Local activists reach out to immigrant families | TheUnion.com

Local activists reach out to immigrant families

Submitted by Lynn Wenzel
Grass Valley resident Rebecca Vandergift stands outside the Tornillo Childrens’ Detention Center in Texas.
Submitted by Bonita Amaro

In January, Grass Valley resident Rebecca Amaro Vandegrift, Bonita Amaro, and Yolanda Sanchez traveled to Tornillo, Texas to protest the incarceration of immigrant children at one of the largest child detention centers in the U.S. They stayed for a week outside the barbed-wire topped walls of the Tornillo Detention Center, where they learned more about the dehumanizing separation of children from their parents and guardians. On Feb. 20, Business and Professional Women of Nevada County (BPWNC) are inviting the public to attend an event featuring a panel discussion with activists Vandegrift, Amaro and Sanchez.

In 2018, the trio first learned about Abuelas Responden, also known as Grannies Respond, a group of grandmothers from several states who were headed to Texas with supplies for newly released immigrants. After traveling to met up with the “grannies” in McAllen, Texas, they returned to form their own chapter of Abuelas Responden. Since then, the volunteers have routinely taken hot food, clothing, and necessities to the Sacramento Greyhound bus station to provide assistance to arriving immigrants. Many have been given little or no provisions for their trips and are transferring to destinations as far away Michigan and New York, traveling to the homes of family members or community hosts who will house them while they await court dates. Put on buses at the border without jackets, diapers, medicines, hygiene products or any money, some travel for days to states where they have no family or friends. Vandegrift, Amaro and Sanchez will be on hand at the Feb. 20 meeting in Grass Valley to share dramatic firsthand stories as they report on the continued incarceration and unwanted dispersion of immigrants coming to America at BPWNC’s monthly meeting. “Mingling” begins at 5:30, with dinner and program beginning at 6 p.m. on Feb. 20 at the Gold Country Conference Center, 1012 Sutton Way in Grass Valley. Dinner is $22.50, with pre-paid reservations required by 5 p.m. on Feb. 17. A “program only” cost is just $5.

For more information on reservations, the program and on BPWNC, visit http://www.bpwnevadacounty.org.

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