A day with the migrant caravan in Mexico City

I’m now back in Xalapa after spending a day in Mexico City with the migrant caravan that has been so much in the news recently, and that Patricia and I had worked with at the Guatemala border in October. I would have stayed longer, but the caravan moved northward the next day. That’s the thing about caravans—by definition, they move! 🙂 My experience in Mexico City, just as at the Guatemala border, was an unforgettable experience of solidarity, connection, and love for my brothers and sisters.

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Back with the caravan…now in Mexico City

I’m back with the caravan (a large segment of it, at any rate), which is now lodged at a stadium in Mexico City that has been transformed into a massive migrant shelter. I haven’t started yet, but will likely be there tomorrow. I’ll keep you posted!

“My cup overflows with love”

We have all been saddened by the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday, in which eleven people were killed. I want to offer my heartfelt condolences to everyone impacted by this horrific event.

In its wake, I’m inspired by the words of Tree of Life Rabbi Jeffrey Meyers (the older man pictured below), who was conducting the morning service when the shooting occurred. Having seen members of his congregation gunned down before his very eyes, it would have been easy for him to respond with words of anger and vengeance. Instead, at an interfaith vigil the day after the shooting, he invoked the twenty-third psalm (“You anoint my head with oil. My cup overflows”) and said this:

“My texts, my emails, my Facebook overflow with love from strangers, people I’ve never met, people who are not from the United States, but from all over the word, Jewish, Christians, Muslims, all with the same message: ‘We are here for you.’”

“My cup overflows with love. That’s how you defeat hate.”

Amen, my brother. God bless you and the Tree of Life congregation, and may all of our cups overflow with love.


Back from the caravan: an unforgettable experience

As you know, I have spent this week helping the migrant caravan that has been making its way through Mexico to the US. (Well, most of them are heading for the US. Some are staying in Mexico or even going back.) The caravan has gone further north and I’ve returned to Xalapa. Now that I have the time, I’d like to give a little report on what was truly an unforgettable experience.

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Heading south to help the migrant caravan at the Mexico-Guatemala border

Patricia and I were having a quiet breakfast this morning when she got an unexpected and important message. She is a member of the Citizens’ Council of the Mexican National Institute of Migration. The Citizens’ Council is a kind of watchdog group dedicated to ensuring that the legally mandated human rights of migrants are respected by the Mexican government authorities.

The message was this: She and other Citizens’ Council members are needed at the Mexico-Guatemala border to protect the rights of members of the Central American migrant caravan that has made headlines in the past few days. So, we’ll be leaving early Sunday morning. While Patricia does her work, I’ll be helping out any way I can—most likely through providing humanitarian aid. I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and do whatever is needed.

Click the link to this BBC article describing the situation. And please, keep us all in your prayers.

“Do unto others…”: The latest in the Scott Warren case

As those of you who follow this blog know, I volunteered with the migrant aid organization No More Deaths in January of this year, and was present during events that led to the arrest of fellow volunteer Scott Warren. My friend Ken Froessel sent me this article from NPR with the latest on his case, which is set for trial in November.

Warren is charged with two counts of harboring illegal immigrants and one count of conspiracy to harbor and transport illegal immigrants. He faces up to twenty years in prison for providing humanitarian aid. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Warren does not deny providing humanitarian aid, of course, but has grounded his defense in religious liberty as guaranteed by the First Amendment. In a hearing, he told the court that his faith compels him to act when someone is in need. A true Golden Rule activist, Warren said to the court, “For me, we most definitely do unto others as we would want to have done unto us.”

By the way, as most of you also know, the Border Patrol took items of mine (my computer, external hard drive, cell phone, and journal) as evidence for Warren’s trial. I am now in touch with Warren’s lawyer and am inching closer to getting those items back.

Please keep everyone involved in your prayers.

Persisting in my faith in humanity

Like so many, I was deeply saddened on Saturday when Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed by the Senate for the Supreme Court. It was another blow to to the future of our country, and I found myself thinking “How can the people who voted for him sleep at night? How can anyone so callously and thoughtlessly give this obviously unfit man a lifetime appointment to such a powerful position? Are there no limits anymore?”

The sheer cruelty, ugliness, and insanity regularly displayed by Donald Trump and his followers have frequently elicited such thoughts in me in the past several years. Indeed, I have to admit that my faith in humanity has been seriously shaken. Oh, philosophically I retain that faith; as a student of A Course in Miracles, I continue to believe that in spite of our darkness, our true nature is of God and thus is ultimately good. But on a practical, everyday level, I’ve been shocked and appalled at just how dark that darkness can get. There are moments every day when I am struck speechless at the latest example of utter barbarity or sheer Kafkaesque insanity.

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Dennis Gaither’s Kashmir Project blog

You may recall my post in August about the wonderful work of my friend Dennis Gaither. As I said there, “He is part of a group that will be going to Kashmir, India in October to help support several predominantly girls’ schools in the area.”

Now, I’m happy to report that Dennis and his group have arrived in Kashmir. And good news! Dennis has started a blog to share his experiences there. If you would like to follow it, I invite you to check out his Kashmir Project blog. Dennis, we wish all of you infinite love and  blessings as you and your group work with our brothers and sisters in Kashmir!