Tears of Esperanza

States rights versus federalism. Racial profiling and access to education. Concealed weapons. Immigration policy. Tea party politics. It’s all part of “Tears of Esperanza,” a book by Bill Lace subtitled “A Novel of Fury and Passion in Arizona.”

It’s the tale of an illegal immigrant named Esperanza and the impact of anti-immigrant policies and presumptions on both her own life and the lives of those around her. Reading “Tears of Esperanza” is like walking through a written exhibit of recent Arizona history.

Think HB 2212, whose supporters sought to limit access to education for illegal immigrants — and SB 1070, whose supporters favor asking suspected illegal immigrants to provide documentation of citizenship. Also boycotts against Arizona and efforts by interfaith groups to assist immigrants in peril.

It’s told through the eyes of several characters whose lives are ultimately intertwined in unexpected ways. The book is especially gripping once these connections grow clearer, and you begin to suspect there might not be a happy ending.

Folks who’ve never seen their state legislature in action will find clues in Lace’s book about how all that lovely sausage-making takes place — and feel inspired, I hope, to finally get the logistics of lawmaking on their radar.

“Tears of Esperanza” makes clear the difference one person, and groups of people who act in concert, can have on the legislative process — reminding readers that democracy must be of, by and for the people.

It’s a reminder as well to beware of stereotypes based in race, ethnicity or country of origin. And a cautionary tale about making assumptions based on where a person lives or what religion someone practices.

Show up. Speak up. Volunteer. And vote. Less fear. Fewer tears. Let that be Esperanza’s legacy.

— Lynn

Note: Lace’s bio notes that he’s “a native of the Southwest, a proponent of sensisble immigration reform, and a federal law enforcement special agent in Phoenix, Arizona.” Click here to learn more.

Coming up: Give a man enough rope…

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