2015 was the year of the refugees, a human tide of millions who fled -and flee-, war, death, violence and poverty in Syria, Afghanistan… but also in Latin America, many that headed to our country. Refugees shook Europe and the world’s foundations and the echo of that earthquake made it to our grounds.
Also, in 2015, terrorism knocked at our front door. A couple of murderers, on their own, attacked us where it hurts most: during daily joyous celebrations of everyday individuals who works, develop friendships and families, and strive for a better tomorrow: they killed 14. The fact that it took place in Southern California, and that an additional suspect is Latino, peaked the foundations of such a horrifying and strange scenario.
Our home then joined other targets of terrorism, which in 2015 victimized civilians from Paris, -where jihadism dealt a bloody blow- to the entire Middle East.
And in 2015, once again, the immigration reform that millions longed for did not become a reality. However, thousands of children -many unaccompanied- fled from violence and famine in Central America and were intercepted here. The attempt from the Obama Administration to facilitate the integration in society of both Dreamers, who moved here as children and undocumented, and their parents, as a positive element and contribution ended up a victim of a divided country and an unreasonable debate. It was stopped at the hand of partisan manipulations and legal arguments.
Instead, the authorities now announce a revival of immigration raids, instilling fear and anxiety in who once were hopeful people who are here illegally.
Also, in neighboring Mexico, a human rights crisis and “El Chapo” Guzman’s escape marked an endless agenda of destabilization and violence.
However, there were incipient positive developments for the common citizen. It was the year of the minimum wage for low-income workers. Los Angeles City Council approved a gradual raise of the minimum wage to $15. This was followed by the County Board of Supervisors that, in addition, eliminated the application of the federal program 287 (g) and ordered to remove the immigration agents from County jails. Unemployment decreased and there were more opportunities in the job market.
And, what about next year?
Above other forecasts –El Niño comes to mind– 2016 will be an election year, when a presidential candidate that comes out of nowhere breaks all forecasts and promotes aggression and resentment. Intolerance is tolerated and truth is considered a worthless product. It is a serious threat to the democratic society and especially to the Latino community, which in turn, gets organized and confronts the new reality.
La Opinión has been with our community throughout this year, informing them so they can improve through knowledge, serving them so they can be oriented in a complex and changing society, celebrating their achievements and weeping their pains. It is because we are a part of this community that we participate, among others, in the initiative to promote citizenship, registration to vote, and voting, all on its own.
And so we stand -eager, hopeful- on the verge of 2016, next to the Latino community, our readers and the groups that serve them.
And we will continue to do so in this year to come.
La Opinión and the undersigned wish you a very, very Happy New Year!
Editorial Director of La Opinión