COMMENTARY: As Mexican nationals who decided to migrate to another country, either for necessity or for desire, we are constantly advocating for our own unalienable rights. These include but are not limited to access to educational and employment opportunities, a decent wage that helps us save for the future, fair working conditions, business ownership opportunities for those who decide to do so, affordable and high-quality health care, and a safe place to live.
As a country, we have publicly opposed the construction of a wall between the U.S. – Mexico border. We have also expressed our frustration when President Trump demonizes Mexicans and says that Mexico does not send their best because it exports rapists and criminals into the U.S.
In other words, we are constantly demanding respect for our culture, beliefs and personal traits.
However, recent events have made me think that we have not really acted in accordance with our own words and claims. Have we really taken a stand to help those human beings who are desperate to flee an armed conflict that is literally tearing them apart?
You might think that Mexico has its own problems and it does not have sufficient resources to help our brothers and sisters in need. However, despite the unequal distribution of wealth, Mexico is in a position to aid refugees who are seeking for a better life. Shouldn’t Mexico be sending a loud and clear message of action, collaboration, optimism and hope to the world?
I am happy to say that I just learned that a nonprofit based in Mexico is actually trying to help those refugees who are looking for safe haven. Project Habesha is an international, nonpartisan, humanitarian effort, led by Mexico, to help foreign refugees pursue a post-secondary education in Mexico. It is my understanding that these students will receive a scholarship, health insurance and a monthly stipend (provided by universities and private companies) to fulfill their goals.
Drawing upon UNESCO’s sustainable development model, Project Habesha centers on the conviction that cultural diversity is an asset and inspires comprehensive economic development. Thus, in addition to economic growth, social progress, and environmental sustainability, cultural diversity is one of the pillars of sustainable development that might help us become avid spokespersons who are willing and able to spark an objective dialogue on the matters that affect us all.
Based on the basic tenets of cultural diversity, being a “bad hombre” has nothing to do with the country we were born in, our race or our cultural heritage. Being a “bad hombre” is a matter of the individual decisions that we make and the behavior we choose to adopt.
I wish I had the courage to follow the footsteps of the brave individuals who launched Project Habesha and many other dedicated persons who have shown us that compassion, justice and prosperity can truly coexist.
To my humble and intelligent “partners in crime” around the world who inspire me every single day and are not afraid to pursue the unselfish mission of turning a hectic world right side up, never underestimate the relevance of your work. Thank you for helping me believe that a better world is possible and that we can be on the right side of history.
Rodolfo Acosta Pérez is director of family empowerment for a nonprofit organization in Las Cruces and a former research assistant at the Arrowhead Center for Economic Development.