People Who Help

Olga Sanchez Martinez (center, wearing white) visited a class at California State University, Northridge in November 2015. Olga runs a shelter that helps migrants hurt by the "Death Train" in Chiapas, Mexico. More information about her shelter Albergue Jesus el Buen Pastor is available by visiting http://www.alberguebuenpastor.org.mx/

Olga Sanchez Martinez (center, wearing white) visited a class at California State University, Northridge in November 2015. Olga runs a shelter that helps migrants hurt by the “Death Train” in Chiapas, Mexico. More information about her shelter Albergue Jesus el Buen Pastor is available by visiting http://www.alberguebuenpastor.org.mx/

At the María Auxiliadora Church near Orizaba, Mexico, priest Salamón Lemus Lemus allows hundreds of migrants to sleep and eat inside the church. Over his lifetime, the priest saved $37,500 for his retirement. When he was 63 years old, he quietly donated the entire amount to buy land to build a migrant shelter.

At the María Auxiliadora Church near Orizaba, Mexico, priest Salamón Lemus Lemus allows hundreds of migrants to sleep and eat inside the church. Over his lifetime, the priest saved $37,500 for his retirement. When he was 63 years old, he quietly donated the entire amount to buy land to build a migrant shelter.

Francisca Aguirre Juárez barely has enough to feed her own children. But four times a day, whenever the train rolls by near her home, she runs out to the tracks. She throws migrants, who often haven't eaten in days whatever she has: water, apples, or sandwiches stuffed with beans.

Francisca Aguirre Juárez barely has enough to feed her own children. But four times a day, whenever the train rolls by near her home, she runs out to the tracks. She throws migrants, who often haven’t eaten in days whatever she has: water, apples, or sandwiches stuffed with beans.

Francisca Aguirre Juárez allows tired migrants to sleep in her one-room home. In two years, 80 migrants have slept in her home, which is so cramped that three beds are shoved together.

Francisca Aguirre Juárez allows tired migrants to sleep in her one-room home. In two years, 80 migrants have slept in her home, which is so cramped that three beds are shoved together.

In the Mexican state of Veracruz, María del Carmen Ortega García and her husband allowed a 20 year old Honduran to stay in their home for 9 months for free while he worked and saved to continue his journey. Their own 18 year old son disappeared when he attempted to enter the U.S. illegally in 1995.

In the Mexican state of Veracruz, María del Carmen Ortega García and her husband allowed a 20 year old Honduran to stay in their home for 9 months for free while he worked and saved to continue his journey. Their own 18 year old son disappeared when he attempted to enter the U.S. illegally in 1995.

At the Parroquia San José in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, Father Leonardo López Guajardo uses a rickety blue bike to pick up donated food and clothing for migrants. The humble priest uses the bike instead of a car and says: "Either we are with the poor, or we are not. God teaches us to most help the poor." To him, the people most in need in his city are migrants.

At the Parroquia San José in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, Father Leonardo López Guajardo uses a rickety blue bike to pick up donated food and clothing for migrants. The humble priest uses the bike instead of a car and says: “Either we are with the poor, or we are not. God teaches us to most help the poor.” To him, the people most in need in his city are migrants.

On the Day of the Dead in 2003, Father Leonardo López Guajardo says mass at the Nuevo Laredo cemetery. He also led a prayer for migrants buried in a common grave.

On the Day of the Dead in 2003, Father Leonardo López Guajardo says mass at the Nuevo Laredo cemetery. He also led a prayer for migrants buried in a common grave.


Updates

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Click here to read Sonia’s two-part blog for the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) about how storytelling can change entrenched views, even on the most polarizing issues.


Sonia Nazario’s latest opinion piece was featured in the LA Times on April 23, 2017. Sonia walks readers through the investments the U.S. can and should make not only to reduce unlawful migration, but get at the heart of why most people are now coming to the U.S. illegally. Drawing from her time researching what is pushing people out of central america, as well as U.S. funded violence prevention programs that are beginning to counteract that violence in places like San Pedro Sula, Honduras, Sonia shares her convictions as to how to best help, not only the citizens of this region, but U.S. taxpayers who need immigration policies that actually work to reduce the flow of migrants.

Book Sonia To Speak

Sonia Nazario speaks at universities, conferences, high schools, and other events.

Email her at: sonia.l.nazario@gmail.com