WEB SITE: casadeluztj.org
Casa de Luz is a collective space formed for the LGBTQ+ community that is open to all migrants because they are apart of who we are as people. It’s a magical home that we are building with all of our love and strength and that we have appreciated so much since the moment we arrived.
In our house we work communally for the common well being of the human race. Our objective is to be people helping people and provide assistance and protection to those that have migrated. In search of the common good, we are dedicated to accompanying the members of our home in their asylum seeking process in Mexico and the United States. Our help is essential and we are always looking to give the best legal advice for the ones who are starting their asylum process in the United States. We intend to have a positive effect on all of the cases that we are asked to help with. We look for donations so that people do not lack food, clothes, water, electricity or gas while living in our house.
We couldn’t be more grateful for all of the people that have donated to us and helped us on this long journey. We have lived through some bad situations. In our struggles we have encountered people who have profited in one way or another, by making us believe that they wanted to help us. Unfortunately, the economic policy of our time, what makes us migrants, continues to win because behind it there is a kind of mentality that measures everything in costs and benefits. That is why much of the help toward us is seen through the lense of profit. Many that have told us “we want to help you” have only seen has as a dollar bill.
To all of you who are in real solidarity with us and in our fight against turning everything into merchandise, we thank you with all our hearts.
OUR ORIGIN IS IN THE CARAVANS
On the 15th of January of 2019, one of the last caravans that crossed Mexico at the end of the year, left the bus terminal of San Pedro Sula to look for protection and security to arrive at the border in the north of Mexico, and exercise the right to ask for political asylum in the United States.
The transmigrant LGBTI community grouped together and organized our journey from the beginning. That way women, men, a few families, human rights defenders and activists set up the mobile kitchen. We all have to eat, and seeing that our people were hungry, we cooked for as many people as possible during the journey of the caravan– to look for a way to prepare food at least two times a day. Despite our efforts giving out food, Mexican Migration authorities, in the international bridge of Tecún Umán, told us that we did not have the right to give out food because we were not an organization and because we were unhygienic. With difficulties like these, the Caravan advanced and along with it, our mobile kitchen.
After traversing 738 miles we arrived to Mexico City. In the Jesus Martinez Palillo stadium the “Mixihuca” shelter was set up by the Mexican government as a short term place to stay for people arriving from the Caravan. There, the authorities wanted to take away the kitchen and throw it in the trash, minimizing the effort of all the people who had transported it on their backs and hitch-hicking.
Mexico City was a breaking point. In this shelter we could not enter with any personal items and they made us throw everything out: deodorant, soap, toothpaste, etc. On the 15th of February, 2019, outside of the shelter, federal police and migration agents did their first raid against migrants and refugees in Mexico City. For the first time, the caravan of thousands divided into three and each group made their way to three different border areas: Monterrey, Chihuahua and Tijuana. We went to towards Tijuana.
In February, under federal orders, we were prohibited the right to use federal highways or even use any kind of public transportation under the fear that transport companies would be prosecuted. We crossed the states of Guanajuato, Jalisco, Sinaloa, and Sonora on foot.
Eventually we reached Tepic, where we did not have any other choice but to ride the freight train (“La Bestia”), and escape. Little by little, many people returned to join with us in Mexicali and we arrived in Tijuana as a Caravan in March of 2019.
There were police at the scene immediately upon arriving on the train in Mexicali and they took us to the shelter nicknamed “the yellow castle”. The way to get there is completely hidden, well away from the public eye and across a repulsive canal of completely contaminated sewage water. We think that taking us to places like that is a strategy of the authorities so that people don’t see us, so they don’t join in solidarity with us. This place was like an abandoned house, the people in charge were weird, we did not know if it belonged to an institution or an organization, it was filled with police and the food that they gave us had been expired for weeks. There we found ourselves with other folks from the LGBTQ+ community with whom we had walked from Mexico’s southern border. There we grouped together once again, staying the night. The next day we were able to get a bus to Tijuana. At the “Rumorosa” military checkpoint they harassed us and threatened to detain us. Those that came with the caravan were seperated from everyone else who were passing through the checkpoint; the soldiers searched all of our belongings and accused some of us of human trafficking. We continue to believe the authorities did not want us to reach Tijuana and also wanted to estrange us from the local population.
We arrived to Tijuana sick and starving. We were very afraid because in Mexicali we were told that Tijuana had become the most dangerous city in the world, and in the vulnerable condition in which we came; the only thing we wanted was to rest but we couldn’t because we did not even have a space to shower.
Along the way many people helped us, and in Tijuana a person decided to open the doors of their abandoned house to us, and from the very beginning, we called it the House of Light (“Casa de Luz”).
OUR HOME IS IN THE HEART
In Tijuana we began to make our home: an abandoned house without doors, windows, bathrooms, floors, kitchen and a front gate. We slept without enough warmth because we did not have clothes nor cushions. We started to work in the rain, tired from the long trip, to patch the leaky roof and to get the bathrooms functioning. We had very little physical strength but plenty of energy to work and to make the space better and little by little we installed doors and windows and fixed all that was broken, cleaned inside and out, painted the house and rescued what we could.
By making friends with our neighbors they got to know and support us. With effort we furnished the house; put tables, beds, cupboards, closits, light fixtures. We stayed in the rooms and created communal spaces for community events and meals.
We have put our heart into Casa de Luz and opened our space to those, who like us, have migrated. The effort, work and dedication that we have put into this was possible thanks to the support of the generous hearts of people that have helped us.
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SITIO WEB: casadeluztj.org