Providence Meeting Middle School Friends’ concern for immigrants began when we saw pictures of immigrants on the news and how they were being treated at the US Mexico border. That led to our first fundraiser and learning more about the immigrant situation. We heard that families were being separated, and knew we needed to learn more about migrant life at the border and how we could help.
We asked Laura Boyce (American Friends Service Committee’s Associate General Secretary for U.S. Programs, and a member of our Meeting), to come and talk to us about her experience and to help us understand what was going on. We learned that immigrants were escaping violence and poverty, and many were fleeing their homes to save their lives. A few of them were young adults and traveling alone. Many immigrants made the 2,000 mile journey traveling with children and whatever belongings that they could carry. Teacher Laura told us about her experience in Mexico City, where a stadium was set up to help immigrants get the resources they needed. There were booths that had shoes, water, food blankets, and many more necessities. Even though they were tired, scared and hungry, children played soccer with Teacher Laura. Her experience in Mexico City and her relationship with the children touched us, and we wanted to help.
Our goal was to help the immigrants seeking asylum, and our first step was to raise money for AFSC’s program to help immigrants at the border. Our second step was to make a video to raise awareness about immigrant conditions. In it we included an interview with Teacher Laura and drew pictures of her experiences. We showed the video to our meeting to document what we had done.
Following our presentation of the video, we learned about Friends’ process and we wrote a minute of concern to Providence Meeting clerks. As the meeting approved our minute, they encouraged us to take it to Chester Quarter. On April 26th, Chester Quarter approved the minute of concern. After we took the minute to our meeting, we visited the Unitarian Universalist Church and met with the middle school students there. We began to think about how we could work together to spread the word about how immigrants are being treated as they seek asylum. Coronavirus has paused our plans to visit local schools and religious communities, and share our ideas, but we still plan to hold a vigil to honor immigrants for their courage. We also want to take our concern to our schools, and ask people to join us in helping the immigrants.
We ask that Monthly Meetings in Philadelphia Yearly Meeting consider the actions they might take to be a part of this movement and to share our concerns with others. A link to our video is available at https://www.providencemeeting.org/copy-of-faqs-2