3 Arizonans Seeking to Share Migrant Experience with Pope, Call for an End to AZ Style Enforcement and Immigration Detention
For immediate release
On September 15th, one hundred women will set out from the York Detention Center in rural Pennsylvania on a one hundred mile pilgrimage concluding in Washington where the Pope is to meet with the President and address Congress. Three immigrant women from Phoenix will join the group, asking for the Pope to hear their stories and bring their testimony to the politicians he meets with while in the United States.
Maricruz Ramirez, undocumented mother of 3 DACA recipients, is an organizer with the Puente Human Rights Movement. She has lived in Phoenix, AZ for 14 years, and is active educating people about their rights and fighting against criminalization, detention, and deportation. She is joining the pilgrimage to ask for justice for her entire community. She says, “I want the Pope to know what we live every day in Arizona, all the racial profiling, and the climate of hate all around us. We have survived so much, and now they are putting our community in detention centers that are so harmful people think about killing themselves. We need relief, an end to deportations, and for all the detention centers to be closed.”
Pati Bernal came to Phoenix, AZ thirty two years ago from Michoacan, Mexico. Last year, she successfully fought to stop her sister, Norma’s, deportation. Norma was incarcerated at the notorious Eloy Detention Center after being racially profiled by Maricopa County Sheriffs while walking on railroad tracks with her 5 children. Pati has six children of her own, and is a member of the Puente Human Rights Movement. She is walking “for all the mothers in detention and all the children separated from their mothers. We need the Pope to tell the politicians to stop putting migrant people in jail for trying to gain a better life for our families.”
Marielena Apodaca is originally from Sinaloa, Mexico. She came to Phoenix, AZ in 1997, in order to give her daughter the opportunity for a better life. Five years ago, her father died in Mexico and her husband was deported on the same day. Despite this suffering, she stayed in Phoenix, and her daughter soon after graduated college and got her deferred action work permit. Marielena is a co-founder of the Arizona Dream Guardians, an organization of parents of Dreamers fighting for immigration relief. She says, “I want the Pope to understand what migrants suffer in the United States and for him to help us and speak with the politicians about prioritizing families over political games. Here in Arizona, we have shown that not even Arpaio can stop our fight for justice, and we hope to inspire the pope with our stories.”
They will join with the We Belong Together with the #Not1More Campaign, PICO, and others aiming share their stories through their act of faith to echo the Pope’s message for migrant dignity and lift up the hardship immigrant women still face in the US. When they arrive in DC, they will hold a vigil on September 22nd, the night before the Pope’s meeting with the President.
Interviews available upon request.
Send-off event TBA.
More information can be found at http://webelongtogether.org/100women and by following #100women100miles on twitter.