Fr. Solalinde runs the Brothers in the Road ministry and shelter for migrants in Oaxaca, Mexico that gives refuge to mostly Central Americans as they cross Mexico for the United States. The caravan was organized to share the testimonies of human rights violations that migrants face in Mexico, raise the international profile of Fr. Solalinde’s work, and broaden the context of the debate on immigration reform in the United States.
Events were held at St. James Church in Perris, the University of California, Riverside, St. Anthony parish, Riverside, and Our Lady of Soledad and the Valley Missionary Program in Coachella, with a combined attendance of over 800 people.
“It was an honor to host Father Solalinde and the caravan,” said Elena Moscosa, who runs the social services center PAS (Programa de Apoyo Social) out of St. James. “My family was blessed to meet and listen to this priest who is a living example of faithful living and courageous service.”
Fr. Solalinde has been jailed by Mexican police and receives death threats for denouncing the role of international commerce, the Mexican government and drug cartels in preying on migrants. Mexican human rights commissions estimate that in just the first half of 2010, more than 11,000 mostly Central American migrants were kidnapped in Mexico.
“A broken and inhumane economic system drives them out of their home countries,” Fr. Solalinde stated during one of the events. “In this system, people are merchandise. Since migrants have no rights and have no voice, their very lives become the cheapest commodity to exploit. Every one of us on their path and embedded in this economic system has a role to play to lift up these chains of oppression.”