For over two years Yolanda Brown of Joshua Tree has been working to help immigrants in many capacities. She volunteers with the non profit Border Kindness.
“By providing comprehensive services like clothing, shelter, food, medical services,” says Brown adding that her group has played a role in the reunification of families separated at the border, “having the anxiety of knowing that they were going to be reunited with their kids, it was just an amazing, it was an amazing feeling.”
Among them a father on his journey to reunite with his five year old son he hadn’t seen in a year.
“He expressed the guilt that he had when he went home and he had to tell his wife that he had no idea when his son was … they kept telling him he’s going to meet you at the airplane and he didn’t see his son, he was trying to get off the airplane,” says Brown.
She says the recent news that volunteers like her were put in government databases and flagged because of their work has hit a little too close to home, “The founder of border kindness at one of the crossings from Mexicali to Calexico, he was pulled to the side, his passport and phone was taken away from him he was interrogated for a couple of hours.”
And while it hasn’t happened to her, she says it’s something that’s always in the back of her mind, “Every time I leave my home I always ask my husband, do we have bail money that is readily available, and the truth of the matter is it’s not going to detain me, it’s not going to stop me from doing what’s in my heart.”
She says there’s more risk in being indifferent to people who have nothing and are running out of hope, “I take that in and use it as fuel when I‘m tired, when I think that I can’t deal with the inhumanity anymore, I think about those faces, I think about the many, many, many stories that I carry with me.”
For information on how to help Border Kindness click here: Border Kindness