August 10 – August 18, 2019
El Paso, TX and Ciudad Juárez
Justice at the Border: Equipping People and Communities of Faith to Respond to Injustices on the US-Mexico Border by Peach Jack
Originally published in "The Spire," the newsletter of Seattle First Baptist, this article addresses some of the important details of the Border Awareness Experience trip itself and also provides some useful information to help others formulate responses to questions concerning immigration and the issues around it. Keep reading...
Light in the Absurdity by Lia Smith
I left the border wondering how one could possibly maintain the light of hope against the oppressive powers that keep the migrant, the refugee, the immigrant, the neighbor as an outsider... Hope, a light that burns in the absurdity, does not cast its light without the oil to maintain the flame. It is a cheap and simplified conclusion to assume that it is the vision, the hope, alone that is our sole sustainer. No, in order to engage our broken world and continue to put one foot in front of the other, we must be sustained in faith. Keep reading...
Los sueños que se convierte en las pesadillas por Eleazar Pérez Encino
¿Por qué? mi hermano(a) no tienen las mismas oportunidades que yo, ¿Por qué? los jóvenes de mi pueblo migran en busca de sueños y de nuevas oportunidades, ¿Por qué? no todos(as) corren con la misma suerte de ser exitosos(as) y que sus sueños no se conviertan en pesadillas, ¿cómo tú crees? que me halle cuando me encuentro en un país injusto, ¿cómo tú crees? que me sienta cuando mi país es corrupto, donde los ricos se enriquecen más y más y los pobres cada vez más pobres. Español I English
My First Mother’s Day Vigil at the NW Detention Center by Peach Jack
Originally posted in the Seattle First Baptist Church e-newsletter, The Spire - June 2015
On Saturday, May 9th, less than 100 people gathered under tents outside the NW Detention Center in Tacoma. We gathered to hear stories and to be a presence to those who are detained, and to say “enough is enough” to the 34K nation-wide nightly bed requirement set by ICE: US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. Our group represented a diverse people of faith and spirit, sanctuary supporters, and the immigrant justice community who showed up offering love and support, saying “si, se puede”, yes, it is possible to make a difference, to offer hope in the face of despair. Keep reading...
Reflecting on the Past to Change the Future Journey by Paw Say Ku
We can’t change what has happened in past, but we can learn from our past to change the future. I had a wonderful experience at the Border Friendship Tour. By hearing some of the familiar stories, this experience brought back some of my old memories as well. I want to share some of my personal background that has shaped my perception toward the border and immigration. Keep reading...
Seeing God Through the Fence by Joey Haynes
Originally published on Joey's blog The Adventurous Life. Our nations have gathered and Christ himself didn’t need to separate us. We have done that ourselves with hundreds of miles of an 18 foot steel fence. The goats and sheep are being divided as we speak by the tens of thousands. We are not feeding the hungry migrant, or giving drink to the thirsty sojourner. No one is providing a warm welcome to the family escaping gang violence. We applaud immigrants earning a new blue jumpsuit and shackles to replace their dignity. We deny proper care to the injured and exhausted. Finally, a broken justice and immigration system imprisons the innocent. “Where is God?” Keep reading...
Unsettled by Truth: A Border Awareness Experience by Allison Paksoy
"It's important to come to the border. To come here is to be unsettled by truth." These were the words spoken to us by Ruben Garcia, one of the founders and the current executive director of Annunciation House, our host for the week in El Paso. Being unsettled by truth was the unofficial theme during the Justicia en la Frontera/Justice at the Border Friendship Tour. Keep reading...
Who did you say Goodbye to Last? by Judith Myers
Originally published on Judith's blog One Step at a Time. As we gathered in the basement of Casa Vidas to introduce ourselves, we were asked the questions. Tell us who you are? where you're coming from? Who did you say goodbye to last when you were leaving? Over the course of the week, we became like family. We suffered through different experiences together. We traveled to the fence that divides God's children. We looked into Mexico and spoke with children on the other side as Border Patrol watched our every move. Those kids helped us say goodbye to our old selves, and say hello to a life-changing experience. Keep reading...
A Dreamer's Dream: Estar con mi mamá (To be with my mother)
from Luis Enrique Jacquez (Lutheran Social Services)/edited by Peach Jack
This presentation looks at the statistics surrounding the issue of unaccompanied minors coming to the US from Mexico and Central America.
Download this in: Ppt I Pdf
Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America receives $15,000 Palmer Grant award to focus on justice issues on the U.S./Mexico border
October 15, 2014 – Charlotte, NC – The Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America (BPFNA) received a $15,000 Palmer Grant (through the American Baptist Foundation) for a project called Justice at the Border, a two-part experience that will equip individuals and communities of faith to respond to injustices on the U.S./Mexico border. Keep reading...
