A sojourn to deepen understanding and inform accompaniment
Aquinas Center’s founding value of responsiveness invites us to be in a continual practice of discernment about how best to accompany our local community and how to create opportunities for dialogue with visitors.
In this spirit, we are sending four team members to El Paso, Texas from February 3rd-9th to learn from Hope Border Institute, an organization that responded quickly to the release of formerly detained families over Christmas when ICE dropped them off without any notice or supports. HOPE was founded to bring the perspective of Catholic social teaching to bear on the social realities unique to the region. Through a robust program of research, reflection, leadership development, advocacy and action, HOPE develops and aligns the border’s community leaders engaged in the work of justice from across the Mexico-US border to deepen solidarity across borders.
The Aquinas team, led by Kimberly Quintero, our Director of Advocacy and Legal Services, will explore four themes during the El Paso visit: advocacy, creative expression, trauma, and faith. The findings will inform our legal services support for, and accompaniment of, families arriving from Central America as well as deepen the conversations about migration with high school and college Encounter groups. First hand experience, coupled with policy research, can significantly improve educational programming to counter misconceptions.
There are three key ways you can share in this journey:
1) Donate new toiletries (razors, shampoo, deodorant), hygiene products (tampons, pads), and over the counter medicine (cough syrup, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen) for us to take to organizations assisting families in El Paso. Please drop these items off at Aquinas Center before January 31st.
2) Donate financially to assist with housing and transportation costs for Aquinas Center staff. Click on our DONATE link and choose “Other” for the designation.
3) Attend a reflection session on a Thursday evening in mid-February to hear more from the Aquinas team. Stay tuned for the date.