Grannies Respond is a grassroots movement, which formed in spring 2018 in response to the separation of families seeking asylum at the southern border of the United States. As news spread of immigrant children being separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border — at that time a hallmark of the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance immigration policy — a group of outraged grandmothers in New York state decided it was time to act.
They formed Grannies Respond/Abuelas Responden, and put out a call on social media for others to join them in a six-city, 2,000-mile trip to McAllen, Texas, home of the largest U.S. Customs and Border Protection detention center for undocumented immigrants, where they planned to protest.
The 30 Grannies and their supporters departed from New York City’s Union Square July 31, 2018 in two 15-seat vans and a camper. By the time the Grannies’ caravan reached the border, the group had picked up participants from Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Georgia, Kentucky, Alabama, Florida, Oregon, Wisconsin, Illinois, Louisiana; they converged along the route, driving vans, RVs, cars, trucks, busses — anything, really, with wheels and a motor (there was even a motorcycle). They were a diverse lot, but all agreed on these demands: the immediate reunion of all families, an end to the detention of immigrants and their families, and due process under the law for all immigrants requesting asylum.
In McAllen, members participated in 24 hours of protests and vigils at the U.S. Border Patrol Processing Center and in volunteer service projects with local charities and aid groups. Some crossed the border to bring vital supplies to immigrants waiting to cross into the U.S., where they will apply, in many cases, for asylum, having escaped violence in South and Central America.
Grannies Respond worked in conjunction with Veterans Service Corps and Lawyer Moms of America, and was supported by hundreds of community members and organizations on the ground, including Angry Tias & Abuelas, Catholic Charities, and La Posada Providencia.
The struggle continues. Since returning to their homes in July, the Grannies have continued their work, individually and collectively, while continuing to share their stories with their communities. Grannies Respond chapters have formed in many states and the group has formed the Grannies Overground Railroad, which assists immigrants at bus stops across the country, as they make their way to family members and community hosts who will house them while they await court dates.
To join our growing nationwide coalition, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are grateful to our nationwide partners without whom this national movement would not be possible.