Written by: David Chris Johnson, CPA, MBA
I made a commitment to support the Fuller Bike Adventure for 5 years and raise $15,000 to fight housing poverty. During any good relation, it’s a case of giving and receiving. My funding commitment is for their benefit, but what do I get out of this relationship? I get to spend anywhere from 2 weeks to 10 weeks with some of the finest people on this earth.
Being 55 years old, believe it or not, I find myself in the middle of the age group here. One half of the group is on average 20 years older and the other half is on average 30 years younger. I try and learn one thing from each person in the groups. From the older group I learn to adapt and embrace technology to continue riding across this country for another 20 years. From the younger group I learned that I have forgotten about passion for anything outside of my family and small circle of close friends.
That all changed yesterday, when I saw the border wall in El Centro, CA. The first thought that went through my mind was ‘this is not us.’ I grew up in the South, and we all encounter immigrants over our life time. They were people that worked hard and generally did the jobs we as American did not want to do. Seeing that wall in person changes your perspective. I have seen pictures of the border walls, and heard politicians build their campaigns on “the wall.” None of that matters because my family and close circle of friends are never going to have their citizenship and belonging based on where they were born. There will always be other issues, but never a matter of birthplace. Because of this I never really paid much attention to our current immigration policies.
Immigrants are good for America. They pay their fair share either directly into our financial systems or indirectly into the system. They build our homes, pick our foods, and help raise our children. As a young kid my grandfather helped raise me. He always drilled into me the importance of getting your education. He would always let me know that his family had to build other people’s houses, pick their foods, and help raise their children, and he wanted better for me. What he forgot to drill into my mindset was that these were noble tasks done by noble people- then and now.
Being 2 years old during the Civil Rights Era, I inherited my rights through the works and sacrifices of others. I did not have to march (too young), stand, or protest. My only task was to maintain and secure the rights received, and I think I have. At 55 years old, I still have some fight left in me.
When I return home, I plan on starting another fight. I am making a 5 year commitment to do whatever I can to help improve our immigration programs. I haven’t the slightest idea of where to start, but I am professionally trained and I have five years to help make a difference.
To the older group members: thanks for letting me know and see that I can continue riding across this great country for another 20 year and continue my fund raising. To the younger group members: thanks for the recovery of passion I misplaced somewhere it over the last 30 years.