardships inflicted by law on those deemed to be Outsiders. Several asked insightful questions, such as about the role religion should play in public policy. (To that, Jeffrey answered that religion is one of the forces that influence a legislator, but one must not use the law to inflict personal views on others, and if one cites Scripture to justify oneself, there is no excuse to flout the Good Books’ bans on mistreatment of foreigners.) The teacher presented Jeffrey with a yellow (matches the Lightning!) school shirt quoting Ghandi: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” And I was a big hit. One student guessed that I am not Australian, but Asian (she said Chinese and I’m Korean, but it was a good guess).
This evening, Jeffrey spoke to a group of about 35 at the Siegel JCC of Delaware. The title of his talk: “U.S. Immigration: Sweet Philosophy, Sour Myth, Bitter Reality”. He discussed the noble ideals of the Declaration of Independence (America’s founding document), how hypocrisy and ignorance distort those ideals, and the real workings of the system that results. Audience questions concerned, among other things, the DREAM Act, industrial and academic efforts to attract the world’s best scientists, whether the immigration system does anything well, and possible reforms.
Below you see me, Jeffrey, and Jeffrey’s Wilmington cousins (whose extended local family numbers 15). You have seen Bradford’s professional photos of President Obama and Vice President Biden. You have read Joel’s essays on The Beatles. You have seen Richard’s TV broadcasts from Delaware Park. We’re happy to count these men and their families as enthusiastic supporters of the Ride for Human Rights.
Tomorrow, as the rain abates, we head southwest.