Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of the caravan of refugees trying to enter Mexico and the U.S. What many don’t realize however, is this “caravan” (no, not the minivan your parents used to drive) is a group of human beings, just like me and you, who are literally running for their lives as they try to make their way to a safer place. And if there’s one thing you don’t know, but definitely should, it’s that there’s an incredible group of people out there that are putting their blood, sweat and tears into helping these refugees on the ground.
These people are Border Angels.
Founded by Enrique Morones in 1986, Border Angels is a non-profit humanitarian organzation. The Border Angels mission is to prevent unnecessary deaths of individuals traveling through the Imperial Valley desert areas and the mountain areas surrounding San Diego County, as well as the areas located around the United States and Mexican border. Refugees like those in the caravan, who are at risk of dying from harsh weather conditions, the drastic temperature changes in the desert, and their vulnerability to race motivated crime.
To give you some background, the Central American Migrant Caravan consists mainly of people fleeing Central America and the dangers of gang violence and government corruption. These refugees are families, parents and young children, who are seeking asylum in the U.S. or Mexico. Around 150 migrants are currently waiting to be processed in Tijuana, and they have been waiting for more than a week now. The migrants are following the legal process, but the U.S. border agents have only 8 people have been processed so far. This allegedly deliberate delay is in violation of U.S. and International Law, which demand that asylum seekers’ cases be heard. While political games are being played, these migrants are waiting, sleeping outside in the cold desert night, some after walking miles in harsh conditions, with limited food, water and access to shelter. It’s organizations like Border Angels that are working tirelessly to support these refugees on their journey.
One of these Border Angels is my dear friend Jackie Arellano. She and I met years ago through an online community about cosmetics, of all things. Even though she was American and I was Canadian and she was Mexican and I was Egyptian, we got along like a house on fire. We realized we’re probably the same person inside, bonding over trips to LA and keeping in touch via any means necessary. Much like I found my calling in creativity, Jackie found hers in helping immigrants like us, first through her holistic medical practice, where she helps marginalized individuals through their addiction and other health issues. She’s also found a second calling that I admire so very much; working with Border Angels as their Water Drop Director. Jackie organizes water drops in the desert, ensuring that migrants can find hydration, supplies and support on their journeys.
Now the Border Angels need your help. Jackie and her colleagues, in partnership with Pueblos sin Fronteras are on the ground at the Mexican border, supporting the refugees now camped in Tijuana awaiting processing. And when I say on the ground, I mean literally on the ground. Jackie and her fellow volunteers are sleeping in tents alongside the migrants as they set up shelters, organize medical care and food and supply drops to keep everyone safe, warm and fed. And they need all of our help.
*photos by Jackie Arellano from Border Angels
If you’re in the Tijuana area, please consider donating physical items like nonperishable food, tents, tarps, warm clothing and bottled water and more. Information on what the Border Angels need can be found on their website. If you’re not there, please consider donating to their Youcaring campaign. This money will go towards purchasing everything listed above and supporting the cause as a whole.
The world needs more empathy, and less hate. But for the luck of when and where we were born, it could be you or me sleeping in the desert tonight, praying for a fresh safe start in life. Take a moment and think about that, and then do what you can to bring more love into the world.