Newark IRP director Amy Gottlieb introduces the Caravanistas. The visit was co-sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee and Morristown-based immigration advocates Wind of the Spirit.Photo: AFSC
Opening the elevator door to the Immigrant Rights Program office on May 24 was both an action and a metaphor – members of the “Opening the Door of Hope” Caravan were there for a lunch meeting. The caravan started in Mexico and has been traveling in the U.S. to raise awareness of immigration issues, especially the dangers immigrants face.
One speaker was Pedro Aguilar, a 24-year-old Honduran who lost his left leg when he fell off and was run over by a freight train migrants call “the Beast.”
Aguilar left his native country citing the increased poverty and violence, including gun violence that left his older sister and brother dead. He had heard that hard work led to success in the U.S., and so he headed north. Unfortunately, the Beast ended his trip in central Mexico.
Pedro currently works for a nonprofit bakery in Mexico that employs immigrants maimed in their journey north. He says he speaks out about immigration and his experiences on behalf of the many who died before they could reach their goal in the U.S.
The Caravan of Hope has been traveling throughout the country advocating for immigration reform. From Texas to New Jersey to Washington, D.C., they bring their stories, hoping reform will lessen the suffering of immigrants and their families.
The meeting room was crowded in Newark when Pedro and the other Caravanistas arrived.
Our photos show the attention and focus of the audience, but unfortunately they can’t fully portray the power and passion of the Caravan speakers.