The Name of Hope…

Since 2021, my two teenagers have met once a week with six other homeschooled kids for what we call our “Friday Friends” co-op. 

Two classes we offer are: 

A literature class with novels from around the world, highlighting stories of people dealing with racism, oppressive governments, colonization, war, and tragedy, told in their own voices. 

A history course called American History: The Rest of the Story, which focuses on the perspective of those whose stories have mostly been erased from the conventional Eurocentric telling of US History: Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and Asian communities. 

The families represented by these students came together for different reasons but share an essential value: we want our children to hear from a variety of viewpoints and voices.

We hope that this broadening of their perspectives will help them grow into people who are curious instead of judgmental, who understand that the world is bigger than their experience and perception, and who know how to handle the discomfort that can ensue from being challenged in all the best ways.   

Personally, I hope it leads them to love others well as God loves them.  

But it is all just invisible seeds on the ground until fruit emerges. 

A few days ago, I was teaching my two teens about the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793, which became Article IV, Section 2, Clause 3 of the US Constitution. It gave local governments authority to seize any enslaved person who fled and return them to their “owners.” It also imposed penalties on anyone who helped them flee in any way. 

My daughter, Isabel, stopped me with: “Wait. That’s the same thing that was happening in Arizona, where people were being arrested for giving food and water to undocumented immigrants!” 

Back in 2018-2019, Arizona arrested and convicted volunteers from an organization called No More Deaths, who were providing survival aid to people in the Cabeza Prieta and surrounding deserts, which are known for their harsh conditions. 

In one statement, Judge Bernardo Velasco said that the crates of food and water the volunteers left for the immigrants “eroded the area’s pristine nature,” and there were videos and photos of border patrol agents dumping the water left by the volunteers. 

Isabel made the connection that a country built on the idea that property and laws, no matter how unjust, have always been more important than people will continue to uphold this value unless we take a good look at ourselves through the lens of honest history. 

And my heart soared with hope for this generation we are raising. 

They get it. 

Looking at what is going on around our nation, it is easy to feel hopeless, but my daughter and her peers will enter civic life in the next presidential elections of 2024, and they are ready. 

This is the generation of kids who are threatening to sue Florida’s governor over his rejection of the AP African American studies pilot. This is the generation of Perriel Pace, of Subha Vadlamannati, of Zy Bryant, of Naomi Wadler, of Autumn Peltier, of Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, of Jack Petocz, and of Olivia Julianna

Emily Dickinson once famously said that hope is a thing with feathers that perches on our souls. But I like how Matthew @crowsfault (his Twitter handle) describes it: 

“People speak of hope as if it is this delicate, ephemeral thing made of whispers and spider’s webs. It’s not. Hope has dirt on her face, blood on her knuckles, the grit of the cobblestones in her hair, and just spat out a tooth as she rises for another go.” 

It reminds me of these kids: resilient, tough, willing to get their hands dirty, and unafraid of making waves. 

This generation is our hope. 

I am careful to instill in my children not just a desire to advocate, to fight for equity, and for those whose voices are silenced in our society, but also a foundation of why…or rather, who is the author of our hope. 

As Christians, we are children of the God whom Paul calls in Romans the “God of Hope.” The God who Jeremiah declares has plans for our future. The God who Isaiah proclaims will renew the strength of those who wait on God. 

Hope is our inheritance, built into the essence of what it means to trust in the Lord with all our heart and not lean on our own understanding. 

But for these kids, a more fitting scripture is 1 Timothy 4:12: “Don’t let anyone look down on you, because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity.”

In Spanish, the word for “hope” (esperanza) is the name of a woman. 

But for me, hope’s name is Isabel and Noah and Lanae and Nick and Harry and Maura and Mason and Paige.

By Gabriela Bruitron

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