If you stopped to tie your shoe while following Elisa of the Angry Tías y Abuelas across the Gateway International Bridge, you might get left behind. Elisa walks with a purpose, pulling behind her a rickety cart stocked full of personal care packages for the newly arrived migrants on the other side.
She makes this journey six times a week, setting out on foot from her home in Brownsville, Texas, crossing the bridge into Matamoros, Mexico, distributing the care packages to the migrants who have come to seek asylum, and then hurrying back across the bridge so she can pass through American customs and leave on time for work.
As she loaded me up with care packages outside the Matamoros aduana, Elisa told me to first take care of the women. Her resources are limited, and that’s who she wants to help first. What’s more, the care packages that Elisa has put together contain some products that men would find little use for…
It soon became clear that one of the best ways we could help was to provide this woman on a mission with items for her care packages.
I have to admit that I felt a little uncomfortable as I pushed around a cart full of tampons and women’s underwear, but the cashier didn’t blink an eye. I then drove straight to Elisa’s home where she loaded the items into her supply closet and took off.
She was headed for the bridge, again.
Bill is a social studies teacher at Forest Lake Area High School, living in Robbinsdale, Minnesota. A native Minnesotan, Bill spent a year in Mexico, teaching English and becoming fluent in Spanish. The opportunity to make an impact on the issues happening on the southern border has been a time he’ll always cherish. When not in the classroom, petting his cats, or writing for his blog, you can find him in the wrestling ring as the Revolutionary Bill Williams.