Today was a pretty good day. We started the day off with Robert, who a leading force at the Veterans of Foreign Wars San Diego Post. Robert works on cases regarding Deported Veterans and collaborative efforts to bring them home. He talked to us about what immigrants that have served in the army have to go through. He described the realities and injustices of war heroes in the Latinx community. Depending on their citizen/residency status, many veterans serve in the military and are later deported after a minor law infraction. We heard a real story from a deported veteran and his current situation. Hearing his story made the gravity of this issue feel more real. During our time, a lot of us reflected about what it would be like if we were deported and forced to survive in a country that we didn’t know. After the talk, we went to Chicano park and Alex talked about the Chicano community and how hard it’s been to reclaim their park. The murals and the passion that was put into these pieces demonstrated the resistance and power that this community holds. For lunch, we went to Las Cuatro Milpas which is a taco place that has been there since 1935, it is said to be one of the most authentic Mexican restaurants of the area. It was delicious!
We then came back to the hostel and had some free time. We reconvened in the kitchen to reflect and flip through our time at Chicano park. Stories were shared and questions were asked connecting to Chicano park and The Deported Veterans. Sometimes we don’t realize our privileges and blessings until we’ve understood the stories of those who are oppressed by the same systems we grew up in. After the deep discussions, we went down to the bay to eat dinner and share some quality time with our peers. We laughed together and sat in the grass enjoying the great views of the bay. We even caught part of a local concert in the area, which was really fun. After our dinner, we headed back to the hostel and on the way to the Hostel we saw the beautiful sunset of San Diego. When we arrived at the Hostel we had a discussion about the plans for the following day and we selected the photographer and the leader for the next day. It was a great day full of learning, community, and numinous growth.