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Families Together Now

$5,632 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 66 people in 4 months
Created August 14, 2018
The Movement of Migrant Women and Their Families (MOMUMI ) was formed in response to the needs of migrant families who, day by day, gather around the dinner table only to find the empty chair of a loved one who has been separated from them. Our families have undergone many years of trauma and separation because of unjust immigration policies. As the affected families, we demand the right to be together and we need your help.

From September 5th through 9th, families from across the U.S. will convene in El Paso for an interfaith "Grito de la Frontera " (cry from the border) to bear witness to the injustice on the border. We will then cross the border, meeting with relatives that have been separated from us. Arm-in-arm with our loved ones, we return back to the U.S. the following day, buoyed by a mass of supporters whose presence will bless and protect our journey. This is a radical act of hope. We have been silenced for too long. We cannot wait any longer. The time is now.

For many years, the border has transcended its geographic coordinates. The border exists wherever a migrant family is forcibly separated, wherever a mother and child are prevented from sharing a dinner table. Many of our youth, who happen to be US citizens, have been orphaned by a silent policy that disappears their loved ones through detention centers, border violence, and deportation. There are many empty chairs and dinner plates that families leave in place each night, awaiting the loved one who is absent but never forgotten.

This is why we go to the border to bring those loved ones back. The events begin with a convening of inter-faith religious leaders in El Paso. Activists will reflect on the impact of the border in their communities. Out of that reflection will emerge a number of actions, one of which is the accompaniment of our families from from the southern side of the border back across to the U.S. on September 7th. Standing with their families and supporters, our loved ones will ask the Border Patrol to exercise their power of discretion to allow them to reunite with their children, families, and communities.

Your contribution will make this campaign possible. The budget includes flights for our families to the border, lodging during the trip, and legal expenses.

We sincerely appreciate your support in our struggle to unite our families, and in doing so, helping us create a sustainable future for our community.


______


El Movimiento de Mujeres Migrantes y sus Familias (MOMUMI ) ha sido formado en respuesta a las necesidades de familias migrantes quienes, día a día, se reúnen a la mesa para encontrar una o más sillas vacías de familiares deportados. Nuestras familias han pasado muchos años de trauma y separación causados por políticas injustas de inmigración. Las familias afectadas demandamos el derecho de estar juntas y necesitamos tu ayuda.

En septiembre viajaremos a la frontera para reunificar a nuestras familias. El día 5 de septiembre vamos a encontrarnos en El Paso, Tejas, con una comunidad de líderes religiosos de varias fes para inaugurar la campaña de reunificación y aunar nuestras voces en un “Grito De La Frontera ” colectivo. En los días siguientes, nos uniremos a una caravana compuesta por nuestros familiares en México. El 7 de Septiembre, caminaremos de la mano de nuestrxs queridxs de los que nos separaron, y también con toda comunidad de aliadxs, la prensa, y una delegación de líderes religiosos de varias fes.

Tu contribución hará esta campaña posible. El presupuesto incluye vuelos hacia la frontera para nuestras familias, estadías, y costos legales.

Apreciamos tu apoyo en nuestra lucha por unir a nuestras familias que, en sí, contribuyen a un futuro sostenible para nuestra comunidad.
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Message from the Movement of Migrant Women and their Families on their Recent Trip to the Border

On September 6th, 2018, 16 members of MOMUMI traveled from New York to the El Paso/Ciudad Juárez border with the intention of reunifying with loved ones deported by the U.S. government. Over the summer, we created a campaign to bring visibility to our organization and communicate our intention to arrive at the border with our family members and ask border agents to exercise their discretion to allow them to enter and remain in the U.S. for humanitarian reasons. The hostility and cruelty of the current administration toward migrants forced us to take great caution in our decisions regarding the physical, social, psychological and legal well-being of all our members.

MOMUMI was founded because of the urgent need to contest the unjust separation of our families, and because of our belief in the inalienable right to live, love, and work wherever we please. For these reasons we decided to take a step forward toward bringing our family members home. The material necessities for this trip were obtained thanks to the efforts of our families and supporters with the collaboration of The Hemispheric Institute, ABC Schools, Grannies Respond, and other allies. The date chosen for the event was to coincide with the “Cry from the Border,” a series of activities denouncing detention centers and the immigration-industrial-complex that cruelly separates children from their parents. We added our voices to this collective outcry and sought support from religious and political leaders; it was also important to amplify the message of family separation by giving testimony to our own stories. In preparation for the trip, we consulted psychologists, doctors, and lawyers to complete the documentation for each case and to seek advice on the viability of our family reunification action. The security of our families in the context of limited resources was central to our decision-making. This concern brought us to the painful decision on the evening of our departure to reconsider the goals of the trip after we lost our legal support. Without that support it was no longer possible to evaluate the circumstances nor to ensure informed consent for the action of family reunification. This setback did not paralyze us. We decided to rethink the trip as an opportunity for separated family members to visit one another and to turn our frustrations around suspending the permanent family reunification action into a redoubled denunciation of border policies. The money we raised through generous contributions from our allies was used entirely to cover transport and lodging costs for the three days MOMUMI spent at the border.

