December 21st, 2012
On the first of November, the Casa gave a warm welcome to a new partner: APOFAM, the Popular Assembly of Migrant Families. We were overjoyed to give them the keys to the famous patio office. They will use the Casa as their office, organizing base, and a space for meetings and events.
La Asamblea Popular de Familias Migrantes works with migrants and their families in Tlaxcala, and is now expanding their work to the capital. In Tlaxcala, they support the development of projects that promote the social, political and economic power of communities affected by migration. In Mexico City their work is focused on different kinds of advocacy for migrant family rights, including several projects with return migrants.
We’ll bring you more news of Apofam activities, including their work with “Los Otros Dreamers.” These Dreamers are not the ones you’ve heard about it: those who were brought to the United States as small children and live their lives as US citizens, except they’re undocumented. The Other Dreamers are just like them…except that before President Obama signed the “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” legislation providing a potential path to citizenship for such people, they had already been deported. Or left with family members who were deported, or decided to leave, tired of a life in the shadows. “Los Otros Dreamers” is a grassroots movement to organize this group in Mexico City, where there are thousands in these circumstances.
The Casa is attentive to a long-held concern for migrants and refugees, whether they come from Mexico or from anywhere in the world. Our concern for “return migrants” is especially sharp; many people who are recently deported often find their way to Casa de los Amigos. We see this new alliance with APOFAM as a real opening that speaks to a geniune leading of the Casa community.
All this year, we have opened up the Casa’s meeting spaces to APOFAM for their organizing meetings, potlucks and other events. So we knew that by inviting this group to call the Casa their home, we would be receiving another large, active and spirited community. We were right, and they have hit the ground running. They are here every day and, like us, can often be found in meetings on weekends and in the evening. Just a few weeks after their arrival, the Casa became the main organizing base for the Mexico City actions around last week’s Día Internacional del Migrante. We were happy to host the daily meetings in the conference room of 60+ migrant activists from Chiapas and Tlaxcala.
For decades, one part of the Casa’s contribution has been to provide office space to other organizations in an ideal, central location. The Casa offers inexpensive office and meeting space in an atmosphere of community and solidarity. The relationship between the Casa and groups who make it their base is one of partnership and alliance, rather than of a tenant. In recent years, the Casa has been home to organizations like Servicio, Paz y Justicia, the Mennonite Central Committe, and Peace Brigades International in Mexico. With APOFAM, we are committed to seeking ways to learn about one another’s work, identifying means to support one another, and looking for opportunities to work together.