Sunday, June 5, 2011

Charity begins at home

Hispanic business donations in their own turf paled in comparison to what their Caucasian counterparts in the same areas.

By James Reza  , Dallas  

Almost all of my life, I’ve tried to help others in need.  Proud to say, when I lived in North Fort Worth, a predominately American Hispanic area I was one of the go to guys when my parish and Hispanic groups needed someone to spear head a fund raiser to help those in need.  Since I was a young boy I enjoyed being involved in my parish.  First as an altar boy, then as co-choir director for 18 years, Vice President of the All Saints School Booster Club and a member of the Catholic Men’s Club.  Besides being involved in my parish I also was involved politically and as a newspaper writer for two major newspapers, I often was asked to appear on many radio and national TV shows to debate or speak on political topics I wrote in my columns.  The media exposure I received, to which I didn’t seek by the way, gave me the opportunity to meet and be friends with many powerful and influential political and business individuals.  Also, being a member of the North Stockyards Optimist Club gave me the opportunity to work and meet many prominent individuals who’s sole purpose as Optimist members was to organize fundraisers to help youngsters in sports activities.  Interestingly, most of the individuals who were extremely generous to me in my fund raising endeavors were Anglos.  And most of the monies I garnered for those in need went to Hispanics.  “Did Hispanic business owners help you James?” some might ask.  Sure, and though those Hispanic businessmen and businesswomen were and are very wealthy, their contributions to help other Hispanics in their own turf paled in comparison to what their white counterpart businesses in the same area donated.

A couple of week ago, a nun from the Order of St. Francis (a group of nuns who left Bavaria, Germany 160 years ago to minister to immigrants in Milwaukee, Wisconsin) made a gripping homily to St. Paul’s parishioners of whom I’m a member.  Though I was familiar with the topic the nun was addressing, my fellow parishioners were shocked by her revelations.  As the nun talked about the ministry her order is involved in Juarez, Mexico (across from El Paso, Texas), a city with a population of 1.3 million, she revealed the horror the people of Juarez daily experience due to the severe criminal activities that abound attributed to the drug cartels.  The nun revealed that daily, scores of men and women, who include politicians and law enforcement officers, are found mutilated, raped and decapitated for their efforts in fighting the drug cartels.  The nun cited that newspaper reporters are also targeted and many along with their family members are found dead when they write stories denouncing the drug lord’s activities.  Surmising, the nun stated that consequently a large number of businesses have shut their doors and moved out of the city, or, moved their business to El Paso, Texas.  Due to the exodus of many businesses closing in Juarez, the nun continued, many residents of Juarez are now without work and struggling to survive in a city that is in total chaos.

As I listened to the nun and the terrible situation in Juarez, where she ministers to the poor, I then remembered the speech President Obama made in El Paso this May where he pandered to Hispanics as they suffer with a 10.1% unemployment rate due to Mexican immigrants crossing over to Texas to take their jobs.  And, how he beat his breast as how he has fought tooth and nail to curb illegal immigration.  He made sport of those, in this case Republicans, who want to secure our borders.  The President stated:  “Opponents (I guess Republicans) want to move the goal posts on border enforcement. Maybe they’ll need a moat,” he said sarcastically.  “Maybe they want alligators in the moat.”

As expected, the nun then pleaded for donations to help her order.  Folks, though I wanted to help, I felt like asking her, “Why don’t you go solicit donations at the predominately Hispanic parishes of All Saints, Our Lady of Guadalupe, or Immaculate Heart, which are the largest parishes in the diocese?”  My friends, I already knew the answer — Catholic Hispanics are less charitable than white Catholics.  My sister, Cecilia, who counts the Sunday collection at her church was shocked when she visited my church one Sunday and noticed the contributions our small parish gives exceeded those of her parish of All Saints, which is one of the largest congregations in Fort Worth.

All my life at mass, I’ve heard black, Hispanic, white priests, nuns, and laymen asking for donations to help Hispanics, blacks, and people of other countries.  Yet, I question, “aren’t there any poor white people in need in our own country?”  Just this last month, hundreds of white Americans, along with some blacks, lost their lives, and thousands more lost all of their belongings in violent storms in Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and Massachusetts.  Aren’t those folks worthy of our help?  Or is it because most in those torn states are white, don’t deserve any assistance.

One of the most disturbing ads I see on TV is one that solicits funds for blacks.  In the ad they make this statement, “Give to the United Negro College Fund, a Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste.”  That’s fine with me.  I’m fully aware that Hispanic groups like LULAC and American GI Forum make fundraisers where they disclose that the funds raised are strictly for Hispanic scholarships.  But, what if there was a TV ad that made this statement, “Give to the White Student College Fund for their College Needs.”  How do you think Hispanics and blacks would react to that?  One can only wonder.

This Great Nation gives aid to many countries.  However, with unemployment at 9.1% and higher in some states, many American workers are hurting financially.  I believe we need to cut our foreign aid and start helping our own American citizens.  I’m a firm believer that “Charity Begins at Home!”

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