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Jai Shankar Free at Last! Free at Last! Thank God Almighty -- Free at Last!
The joy that Martin Luther King rang out for a whole nation and a whole people, with his “Free At Last” cry, echoing the old Negro spiritual, in the historic 1963 March, rang true for a single soul as well. He is Jai Shankar, an Indian National -- cruelly detained and hobbled by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) authorities, for several years, as are countless Latinos today - - never mind the extraordinary number of Jai’s and Latino good works as model immigrants in American society in general, and for the betterment of DC as well. Jai has worked his heart out in this city. As a TENAC volunteer, Jai has helped disabled tenants, done chores for elderly tenants, helped those facing eviction, and collected and given free food to the homeless, and all without any compensation whatsoever.
Imagine yourself a young man, no money, few resources, in a foreign country, a new land, a new language, entirely on your own. Work is episodic and poorly paid, hunger is no stranger, and shelter is little
more than a hovel. Imagine all these hardships, struggling and persevering every day, and still falling in love with that land and its people. Imagine yourself gifted with charm, personality, an easy-going manner, a good word for everybody, Hollywood handsome, and immensely popular. Imagine yourself a selfless guy, with a record of service, charity, benevolence and generosity, brave, generous and kind to those who the Bible calls “the least of the brethren.” When you have imagined all these things, you have a great guy, a guy named Jai Shankar, an Indian National who came to our shores twenty years ago at age 23.
Through the outstanding efforts of Sandra Grossman, Esq., Jai has been granted a major reprieve, including removal of the monitoring shackles from his leg, granted working papers, and above all, a grant of hope for the future. Hopefully he will be a harbinger of good fortune for the Latinos* among us, and a surrogate for those courageous, long-suffering people who have endured enormous hardships, as did Jai, living in the same no-man’s land, a.k.a. “ICEland.”