Sunday after church, I was talking with two amazing people – I will call them John and Louise-about local politics and protests. John said to Louise and me, “You are my heroes. I need to learn from you,” referring to the fact that we attend protests, town hall meetings, and advocacy events, and communicate often with elected officials. Although we were flattered, Louise responded with what I thought were wise words: “You need better heroes.”
The more I pondered it, though, the more I realized that John might be on to something. Most people think that only people with superpowers can change policies and politicians’ hearts, but the truth is far from this myth. Ordinary people like you and me can do great things.
Every time I go to the capitol, or attend a city council meeting, rally, or protest, I feel incredibly awkward. Every time I write a letter addressed to an elected official I feel incompetent. Negativity crowds my thoughts: “Who are you to tell these people how to do their jobs? Have you forgotten that you are not even allowed to vote? You’re not a citizen!” I have to swallow my fears and doubts and remember that I am a hard-working, well-informed, taxpaying immigrant who cares deeply about the people in this city, state, and country. I am a minister to people who will be directly and indirectly affected by the decisions being made.
It doesn’t get any easier at the rally or event. You sometimes get ignored, and sometimes you get rejected. You sometimes earn a patronizing response. Every once in a while, though, someone listens, and, occasionally, your letter, call, or visit, combined with your persistence, changes someone’s heart or mind.
Try it. We can be heroes just for one day.
Rev. Claudia Aguilar Rubalcava