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Join week of action for migrants

Mexican family who migrated to San Diego, CA

A national week of action, “Love Knows No Borders,” is scheduled December 10-18. Here’s how you can learn, give and act in solidarity with those seeking refuge in the U.S.

KAY DEMOSS
Senior Content Editor

Since mid-October, 2018 caravans of migrants have been travelling north from Central America through Mexico. The group is made up of people of all ages, including families and children. Many are escaping violence and poverty and are seeking asylum in Mexico and the U.S.

The General Board of Church and Society is joining in a national week of action — December 10-18, 2018 — organized by the American Friends Service Committee. The aim is to stand in solidarity with the migrant caravan and all who seek refuge in the U.S.

Why December 10-18? December 10 is International Human Rights Day. December 18 is observed as International Migrants Day

The effort calls on the United States to end the detention and deportation of immigrants, respect the human right to migrate, and stop the militarization at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Methodist Bishop of Mexico prays with migrants in center in Tiajuna. Mexico.
Bishop Felipe Ruiz Aguilar of the Methodist Church of Mexico (fourth from left) leads a prayer with families and visiting United Methodists at the Movimiento Juventud 2000 shelter for migrants in Tijuana, Mexico. ~ umns photo by Mike DuBose

On December 10, 2018 faith leaders from across the country will kick off the “Love Knows No Borders” witness with a non-violent direct action at the border in San Diego, California. 

Two Michigan pastors, the Rev. Dr. Jill Zundel and the Rev. Patricia Gandarilla, will be part of the General Board of Church and Society delegation. Zundell is pastor of Detroit: Central UMC. She has led that congregation in offering sanctuary to the Rranxburgaj family. From Albania, Ded Rranxburgaj has been threatened with deportation. Zundel has organized several advocacy efforts and actions in their support, including a five-day walk from Detroit to the capitol in Lansing. Gandarilla, pastors Centro Familiar Cristiano UMC, a congregation of predominantly Central and South American immigrants in southwest Detroit. The church is host to one of Michigan’s JFON clinics.

At present, two more from Michigan, Ivan Martinez and Colin Batten, will be participating in the Love Knows No Borders action in San Diego on December 10. Others from Michigan wishing to travel to San Diego to take part in this action should contact the Rev. Paul Perez.

Individuals and churches in Michigan are urged to organize a solidarity activity or event in their own community during the week of action. Please register your event at https://migrantjustice.afsc.org and post pictures from that event on the Michigan Conference Facebook group page.

Two local events have already been scheduled. Detroit Solidarity Action–Posada for Asylum Seekers–will take place Thursday, December 13, from 4:30-6:00 pm at Centro Familiar Cristiano UMC, 1270 Waterman, Detroit, MI. The event is organized by Centro Familiar, JFON Michigan and Michigan United. A Prayer Vigil sponsored by Traverse City Action, is planned for Tuesday, December 11, 7:00 pm at Central United Methodist Church in Traverse City, 222 Cass Street. 

More resources are available:

Nun providing English as a Second Language services to refugees at US-Mexico border
Sister Thérèse Cunningham (center) teaches an English class for immigrants at La Posada Providencia, an emergency shelter for immigrants and asylum seekers in San Benito, Texas. ~ umns photo/Mike DuBose

Those unable to participate in an action are encouraged to donate funds to UMCOR Global Migration #3022144. UMCOR staff are currently partnering with United Methodist congregations, ministries, and organizations in communities on both sides of the U.S. and Mexico border. Closer to home, Justice for our Neighbors – Michigan (JFON) provides legal services to asylum seekers and refugees at clinics in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Metro Detroit and Traverse City. Click here to find instructions on remitting financial gifts;  see “Give.”