Ghandi said, “A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.” There are many groups that fall under this category here in North Carolina, but one group that is most neglected is the children of immigrants from South of the border. These are very courageous kids who get dressed and show up to school everyday in spite of all the challenges they face. Their parents are eager to do what they can to encourage them to do well in school. Undoubtedly, education is at the top of their priorities and they desperately want their children to have better lives and become teachers, doctors, lawyers, or some other type of professional.. This motivates them to take the jobs nobody else wants to take and to take risks that most of us would never consider. Yet, their dreams are almost an illusion as many English Learners will not even graduate high school. Their high school graduation rate being at only 52%, they will soon find themselves working next to their dads or moms in the fields or cleaning houses.
Is this the best we can do for them? Have we become such a callous society that we look the other way and, rather, just choose to enjoy the cheap vegetables they harvest and the cheap labor they offer on demand?
We believe there is goodness left in our society, that there are community members, organizations, educators, parents, and students that want this situation to change. We believe that once we raise our voices and call on the movers and shakers of North Carolina, we can work together to change the policies that are preventing the English Learners of our state from reaching their highest potential. And that is why Educación Sin Barreras NC (Education Without Barriers NC) was created, to bring down the barriers that block their educational journey. Together we can help them dream again, and then all of us as a community, as a state, will be the better for making sure that their weakness becomes their strength and they become the professionals they deserve to be.
The urgency of loving our neighbors as ourselves is clear and the time could not be better to take North Carolina into a new historical period of real equity and justice for all.