Why We Go

This morning a concerned young adult called me. She wanted to know why we are going to the border. “It’s dangerous. Why do you go?” She didn’t support our work or us going. She has a loved one planning the trip and she’s understandably concerned. It left me thinking, “Why do we go? Why do so many, from all over the country, step out of their lives and spend money they don’t have to fly to a land so far from home?” It is a question worth examination.

Once I hung up I pulled out my spinning wheel and spun yarn. I spun until I could honestly answer that question in a way that was honest for me and in a way that may help family members understand why their loved ones make this journey.

For me… we go to the border because we hope someone would do this for us and our loved ones. That pretty much sums it up.

When I stood on the ladder in Homestead and saw the children held in that camp it became instantly clear that my life was altered. It was as much a physical response as it was an emotional and spiritual one. I had bared witness to children playing soccer in a foreign land far away from their families. I witnessed someone’s children who were taken from their families. That was a very profound thing to bear witness to. The children in front of me, on the other side of the road and fence, had successfully fled unimaginable violence in their home countries. They had survived an equally dangerous journey consisting of thousands of miles in heat and with very few possession. They survived all that only to be taken away from their family and put in a detention camp made out of tents that sit on the edge of a swamp. I thought to myself, “What if this was my child? Would someone help my child?”

So that’s why we do it. Many of us are older women. In our 60’s and older. Our health isn’t what it use to be. Many are Grannies. We’ve raised children. We easily imagine if they were our children. That’s why we do it. We aren’t young. Our children are grown. We literally have nothing to lose. We do it because we can.

In a few short weeks several of us will travel to the border. For some of us, it’s a first visit. For some it’s a return visit. We will cross the border into Mexico. This does not come free from risks. But the risks have been assessed. Those who work on the ground there, many retired themselves, work in an organized group that has been at this for months. They know there is safety in numbers so we will travel in a group, during the day, and back in U.S. by night fall. Each night we will be reminded of our privilege. We will be allowed to safely leave the dangers of camp at night. While we will struggle with the guilt that will come with that we will not allow fear or guilt guide us. Love, love will guide us.

During our work we will see some of the most desperate people we have ever laid eyes on. Our hearts will break over and over again. Yet with each break we will also gain strength. Strength that will allow us to continue our presence. For each face we see, we will be reminded of our children and we will partly do this for them. I believe grannies have that in common. We raised children, our children, other’s children. We are their keepers and protectors. Witnessing this and remaining silent and immobile is just not an option for us. It’s totally impossible.

So why do we go? We go to show those there that they are not alone, that they are not forgotten, that they are not abandoned, that they will be fed and cared for as best we can, and that not all from the other side of the border believe in what we as a country is doing to them and their loved ones.

That’s why we will go.

In some way, whatever way you can, please respond. Show up, speak up, sponsor someone who is going, donate to those who are there…something, anything. With love in our hearts, and strength in our numbers we will end the inhumanity that has taken over our southern border and the soul of this country. Please, do not look away.

Peace, love, and solidarity….Mary

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