On Nov. 15th I went to visit two shelters in Tijuana. One of them, Casa las Mariposas, is only GLBTQ+ folks waiting to seek asylum. The other one, Casa del Luz, is mostly GLBTQ+ but also some families. I was impressed by both shelters and the work they are doing, but especially taken by the second one.
Casa del Luz is made up of GLBTQ+ folks and a number of families, who traveled in the caravans beginning in San Pedro Sula Honduras. The people currently in the house (36 of them) traveled in the last caravan 4 months ago. The overseer of the house, Irvin, traveled to a Honduras to accompany a group of trans women through Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico. This was the 6th time he has done so. His purpose is to protect their human rights. He feels, as a person with some status ( starving artist) , he has power and privilege that they do not.
Along the journey others joined them. A few in El Salvador. Among them a 16 year old gay boy kicked out of his home. A man, his wife and two small children took in the 16 year old and then asked if they all could join the trans women’s caravan. Later in Guatemala several more Mom’s with children and Majorie a trans woman. Coming through Mexico, more GLBTQ+ people joined in until they were the 36 that arrived in Tijuana. In a few weeks, after 4 months of waiting , the group’s numbers will be called to go to the line and ask for asylum! Irvin, says it will be bittersweet to walk over to the line with them. He has no doubt that there will be more caravans. In fact, he was leaving a few days after we were there to go to the Guatamala border to escort two lesbians to Tijuana.
The three of us that were visiting were invited to share a meal with ones in the house. At some point, I looked over and saw a table with the 16 year old gay boy and the family who took him in, two single moms and their small children plus Marjorie, the trans woman. They were all laughing and enjoying their meal together. Irvin said to me that the 36 people staying in the home were a large family. I get that, but I believe the household goes even further. In the Lord’s Prayer we pray that “thy kingdom come”. I think that the kingdom has indeed come in this household.
Of course, Irvin struggles to pay the bills for the place he is renting. I gave him the little bit of money I had in my wallet and then added $100 to their go fund me page when I got home. I took that money from Westwood’s Migrant Ministry Fund.
I was talking with my sister this morning. She asked what I was grateful for this a Thanksgiving. I told her that I was grateful to be able to do this migrant ministry and to do it on behalf of my church.
- Talking with Irvin
- Some of the children enjoying candy
- The family sleeping areas. Blankets give some sense of privacy.
- Victor Noe from Guatemala. Such a sweet, happy child.
Permission given by parents for these photos to be included.