Enrique Morones, founder of Gente Unida, House of Mexico and Border Angels, explained how to get involved in activism, how to help immigrants and how hateful words turn into hateful actions in a lecture as part of the virtual Latinx Heritage Month series on Wednesday via WebEx.
Misty Levingston, associate director of multicultural affairs and Black student services and the co-host of the meeting, introduced Morones as an activist for the truth about immigration and immigrant rights, along with his long list of accomplishments that all included ties back to his community and activism for people.
Morones was the first born American citizen in his family, with a long line of relatives that he traced back to different parts of Mexico, back to the 1600s. He had always been interested in his heritage and one day heard about migrant workers living in the outdoors of the canyons of Carlsbad. It shocked him, as the area was relatively wealthy, but he soon learned that the majority of them were undocumented and just trying to survive as workers of the agriculture industry there. That was how he began the philanthropy group “Border Angels.”
He had expected this project to take up to six months, but 33 years later he finally decided to retire from it.
Operation Gatekeeper, the United States project to put up the border wall, only fueled his philanthropy group, and helped to begin others that sprouted from it, all working towards better rights for immigrants. The Border Angels began to leave water out in the desert for those who dared to cross it to come to the states. Morones said that 12,000 people have died attempting to cross since the project began in 2001.
“I bet not one of you could name one of the 12,00 people who died while trying to cross the border,” Morones said.
The call remained quiet after he said that, while each listener slowly seemed to take in the reality that these people, who had risked it all and died in their attempt, had not been well recognized.
Morones turned his attention to the border patrol and their recent treatment of the immigrants, whipping them while on horseback. He said that the United States had often meddled in affairs that they shouldn’t have in the first place.
While registered as an independent, he criticized both parties for policies they had both created or had claimed but never lived up to.
At the end of Morones’ talk, multiple guests offered their services to him, hoping to get involved in some way or another. For more information, visit Gente Unida at genteunidasd.net, Border Angels at borderangels.org, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lindsey Pacela can be reached at email@example.com.