Joline Gutierrez Krueger, who wrote "Trading Stones of Hate for Stones of Heart" for the Albuquerque Journal, reported on the vandalism that stunned the North Fourth neighborhood. At least four businesses owned by, or catering to, the Hispanic or immigrant communities had glass windows and doors shattered by rocks. Hand-scrawled notes written on the rocks referred to the “Mexican mafia” and the wish for God to kill its members.
This violence has occurred during a time when debates regarding immigration reform and racial inequality are increasing. A woman named Carla Lanting Shibuya, who describes herself as “kind of an activist,” was moved to counter this assault by thinking of rocks in a different way. She and her sixteen-year-old daughter gathered rocks, cleaned them, and painted them with hearts. She was inspired by the biblical verse from Ezekiel: “And I will remove the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Others came together and supported this idea. A letter was written from this group to the business owners, stating that its members stood in solidarity with them and pledging their patronage and support for the owners' right to thrive in the community.
Of significance to me is how a sixteen-year-old girl participated in this event. So often teenagers are considered to be rebellious and defiant. Similar to Emma Gonzalez (as described in a previous blog), this young woman took positive action, which serves as an excellent example of what is possible. The underlying issue is not about immigration and racial reform; it is about human beings and the potential to connect in peaceful and loving ways. To be sure, the United States was founded on such a philosophy.
While all of this activity is going on in the external world, it can be interesting to think about what stones of hate and stones of heart we personally carry. Comments about your own process of trading stones of hate for stones of heart – any challenges and triumphs – would be much appreciated.