As a group, we have learned many important lessons from this experience. Given considerable unknown factors, we decided not to put ourselves at risk. Yet, in our action we grew and became stronger. In the El Paso/Ciudad Juarez border we held our loved ones in our arms and during those moments we felt the sense of completeness that deportation policies have stolen from us. The border is a place that heightens vulnerability and unleashes sadness, rage, and frustration. It makes us confront our greatest demons and weaknesses. Nevertheless, touching our deported mothers and fathers dissolves those fears. During this trip, being close to our loved ones restored our strength and the border lost its meaning.

It was unavoidable that an experience like this at the border would leave wounds. Yet, we must continue to look forward. This experience has confirmed the need to ground our movement in our core values. We firmly belief in the self-organization of migrants as the engine of struggle and we see clearly that families’ needs must remain at the center of our work. We are committed to continue working and not to forgo our insistence on permanent and unconditional family reunification to restore our sovereignty and peace. We briefly experienced that sensation of peace during our trip to the border, and we will not stop fighting until we permanently achieve our goal.

We know that migrant organizing is difficult and that all collective actions we take are interpreted by this administration as threats. For this reason we need to keep growing and building support. We must take advantage of all potential paths that may present themselves for MOMUMI members to exercise their right to live together like any other family. In that sense, the most elemental demand is the most radical. We are living in a moment in which having our families together has turned into a radical act of defiance.

Legal help is a fundamental part of reunification, but we also have to consider pathways beyond what those in the legal profession consider possible. We need courageous lawyers willing to share this journey with us, to be allies in our demands, and above all to challenge unjust laws with faith in our cause.

As a society we face difficult times in which it is necessary for our communities to remain united. We have lived many years with feelings of displacement and loss. Despite everything that stands in our way, we will rise time and again to fight with integrity for family reunification. We hope our example inspires others to fight with heart strength, knowledge, and wisdom.

We sincerely thank all those who have accompanied us in our journey and all the allies we have yet to meet who will work to turn our demands into reality. We would also like to thank the migrants that courageously confront the horror of our borders every day in order to bring joy to their families.
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Dear Supporters,

My name is Michelle Castañeda. I am part of the small team of organizers of the “Families Together Now. It’s Our Right!” campaign. Thank you again for your generous donations! In compliance with GoFundMe policies, I would like to give you some updates about the distribution of the funds and provide you with information about how your donations were used. Your contributions helped provide for 1) flights for the members of MOMUMI to El Paso/Ciudad Juárez, and 2) transportation, accommodation, and incidental expenses during the period of September 5th to 8th. The funds will be temporarily deposited into my personal account so that I may facilitate the timely reimbursement of transportation and accommodation purchases.

We have just returned from the El Paso/Ciudad Juárez border, following three days of intense activity. Seven young MOMUMI activists traveled to the border to reunify with their families. They were accompanied by Pastor Juan Carlos Ruíz, MOMUMI organizers, and a documentation team from NYU’s Hemispheric Institute. Based on information we gathered, we decided to postpone the planned collective walk across the border in order to gather more information and legal resources in support of the families. Given the postponement of that action, the families decided that their primary priority was to maximize the two days together in Ciudad Juárez, to have two grandmothers hold their grandchildren for the first time, to recover some privacy, to celebrate a birthday, to play music, to dance--in other words, to express the love that this cruel system of separation has for many years denied them. At the same time, the organizing team worked on strengthening connections with allied organizations and faith leaders in El Paso, who assembled to publicly announce their commitment to MOMUMI families at an event held simultaneously on both sides of the border wall (see below). We learned a great deal about how to move forward to reunify families, sought the counsel of lawyers and activists, and renewed our commitment.

Having returned to New York, we continue our work. In consultation with our new allied activists, lawyers, and transnational organizations, we will propose a new date and strategic plan for the reunification action. We are grateful for your support, and we can’t wait to share our next steps with you.

Click for press coverage of our event in support of MOMUMI families at the border wall: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V71LCDIE4mQ
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Sharing a moment of solidarity at the border during El Grito de las Fronteras / Cry From the Border.
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$5,632 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 66 people in 4 months
Created August 14, 2018
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