Love Knows No Borders: A reportback from our trip to the border

The AFSC Oregon Delegation (pictured here in part) included IMIrJ members from Quaker, Jewish, Lutheran, Methodist, and Evangelical backgrounds, as well as people of goodwill - from Southern Oregon, Central Oregon, and the greater Portland metro area.

The AFSC Oregon Delegation (pictured here in part) included IMIrJ members from Quaker, Jewish, Lutheran, Methodist, and Evangelical backgrounds, as well as people of goodwill - from Southern Oregon, Central Oregon, and the greater Portland metro area.

Dear IMIrJ supporters,

Last week I joined a group of clergy and lay leaders from IMIrJ that traveled to the US-Mexico border in San Diego as part of a delegation of nearly 20 Oregonians, organized by our partners at the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC).

The purpose of our journey was two-fold: first, we hoped to demonstrate our solidarity with border communities and our Central American kin of the migrant caravans as part of the “Love Knows No Borders” direct action - a silent pilgrimage along the Pacific shore to the place where an iron wall, wrapped in menacing concertina wire, stretches out into the sea, marking out a heretical divide. The wall: a senseless monument to cowardice, capitalism, and fear, guarded by millions of dollars worth of machinery and soldiers in a sacrilegious and racist war.

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And yet, the wall was no match for our offering of love. We were 400 strong, hailing from a multitude of faiths and hometowns, and the wind effortlessly carried our prayers and songs across to our kin on the other side.

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Secondly, we followed our hearts to Tijuana, where we bore witness to both the deep humanity - and the unfathomable inhumanity - of the realities that Central American migrants face on the other side, as they seek sanctuary from violence, poverty and persecution. Thousands living in limbo. Dispersed across dozens of shelters and makeshift tent cities - some literally rows of strung-up tarps and camping tents pitched in the middle of the street, another run by the Mexican military and heavily controlled. The migrants await their “turn” to present themselves to US authorities and plead their cases for asylum.

Hundreds of migrants spend the night in tents lining the street outside the Benito Juarez stadium in Tijuana.

Hundreds of migrants spend the night in tents lining the street outside the Benito Juarez stadium in Tijuana.

Notes of encouragement posted on a wall at El Barretal - the largest of the migrant shelters in Tijuana, run by the Mexican military.

Notes of encouragement posted on a wall at El Barretal - the largest of the migrant shelters in Tijuana, run by the Mexican military.

The migrants are also organizing, exerting their own leadership and agency against all odds. One day we were there, lxs caravanerxs organized a march to the US consulate. This week, they hosted a press conference and Posada. This, for me, is where I found the most hope on our trip - people joining together to defend their dignity and their basic human rights.

What follows are images and reflections from some of us who took this journey. We have more questions than answers, and much more festering in our consciences, working in our hearts, and as of now still beyond words. The learnings and revelations will trickle out over time, and so, too, we trust, will the deeper truths of this moment. Indeed, as Rev. Traci Blackmon proclaimed (start at 1:05:45) in an interfaith service the night before the action, “God, not empire, will have the last word.”

In Solidarity,
Sarah K Loose
Senior Lead Organizer, IMIrJ


What we saw…

“Love Knows No Borders” Interfaith Service in San Diego on Sunday, Dec. 9th, 2018

Members of Oregon delegation at Centro Cultural de la Raza in San Diego, sorting clothes to take down to migrant shelters in Tijuana, Mexico.


What we’re thinking and feeling…


With gratitude to Douglas Yarrow for much of the photography shared here. For specific photo credits, please contact info@imirj.org.