A note from Valarie Kaur, author of See No Stranger
On Valentine’s Day last year, we invited you all to join us in writing letters of love and solidarity to people who most needed to hear from us. Thousands of you answered the call — parents and children, students and teachers, artists and activists, and faith leaders. We were overwhelmed by your handmade Valentines and love letters. We received hundreds and hundreds of cards for migrant families and children in particular.
This month, Julianna Piazzola and I gathered your cards and traveled across the US-Mexico border into Tijuana and visited Madre Asunta – a long-established shelter for women and children fleeing persecution. The shelter had thirty-five women, most of them mothers, and twenty-five children who were fleeing the most horrific kinds of persecution – traffickers, abusive spouses, and gang members who have threatened to kill them.
As the women and children sat down to eat together, the senior nun La Hermana introduced me and I said:
There are thousands of people in the United States who are thinking of you right now, who care about you. We are sorry for the cruelty of our government and its policies. On Friday, we have a holiday in America called Valentine’s Day, a day of love. So people have written you letters and cards to show you that we love you. And because we love you, we will fight for you. You are our sisters and brothers. Your children are our children. When you feel alone, we hope you can look at their cards and know that you are never alone. We are by your side.
A mother in the front of the room began to weep. Soon many mothers wiped away tears. We wept with them and passed out the letters and cards. Children took the cards with big smiles. Mothers embraced them and said thank you.
“It’s just a grain of sand,” I said to them.
“But it’s important,” said a mother in Spanish. “It’s an important grain of sand.”
Julianna and I left the bag of letters with La Hermana, the senior sister of the shelter. The letters are now making their rounds to all the major shelters in Tijuana and they are being delivered to hundreds of mothers, children, and families. It was such a simple gesture, a small offering, and yet more powerful than any of us could have imagined.
There’s still time to share love with those in need. Join our #ReclaimLove campaign and we’ll send details on how to get involved.