At the endorsement and urging of Jessica Davila, my colleague in my advocacy work at Central Dallas Ministry, I took the time to go see 9500 Liberty, and am I glad I did!
9500 Liberty is an arresting documentary which relates how Prince Williams County in Virginia, fell prey to the type of hysteria, bigotry, fear mongering and xenophobia which is fueling so much of the unreasonable anti-'illegal' immigration movement today. It may also serve as a cautionary tale to those who think that Arizona's misguided legislation is the way to deal with the undocumented immigrants in our country.
But 9500 Liberty is more than just an 'anti-anti-illegal immigrant' documentary. It is also an encouraging citizens of good will and good conscience can overcome misinformation, hate wrapped in garments of religion, demagoguery and political opportunism, to effect change and fashion reasonable immigration solutions on a local level. It also is a revealing look at the extent to which those who are cruelly called 'illegals', contribute to our society and to our economy (again, I wonder how many people think the jobs that undocumented laborers do for less will actually be transformed into living wage with benefits employments for citizens, if we could actually afford to deport all of the undocumented!).
Of course, there are those who believe that it is perfectly alright to heap invective and humiliation on people because of their documented status, won't have their minds changed. This movie gives plenty of instances in how easily people can be manipulated into believing that expression hatred in the name of Christianity is 'God's Will'. But it will show those who are willing to actually put some thought into it, that immigration reform has more consequences than many of us can imagine. The point in the documentary where the citizens of PWC find out how much it will actually cost to enact their 'anti-illegal immigrant resolution' while avoiding racial profiling is particularly telling. As is the ripple effect of the economic impact on the township when the undocumented, their families and their supporters leave because they are afraid and unwanted.
My take-away from the movie - good people MUST speak up, tell the truth, present the facts and most importantly ACT! Failure to do so, is the only way everyone, even those who don't agree with you, lose...