Unheralded

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot the Rapids — Standing In The Gap

This is the final blog about Paula Mehmel’s trip to the southern border of the U.S. with Abriendo Fronteras/Opening Borders delegation, which spent six days in El Paso, Texas, and Juarez, Mexico, exploring issues related to immigration. Who are the people who are willing to stand in the gap? In the midst of the attack on the people of Juarez from …


Unheralded

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot the Rapids — Remembering The Dead

If I were at home, I would probably take the day off. I woke up achy and miserable, after hacking all night with a cold our group seems to be sharing. At first, I was feeling sorry for myself knowing I couldn’t take a bread. I needed to charge through. But then I thought of all of the people we …


PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot the Rapids — When I Was A Stranger, You Welcomed Me

What would you do if, all of a sudden,  your city was overwhelmed with desperate people? They gave everything they had to get to your city  to legally claim asylum, fleeing violence and government oppression and starvation due to climate change. But after claiming asylum and being held in the “ice box” detention center for up to to 30 days …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot the Rapids — The Truth About What Happens At The Border

What really happens when someone comes across the border and asks for asylum? That is a question many ask, hearing so many proclaim the stories of abuse as fake news. Pastor Rose Mary Sanchez, an ELCA pastor serving at Iglesia Luterano Cristo Rey in El Paso, Texas, knows. She serves a small congregation where only eight of the families that …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot the Rapids — A Discordant Melody That Refuses To Be Silenced

Today we crossed the border and entered into the reality of the struggles of those who live in Juarez, Mexico, and those who are forced to wait there as they seek asylum. It was a short trip across the river and a long journey into the depths of human pain. It was hard to comprehend that the squalor in Juarez …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot the Rapids — What Are You Doing?

“Don’t come here asking what you can do at the border to help. The work that must be done is where you came from.” So began Ruben Garcia, advocate for asylum seekers and the founder of Annunciation House, a place of refuge that houses those who have come to the El Paso, Texas, border seeking asylum. He told our delegation, …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot the Rapids — A Broken Immigration System

Nothing about the current immigration crisis in our country is simple or easy. After one day as part of the Abriendo Fronteras/Opening Borders delegation, spending six days in El Paso, Texas, and Juarez, Mexico, exploring issues related to immigration, that is my greatest take away. Our morning began early, at 6 am. The group of 16 — which includes our two …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot the Rapids — Beneath Human Dignity

I cannot show you any photos of the women whose stories we heard today because their lives are at risk. But it broke me. We heard from five of the six women living in a safe house in Juarez, Mexico. They all fled their native Central American countries with their children  because they were facing death threats from the police …

RON SCHALOW: We’ll Leave If We Feel Like It

I’m even praying for this next sentence to be true. Except for the obvious exceptions, every person in the country knows that they’ve always been free to leave, and none of us need a cowardly lying racist to shoot his mouth off with reminders. And the president isn’t the arbiter of who loves this country, anyway. He can’t even choose …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot the Rapids — This Is Who We Have Become

Sometimes, things can be just too painful to read. I had that feeling as I was reading “Lilac Girls,” the work of historical fiction by Martha Hall Kelly that tells the real life story of New York sociality Caroline Ferriday, who championed a group of women known as “The Rabbits” who survived the horrors of Ravensbruck, a Nazi concentration camp …