’I Want to Make a Difference in this World’
My name is Alexis Murphy. I’m 16 years old and I attend Calvary United Methodist Church in Phoenix, Ariz. I am half Mexican-American and I look it. My mother, Lori Murphy, is Mexican-American and my father, Peter Murphy, is half German and half Native American. I’m in the Millennium High School marching band and I’m a true activist. I want to make a difference in this world. To do that I walked in the immigration march for S.B. 1070, a bill enacting strict immigration measures in Arizona.
I was not marching against S.B. 1070; I was marching for humane and just immigration reform. This bill is not just and it hurts me that everyone doesn’t see that. I don’t want to be pulled over because of the color of my skin.
While I was marching I saw many different faces of many different races – Koreans, Anglos and Mexicans. Some people had signs with curse words and showed hatred toward the state of Arizona. Other signs tore my heart in two, like this sign: “My daughter died fighting for this country; don’t deport my husband and me.” Other signs were kind of funny: “Do you want to see my papers? It’s my degree from ASU.” I was holding a sign on my back that said, “The United Methodist Church supports Immigrant ... Civil ... Human Rights!” People came up to me and asked me for signs. They said they were United Methodist too and wanted a sign. I tried giving these signs to people that had hatred on their signs, but they wouldn’t take them.
I got to walk next to my United Methodist bishop, Bishop Minerva Carcaño. She wanted to know why we were the only ones from our church that came. I was there with my mom, Deaconess Cindy Johnson from Brownsville, Texas, and Ms. Marjie from Tucson, Ariz. The main reason was they just couldn’t walk that far. The march was more than five miles. I didn’t even make it.
Another reason that stopped people from coming was they didn’t want to be targeted in their church. This is such an emotional issue – people are afraid to make a statement. That’s really sad to me because you are never too old or too young to make a statement. There were ladies pulling their children in wagons in the march.
When we finally got to the capitol there were so many people. It was peaceful. I did not see any fights or arguments break out. Everybody was getting along to make a difference to make S.B. 1070 right.
Sitting and having lunch with Bishop Carcaño was special. She asked me what she should do about letters she got from people that were angry with her for not attending the Bishop’s Youth Retreat. Bishop Carcaño was attending a prayer vigil at the state capitol that weekend. I told her she needed to be at the capitol and assured her we had great speakers at the youth retreat. I felt so honored that she would ask me what she should do because in the church sometimes youth aren’t heard. She wants the youth to be heard and during this march, youth, adults and elderly were heard.
My funniest memory at the march was when Deaconess Cindy dropped her popsicle on the sidewalk. She had just bought it from one of the many ice cream vendors. Deaconess Cindy picked it up and made a sad face. Luckily Bishop Carcaño was there because Cindy asked her for a very big favor. Cindy asked her to bless her popsicle so she could still eat it. Bishop thought it was so funny and couldn’t stop laughing. As a result Bishop’s sister who was there blessed the popsicle for Cindy. When this happened, I knew that no matter who you are you can always ask your bishop something strange and she is always willing to do it for you. She is really there for us. I really found that out on this march.
I learned and saw a lot. I learned Bishop Carcaño really cares about the youth of our conference and the issue of immigration reform. The things I will always remember are the many faces I saw that day and the hope in their eyes.
*Alexis Murphy is a member of Calvary United Methodist Church in Phoenix, Ariz. May 29 she joined in a march for immigrant rights in Phoenix, Ariz., joining others across the country in a National Day of Action.