Spreading Hope

choose-hope-

Hope.

This post is dedicated to spreading hope.

It may seem like there’s not much of it around. Especially with all the disheartening and discouraging news out there. But good things are happening, too. People are mobilizing for positive change.

People like you and me.

And today you have an opportunity to join me in spreading hope.

In fact, I can’t do it without you.

That’s what this story is about. An opportunity to make a positive change in the life of one special mother and son. A mother who has already suffered so much.

Blanca is an asylum seeker who came to one of our ports of entry with her 12-year-old son, Luis, to save his life. After her husband, a military officer, in El Salvador, was assassinated, Blanca tried to stay in her country. She and her two sons moved 15 times in four years, hoping to stave off the gangs threatening them.

But without police protection, it was impossible to keep her family safe.

Her older son finally fled on his own. Eventually, Blanca and her youngest son also had to leave. And in October 2017, they arrived in El Paso, asking for asylum.

That’s when the unthinkable happened.

Rather than place them in a family detention center or release them on bond, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) separated Blanca and her child, putting her in detention and Luis in foster care.

This is a practice we never allowed before now. Until the Trump administration decided to use separation of parents from their children as a deterrent.

As you can imagine, it is heartbreaking to witness. Seeing a mother who has been separated from her child.

Blanca and son
Blanca and her son Luis

If you’re a parent, you can especially understand the unimaginable pain.

But here’s where you come in. With your dose of hope.

ALDEA – the People’s Justice Center, a non-profit committed to representing separated families, decided to take on Blanca’s case pro bono. And they’re located in Reading, PA!

They had to fly to El Paso to visit Blanca, research their case, and attend her hearing. And on the day of Blanca’s hearing, something amazing happened. The judge ruled she had “credible fear” and ordered her released on bond of $7,500!

This doesn’t happen often with El Paso judges. And he set her bond at a reasonable amount, to boot. Believe it or not, the average is $20,000 or more.

But Blanca has no money.  So, ALDEA set up a GoFundMe account for her.

In little over a week, we have raised nearly three-fourths of the money we need.

This gives me hope.

So many good-hearted people who want to do the right thing by a mom desperately wanting to be with her son again.

So many people who believe in what is possible.

Will you join us in spreading this wave of hope for Blanca and Luis? Any amount you donate is greatly appreciated.

And it adds to the flow of positive energy to counter and balance all that negativity out there.

Blanca in detention
Blanca in detention (photo taken from Houston Chronicle article)

Here’s the link to the GoFundMe page: https://www.gofundme.com/FamilyReunificationBondFund

 

If you’re interested, here’s Blanca’s full story, as reported in the Houston Chronicle: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Her-husband-murdered-her-son-taken-away-a-12462658.php

Her husband murdered, her son taken away, a mother seeking asylum tells a judge, ‘I have lost everything’

 

Thank you for spreading hope.

 

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When Migrants Return: Sorrow Multiplied

I’m sharing this post from Fr. Bill, a Columban priest from our mission in El Paso who is now visiting El Salvador, where he witnesses daily the very situations that are forcing people to leave their homes. This particular post describes the disheartening situation of people being deported back to the very life-threatening situations they risked fleeing.

When Migrants Return: Sorrow Multiplied.

Rekindling My Passion

 

Kindling fire by zlata petal
Kindling fire by zlata petal

Sometimes good friends remind us of what we love most. They help us get back on track. Regain focus. Most importantly, knowing us as they do, they can help reignite our passion.

That’s what my dear friend Margaret did for me recently when she connected me with her longtime friends in Austin. Many years ago she and her husband Rich were part of a close-knit, socially conscious group of friends living in Austin that came together for one purpose: to serve the poor and marginalized in society.

Now these friends were hosting the national gathering of U.S./El Salvador Sister Cities — a grassroots organization that works in partnership with rural communities in El Salvador. Knowing my interest in social justice and immigration issues, as well as my pull to Latin America, Margaret, who now lives in Arkansas, thought I’d be interested. I didn’t hesitate to say yes.

It was just what I needed.

As I listened to speakers from various U.S. states and El Salvadoran communities share stories of their efforts to support sustainable communities, conduct anti-mining campaigns to stop corporations from pursuing mining projects that destroy the environment, and protect human rights, I knew. This is where I belong.

In the middle of my note taking I wrote: “I have a passion for this!”

I realized that this is what speaks to my heart. I also realized how far away I feel from what initially got me started on this journey of the heart.

Trying to make myself fit into this ministry I’ve been assigned to in San Antonio isn’t working. It’s clear. My heart’s not in it.

During these nearly three months I’ve asked God what I need to learn in this. I’ve waited. I’ve listened within. I’ve come up against some tough stuff both inwardly and outwardly. And I’ve been learning.

So, now what?

Possibly another assignment here with the same missionary program, but with a different focus, using my writing skills.

Possibly pursue something elsewhere. Like El Paso.

I don’t know. I do know I want to be a voice for those who don’t have a voice. I found that voice in El Paso. Maybe because that’s where I found my passion too.

In less than two weeks I will need to move. One way or the other. And I don’t know where I’m going. But I feel amazingly calm, especially for someone who has spent a great deal of her life worrying. Just ask my son.

Maybe that’s because deep within my inner being there’s a greater wisdom that knows this is just another step. Another risk to be taken. On the journey to fulfilling my passion and longing for my true Source.