Day One: Pilgrimage for Immigrants (Gainesville-Chicopee-Oakwood)

4 1/2 hours…  6 miles…  125 walkers…  Day One…

As we gathered around the cross in the parking lot of a shopping center known for its day labor pools, all of us were silent as the voice over the cell phone told the 125 of us gathered there what our country’s policies did to her and her family.  Linda loved living in Gainesville until her husband was deported after being arrested for fishing (not driving) without a license.

Yes, Jesus could walk all over Georgia and never get behind the wheel of a car, but give him two loaves and a fishing pole and even He could be deported.

Linda, a U.S. citizen, told us that she and her children were internally deported to Illinois.  In fact, she wanted to drive the 14 hours it would take to be with us but Rafael, one of the Gainesville coordinators, convinced her that a phone greeting would make enough of an impact. 

It had been six months since her husband was deported.  He had found employment back in his native Mexico, but at 80 pesos a week (around $8) he was being further humiliated by his inability to provide for his family.  So Linda and her children are now technically homeless, living with extended family without knowing what their long-term plans might be.  She’s contacted an immigration attorney and is hoping against all odds that her family, now separated by politicians who claim to be the bastions of family values, will one day be able to live together in love and out of the shadows.

Below are some snapshot highlights of today’s leg of the pilgrimage:

2 thoughts on “Day One: Pilgrimage for Immigrants (Gainesville-Chicopee-Oakwood)”

  1. Anton,

    Thanks for sharing these updates. I raised you and the pilgrimage in prayer last night at worship at the ODC. Today also begins our Holy Week vigil on the streets in Atlanta. So while we are walking on different “streets”, we are all walking together on the Way of loving justice.

    Peace be with you.

  2. Antón,
    It was a very moving experience to join you and the hundreds that gathered for Mass and for the Stations of the Cross yesterday. The thirst for belonging, for community, for normalcy, legitimacy, respect, peace, was so felt by me as we joined the many, surrounded by families, parents and children with palm leaves, following in the liturgy and singing as a group, as an entity. My thoughts, prayers and intentionality goes to you, them, and the marchers across Georgia. May you – all – be safe, and feel lovingly held and protected in your march. Happy Easter!

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