National Welcoming Week was last week and people around the country hosted activities, meetings and events to bring neighbors together and make our communities more welcoming places for everyone who lives here. Missouri Immigrant and Refugee Advocates and The Cross-Border Network for Justice and Solidarity hosted a gathering at the University of Missouri in Kansas City to learn more about the experiences of immigrants and refugees in our communities, share our own experiences, and work together to create a welcoming culture where we live. This community forum discussed the Central American Refugee Crisis, especially the “children on our doorsteps.” Speakers included an attorney who represented women and children seeking refuge in the United States, policy experts and community organizers. The evening also included hearing firsthand from a refugee from Honduras describe the political conditions causing the people to flee and seek political asylum as refugees. Honduras is the most corrupt of all Central American countries and people are not fleeing that country only due to poverty and wanting a better life. Many flee that country to save their lives from an oppressive government, drug cartels and gangs.
The Cross-Border Network For Justice and Solidarity builds international bridges of solidarity and mutual aid between workers and communities of working people. They educate and organize for social and economic justice by connecting workers and communities across borders and directly support workers who cross borders. They have also helped the Honduran LGBT community face massive violence and violations of their human rights. Since the 2009 military coup, over 110 hate-based assassinations of LGBT activists have been reported. This group does great work and I encourage support for their cause in social justice lobbying for immigration reform as well as supporting immigrant workers to protect their rights. They can benefit from our prayerful support and our monetary support through becoming members of their organization. They also invite us to a march and vigil at 4pm on Sept. 26th at 43rd St. and Broadway in Kansas City to Senator Claire McCaskill’s office.
Daryl Charron, C.PP.S.