By Eddie V. Garcia
As you already know, this issue is an important one for me and one that reminds me of the struggles, pains and need to overcome obstacles as I experienced as an immigrant child. The struggles I saw my parents endure in the quest of experiencing a better life in the United States of America. Some people capitalize on the baseless allegation that HB 262 is unfriendly and mean-spirited. We all know, that all good things in life, those worth pursuing and fighting for are often unpleasant, often cause sadness but the end result is worthy.
No parent wants to see their child off to war. No child wants to see their parent off to war, but it is a duty, a dedication a “thing” we do as Americans!
I am sure most people would enjoy not having to work each day. Having more than a 2-day weekend is fantastic, but the reality is that we have to work.
Please do the right thing by passing HB 262.
Its passage is not anti-immigrant, it’s not based on fear, it’s not mean, it’s not deterring foreign business.
It is the right thing to do to ensure every one on our roads can effectively communicate in times of need.
It is the right thing to do to ensure every one on our roads can quickly and effectively read and understand warning and regulatory English written signs and understand an Amber Alert to save the life of a child.
It is the right thing to do to return thousands and thousands of taxpayer dollars to the Tennessee state treasury especially during times of economic challenges. When state employees are forced into a pay cut or lose their jobs, when public schools are losing instruction like the arts, music, physical education. When teachers are losing their jobs.
It is the right thing to do to be able to reallocate taxpayer dollars that may help improve the communications system for our Tennessee Highway Patrol officers out there on our roads. Each time they cannot communicate with the command center or one another, they put their lives in danger and not from the hands of a criminal, but from the inability to communicate via radio to another officer for assistance.
It is the right thing to do for current and future generations of immigrants who want to come to the United States of America to work, prosper, live and most importantly give their children a better life.
As I’ve said before you, I am a Christian musician. There is no greater joy for me to witness someone touched by my singing and they in turn realize they need God in their lives. Often times, we’ve performed in a smoky-filled bar. But when I perform a Christian song, that (one) person locks in and listens and then may come up afterwards and say to me, “Thank you for singing that song. It reminded me that I am a human being and that I need to remedy a wrong or visit with a friend or family member whom I haven’t spoken with in years.
I respect whatever or whoever “that” God for them may be, as long as they come to know and embrace a higher being for peace and salvation and I am humbled to have been that conduit.
Similar to passing this legislation. Strip away the rhetoric of all the opposing comments, but when the true nature of the legislation’s intent is understood and any permanent person wishing to reside in our state makes the earnest effort to learn English to obtain what is a coveted document (driver’s license) the revelation and the dignity of achieving this document from the fruit, sweat and tears of their own labor is overwhelming and ever-lasting.
Finally, we all know that the driver’ license can be taken away or lost, but we must also know that the knowledge of knowing English will last forever and cannot be taken away.
Eddie V. Garcia is a Tennessee advisory board member for ProEnglish