Written by M. Linda Jaramillo
March 5, 2012
It may seem a bit strange to see this
article on the topic of fathers in March.
We usually reserve special tributes to fathers on a day once a year in
June. I decided to break with tradition
and in this case, I’m taking it personally.
While this will be distributed later in the week, I am writing it on the
26th anniversary of my Dad’s death.
I miss him and each year at this time I remember why.
Dad’s name, Ezequiel Jaramillo, never appeared in the headlines. He was not a famous author, poet, actor, or
politician. He never owned or managed a
company. He was not somebody’s boss
(except mine). However, he was a hardworking
man who faced the trials of systematic oppression and marginalization. He worked on the farm most of his life,
toiling on land that he could never hope to own. He was paid a menial weekly wage on which he
and Mom raised a family of four children.
They were proud of their Hispanic heritage, had strong spirits, and deep
faith while setting their sights for a better tomorrow. I wonder what Daddy would be saying now about
the racial, social, and economic divide that is widening every day.
My Dad believed in democratic principles
and he instilled that value in his children.
He engaged, sometimes with very vigorous conviction, in the political
dialogue and debate. In those days,
Election Day was a holiday in Colorado, so my parents spent the day discussing
the candidates and issues with friends and family before going to the
polls. Dad and Mom did not always agree,
but both firmly believed that the ballot box was private and that their vote
counted. He would be disturbed to hear
that there are places in this nation where votes still get “lost.”
Dad and Mom were leaders in local
organizing efforts for equal, quality public education for all children,
regardless of their racial, ethnic, or economic background. Maybe Dad felt so strongly about it because
his own schooling was cut short by the funding crisis during the great
depression that caused his poor, rural school to close. (He went back and graduated at the age of
21). But, I think the reason goes much
deeper than that. I believe my parents
realized that they would have to work twice as hard to ensure that their own
children and all children had equal opportunities. I am convinced that they would be distressed
about the dismantling of our public education system in favor of privatized
opportunities reserved for those who can afford it.
On days like today, I worry about dads who
do not or cannot know their children for any variety of reasons. On days like today, I celebrate dads who take
their job of parenting seriously. On
days like today, I am reminded about how important dads, uncles, grandpas,
step-dads are to the various compositions of our families. On days like today, I’m grateful for father
figures who have taken on this role when there is a void.
Ezequiel Jaramillo believed that his voice
and influence mattered and it did. He
was a patriotic contributor to society, which is what inspires me. He believed in the common good and so do I. I miss him every day and I remember why.
The United Church of Christ has more than
5,277 churches throughout the United States.
Rooted in the Christian traditions of congregational governance and
covenantal relationships, each UCC setting speaks only for itself and not on
behalf of every UCC congregation. UCC
members and churches are free to differ on important social issues, even as the
UCC remains principally committed to unity in the midst of our diversity.
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