Washington D.C. (Nino Communications) – The Pro-Immigrant Caravan “Opening Doors of Hope” will descend upon our nation’s capital on Monday, May 20th headed by Father Alejandro Solalinde, who has received death threats from drug cartel Los Zetas merely for his defense of migrants who cross Mexico on route to the United States.
The Caravan–which started in San Diego a month ago– has visited over 20 cities across the nation and will end in New Jersey later this month. Its objective is to bring awareness and visibility on human rights violations of immigrants at the hands at the hands of organized crime in Mexico.
“We want the world to know that immigrants are being tortured and murdered by extortionist along immigrant routes,” said Father Solalinde, who is the founder of an immigrant refuge called “Hermanos en el Camino” or Path Brothers located in the southern state of Oaxaca.
“The caravan is a response to the fact that Mexican authorities has lost control of the violence,” said Solalinde. “We want to bring testimony of these tragedies to as many places and people as possible, so all become aware of what’s happening in Mexico and to bring victims out of the shadows.”
Father Solalinde is accompanied by family victims of organized crime from Mexico and Central America, as well as family victims of the infamous deaths of the women of Juares. “This caravan is in memory of our departed loved ones, whose memory we want to honor and we don’t want their cases forgotten to impunity,” said a mother accompanying the caravan, who asked for anonymity.
The caravan’s first stop was San Diego and will arrive in DC from Chicago, where meeting were held with community leaders and local authorities. It will then head to New York on Wednesday, May 22nd.
“Today, Mexico is one the countries with a high percentage of forced migration. In 2011 over 20,000 were kidnapped and over 70,000 Central American migrants have vanished in the last years,” said Ted Loza, a community leader who is lending the caravan logistical support in DC.
“This is about human rights, it’s about drugs and gun control, it’s about hemispheric policies that can help Latin America grow economically to stop migration. In two words, it’s about Immigration Reform,” Loza said.
On Monday, May 20th, the caravan and its leadership will hold a press conference at Lamont Park in Mount Pleasant at 1:30 p.m. At 2:00 p.m. they will march to the Mexican Consulate before continuing on to the White House. A cultural event will be held at Lafayette Park-in front of the White Hs– between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m.
“Our community must unite behind this cause because a great number of us have lived a similar experience. Now that we are established, we can’t be indifferent to those who have lost loved ones to violence,” said religious leader and Priest Vidal Rivas.
Roxana Olivas, Director of the DC Mayor’s Office on Latino Affairs, sees this as an opportunity to bring up immigration reform to help drive the growth of Latino families and the nation.
“It is time that political decision makers in Washington learn first-hand the suffering of migrants. We hope this helps to strengthen Latino families in the nation,” Olivas said
What: Pro-Immigrant Caravan “Opening Doors of Hope”
Who: Mexican Priest Alejandro Solalinde, Family Victims of Human Rights Violations from Mexico and Central America, Community and Religious Leaders from the DC Metro Area
When: Monday, May 20, 2013
Where: Lamont St. Park in Mount Pleasant –Washington DC –Starting at 1:00 p.m.
Evening: Ecumenic Service, St. Mathew Church at 7:00 p.m., 5901 36th Avenue, Hyattsville, MD 20782