Last week, I attended the Ethnic America Summit in Atlanta. This is an annual gathering of various immgrant ministries in North America. It was a great time of connecting up with many leaders from various ethnic communities like China, Korea, Philipines, Russia, Scotland, Romania, Ukraine, Mexico, Brazil, Nigeria, Japan etc. and of course many of Indian origin!
As I got to talk with many of them about the Coconut book, I kept hearing the need for similar resources in their own communities. Children of immigrants are often experiences a subliminal existance and are called the 'hidden generations'. They remain hidden from most church/community programs and initiatives. Sometime immgrant generations' needs take priority over emerging generations. But in most cases, many do not know what to do and where to begin.
Second and third generation issues do not appear on most radars. Census, immigration, education, demographics and politicians only track real numbers and often miss what lies beneath the surface (as evident from the large scale turn out of people for immigration reform bill). With the resurgence of ethnic identity these days, ethnic communities may have to take a more pro-active measure in addressing issues of the emerging generaitons.
Dr. T.V. Thomas (he wrote Forword for the Coconut book) was one of the main speakers and he also took a break out seminar on 'Reaching the second and third generations in America'. Many admited to me that session alone was worth their trek to Atlanta. There were people from over 30 nations and a great resonance on issues he raised.
Although there are many differences, emerging generation issues have many similarities and we will greatly benefit by learning from each other. Let's not make the mistake other have made and yet avoid simply copying certain practices across ethnic lines. But there are many transferable principles that we can borrow from other and contexualize in our own settings. We all have much work cut out for the future. May God help us to be faithful to the faith and relevant to the generation. Not one at the cost of the other.