The Flores Exhibits: A window into the trauma of children in immigrant detention

Update on September 27, 2019: Good news! While the legal case behind the Flores Exhibits is still pending, today a judge in another case blocked the Trump Administration’s attempt to eliminate the Flores Settlement Agreement. Read about the ruling here.

I want to share with you something that is hard to face, but that I think we need to face squarely and do something about: the devastating impact of US immigrant detention on children.

I recently came across a website that provides a powerful and unforgettable window into the trauma that children are currently experiencing in US immigrant detention: a collection of video testimonies called the Flores Exhibits.

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The honor walk

My dear friend Sue Costello shared an experience with me that was so moving  I invited her to share it with others here. (She’s a regular reader of this blog.) I didn’t know anything about “honor walks” before, and I’m so glad to hear about this end-of-life ritual that is such a seemingly small thing yet brings so much light to an otherwise dark moment.  Sue’s write-up is below. Thank you so much, Sue, for sharing your beautiful story with us!

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How to help Hurricane Dorian relief efforts

As I’m sure you know if you’ve been following the news, Hurricane Dorian has devastated the Bahamas and impacted the eastern US as well. If you’d like to help in the relief efforts, especially with donations, I found a Washington Post article with some good links. Just click here.

Let our loving thoughts, prayers, and actions go to everyone impacted by this horrific event.

Tender firmness in the service of radical kinship: My experience at the Global Homeboy Network Gathering

I had a wonderful time in Los Angeles at the Global Homeboy Network Gathering on August 11-14. It’s an experience I will cherish for the rest of my life, and an event I’d definitely like to go to again. There’s so much I could say that anything I write about the Gathering will be woefully inadequate. But I can at least touch on the highlights. Here goes…

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At the Global Homeboy Network Gathering

I’m having a great time at the Global Homeboy Network Gathering! The presentations ended this afternoon, and the whole experience was wonderful. Tomorrow we’ll be taking a tour of the Homeboy headquarters, after which I’ll order something delicious from the “waitresses with attitude” at the Homegirl Cafe.

I’ll have much more to say later, but for now I’ll just share a selfie of me and the man himself, Father Greg Boyle, better known as “G-Dog” or just “G.” We talked only very briefly since there were so many people who wanted to see him, but he’s just as kind and funny in person as he is on all those YouTube videos I’ve seen. It was a real joy to meet him! More to come.

Off to the Global Homeboy Network Gathering!

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m going to be attending the Global Homeboy Network Gathering in Los Angeles on August 11-13. (For more information about the Global Homeboy Network of Homeboy Industries, read the previous post here.) Well, I’m off tomorrow morning! I’m hoping that I’ll have time to squeeze in an update blog post while I’m there, but if not, I’ll tell you all about it when I get back. Really looking forward to it!

“Scene from a zombie apocalypse”: the struggles of an anonymous Border Patrol agent

Much has been said and written about the horrible conditions in the Border Patrol detention centers on the southern US border. But we’ve heard little about what BP agents themselves think of all this, in part because they risk their jobs if they speak to the press. For this reason, I appreciated an article I recently read that offers a rare glimpse of an anonymous agent who is clearly struggling to hold onto his humanity in the midst of an inhuman situation.

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In a little too deep in Juárez

I know I’ve been beating that swimming metaphor to death, but I couldn’t resist. 🙂 Unfortunately, I have some somewhat sad news to report, though I think in the long run everything will work out for the best. The news is that, in spite of my best efforts and the help of so many wonderful people, it turned out that my job as co-coordinator of the Construyendo Sueños project was a bit too much for me. Therefore, for the good of the project and of everyone involved, including myself, I decided to resign.

That, however, isn’t necessarily the end. I still believe deeply in the project and I’ve been a valued member of the team, so we’re going to try to create a new job that is more suited to my skill set. It will likely involve writing, translating, and public speaking. We want to take advantage of the one characteristic that sets me apart from all of my co-workers: I’m an American whose native language is English.

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Scott Warren to be retried in November

Sadly, my friend and colleague Scott Warren is not out of the woods yet. In June, his trial for giving humanitarian aid to two undocumented immigrants ended in a hung jury and therefore a mistrial. But yesterday (July 2) federal prosecutors announced that though they were dropping the conspiracy charge against him, they would retry him on two counts of harboring undocumented immigrants. The new trial is set to begin on November 12. If convicted, Warren could spend up to ten years in prison.

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