This past summer and fall I was frustrated by the lack of access in Portland, Oregon to unaccompanied minors. I decided to look for an opportunity to work with churches and humanitarian organizations in the Southwest who deal directly with migrants and unaccompanied children. I spent last winter in Guatemala, one of the countries that children have been fleeing where I experienced the despair among the youth. That is why I am here in Tucson, AZ as a volunteer in service through the United Church of Christ and why I am blogging. I want to tell the stories of children and their families and to put a human face on people searching for a safe place. While I continue to work on reform of the Immigration system with justice for all, I want also to support those children and youth caught up in an unjust system.
In the discussion raging in the mainstream media about the surge of unaccompanied minors, much attention has been paid to the so-called threat of this invasion from Central America but little attention has been given to the reasons why children and teenagers and sometimes, their mothers risk the journey.
All of them are fleeing because of increased violence, gang related activities, trafficking and other exploitation. This increase in violence presents families with the impossible choice: to stay and be subjected to risks to their personal safety or to flee to a safe haven such as the United States, Nicaragua or Costa Rica. This is not a crisis for our country. This is life and death for these children. Surely, in America, we can muster the moral courage and resources to protect those who flee violence, rape and exploitation.
Read my blog and join me in standing with immigrants in your own community! The Arizona Star newspaper article details Sanctuary, one way you can get involved!
My life has been about crossing borders and cultures and building bridges across the boundaries that normally divide. Have you crossed any borders in your life?