As anyone who has not been asleep or otherwise oblivious to the news for the past six-or-so weeks knows, a caravan of migrants, men, women, and children, have fled their homes and families in Central America and are making their way, much of it on foot, through the vast length of Mexico in the hopes of reaching and finding asylum and employment in the United States. These people, thousands strong, have banded together (believing there is safety in numbers), fleeing the violence, corruption, and poverty in their home countries, propelled by their faith that a better life awaits them in the fabled Land of Opportunity.
I fear for them. Are they aware of the Trump-down cold-heartedness toward brown (to say nothing of black) people that only a (misguided) belief in white supremacy can engender? As these migrants-on-the-move pray to their statues of the Virgin of Guadalupe (which, I’m told, some of them carry in their back packs) to guide and protect them on their long and tortuous journey, I pray to the Great Spirit to prepare them for the challenges — and the newly installed razor wire — they’ll surely face at the U.S. border. I think we all should pray for this, to whomever we pray.
In the meantime, they and more caravan groups behind them, trudge northward, pushing strollers, carrying children too hungry and tired to walk another step, sometimes sleeping by the side of highway, sometimes hitching rides on passing vehicles, sometimes climbing on top of railway cars. If not for the kindness of strangers – generous Mexican communities and various volunteer humanitarian-aid workers — along the way, who’ve been providing food and water, clothing and shoes, light blankets and new back packs, these exhausted migrants would not have made it this far.
“This far,” for hundreds, if not thousands, of them is now the central mountains of Mexico, where I and many other American immigrants live. In recent weeks the good-hearted people of San Miguel de Allende, my new adopted home, have mobilized to help the migrants on their journey. I believe many of us, at least to some extent, can identify with them.
Not far from San Miguel de Allende, in Celaya, there is ABBA, a safe house and temporary hostel that provides the migrants with a short-term place to stay and some basic supplies to take with them on the rest of their journey.
According to a recent article in Atención, SMA’s weekly bilingual newspaper, “In the three years since it has been serving this community, ABBA has never received any government support and has survived thanks to the support of citizens and nonprofit organizations in both Celaya and San Miguel de Allende. One such organization is Caminamos Juntos [“we walk together”], a San Miguel NGO that collects monetary and in-kind donations throughout the year for refugees.” (To contact them, go to www.cjsma.org .)
ABBA’s director, Ignacio Martinez, said, “What we want to do is make them [the migrants] feel welcomed … so they feel at home. Let’s be a little more human and less territorial. We are one race. Borders are created by men. Let us put ourselves in their [the migrants’] shoes.”
Already, hundreds of the caravan’s vanguard have traveled over 3,000 miles to reach the U.S.-Mexico border. One on-the-ground blogger in Tijuana posted on November 15th: “Tonight, tensions have been rising in Tijuana, as the U.S. military has built up on the other side of the fence; we can see them. There are also reports of pro-Trump armed militia groups moving around, and there has been a demonstration by some people of Playas de Tijuana [an affluent neighborhood by the beach] against the migrants. There’s a lot of anxiety about what will happen. The indications are not good. Will their [the migrants’] children be taken from them? Will there be violence?”
My hope is that in this upcoming Thanksgiving week, especially, those who are fortunate enough to have intact families who are able to gather together at a beautiful table for a bountiful Thanksgiving feast will give some serious thought to the complex concept of migration — the flow of humanity from one corner of the earth to another, for one reason or another, since mankind first walked upright on the African savannah. After all, the Pilgrims themselves were immigrants from Britain. And it’s said that the very first Native Americans, too, some 15,000-plus years ago, were immigrants from Eurasia, and they likely walked, as a caravan.
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Please see my previous post on the subject: “Human Flow,” posted August 11, 2018.
Also, if you can do nothing else, please simply click the link below and sign the petition to tell the United Nations to send observers to witness, document and report on human rights violations at the U.S.–Mexico border. This, I believe, is the least we can do to help protect the people in the migrant caravans from further hardship. Thank you. And Happy Thanksgiving to you all.