Group of 15 attend BPFNA ~ Bautistas por la Paz Friendship Tour to El Paso and Ciudad Juárez to learn about and experience border-related justice issues
Participants will share learnings at the 2015 BPFNA Conference in Harrisonburg, VA
February 25, 2015 – El Paso, TX – From February 8-15 a delegation of 15 attended the BPFNA ~ Bautistas por la Paz Friendship Tour in El Paso, TX and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua. Called Justicia en la Frontera/Justice at the Border, the experience educated participants about the injustices occurring at the U.S./Mexico border and equipped them to assist others in strengthening their responses to border-related issues including economic and immigration policy, humanitarian aid, labor organizing, and border militarization. The group was hosted by Annunciation House in El Paso and stayed at Casa Vidas, one of the two migrant shelters owned and operated by Annunciation House. Keep reading...
Click the image below to view photos from this trip.
The following poem was read by Leon and Lou Clymore on one of the first nights of the trip.
Excerpts from Fuku in Almost at the End by Yevgeny Yevtushenko
The greatest punishment for a tree is to become a border post. The birds that pause to rest on border posts can’t figure out what kind of trees they’ve landed on./Se dicen que el castigo más severo por un árbol es convertirse en un poste de la frontera. Las aves que pausan y descansan en los postes de la frontera no pueden comprender que tipo de árboles en que han caídos. English I Español
BPFNA board member Nathan Watts participated in a this immersion experience in Tijuana, Mexico with help from our Baptist Fair Trade Project Scholarship Fund. The trip was planned and led by fellow board member Mayra Picos-Lee and hosted by board member Adalia Gutiérrez-Lee and her husband Ray Schellinger.
Este lado tambien hay sueños: This side also has dreams by Nathan Watts
The wind grates specks of dirt deeper into my skin as I sip my morning coffee and survey the devastation. I force my eyes away from the maquilas (maquiladoras?) directly in front of me and further into the horizon. The deep blues and reds comfort me that this is still a beautiful world despite humanity’s tendency toward depravity. I’m standing on top of one of Tijuana’s many hills with my back toward a playground where the laughter of children redirects my energy from hopelessness to love. Keep reading...
ARTICLES/REFLECTIONS & PHOTOS
The 'Least of These' (includes photo slide show) by Ali Mueller
Before taking this class on immigration, I was uninformed and confused about these issues and what our role as Christ’s followers should be. After reading the assigned books and articles, I felt that I had a loose grasp of the various particulars and what a Christian response ought to be, regardless of political persuasions. Keep reading...
No Olvidados by LeDayne McLeese Polaski
Enrique took us to a pauper's graveyard in Holtville, CA where hundreds of people who died trying to cross the border are buried. Most are unnamed. When people are found dead, they may or may not have identification, many are never claimed by their families. These people are buried in a dusty field, under a brick that lists the grave number and row -- "Jane Doe" or "John Doe" is the only name they have. There are more than 700 graves here, the vast majority unnamed. They are sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers -- children of God -- buried without even a name. We each placed a cross we had made on one of the graves. Most read "No Olvidados" -- "Not forgotten." Keep reading...
The Fence through Friendship Park by LeDayne McLeese Polaski
A fence runs through Friendship Park at the western end of the U.S. border with Mexico. A 20-foot tall steel structure begun in late 2011 and completed in early 2012, it begins at the very spot where (without barriers) it would be possible to stand in California, Mexico and the Pacific Ocean at the same time. It cuts through a park where people from both San Diego and Tijuana once met, spoke, touched and shared picnics and even communion across a single chain-link fence. There were cross-border concerts, holiday celebrations, English-Spanish language classes and a yoga class with students in both countries. Keep reading...
The Woman at the Wall by LeDayne McLeese Polaski
In January of this year (2012), I traveled with a group of seminary students to Tijuana, Mexico. American Baptist missionary Ray Schellinger was our host for the week. Ray and his wife Adalia run a domestic violence shelter in Tijuana called Deborah’s House. A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from Ray saying that he had an amazing story to share with me. Keep reading...
BPFNA Program Director LeDayne McLeese Polaski will lead a Friendship Tour to Tijuana, Mexico from January 21-29, 2012. The group requests your prayers for safe travels and a successful trip, in which they hope to gain a deeper understanding of the complex issues and to develop new and lasting relationships. Keep reading...
The Latin American Working Group developed an Advocacy Guide on the Protection of Migrant Rights & Human Rights I Una Coyuntura Desafiante para la Protección de los Derechos de los Migrantes y los Derechos Humanos.
Our friends at KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives offer great resources on Migrant Justice.
Our friends at the UCC have a wealth of resources on Immigration justice.
The Journey Hasn't Ended - American Baptist Women's Ministries
Pastoral, Practical, Prophetic, and Personal: A Resource on Immigration - American Baptist Churches USA
Deportations in Mexico up 79 percent in first four months of 2015 - theguardian.com