Washington, DC, August 1, 2014 – Responding to the flight of children and youth escaping violence in Central America and entering the US from Mexico through Texas and Arizona, representatives from different youth groups and organizations that form part of the DC-MD-VA Coalition in Support of Children Fleeing Violence will gather to share their perspective and solidarity at the weekly, hour-long Monday vigil held at the White House. The gathering point will be at 16th and H Streets, in front of St. John’s Church at 6:30 pm.
Many of these youth or their family members have been directly affected by horrific situations in their countries of origin. They will symbolize this flight from violence with paper butterflies carrying the names of those affected by violence- themselves, their friends, and family members. Participants in CARECEN’s Youth Leadership Program Jovenes en Poder will be stating our coalition’s demands and members of SMART DC will be providing testimonies. The youth activists will be using their newly developed organizing and leadership skills to gather support for this issue and engage participants in future actions calling for a humane response and immediate assistance for the children whose situation they can relate to so well. The program will also include a musical act.
“I came to the United States to pursue my American dream, a dream in which I have the opportunity to study and have a better life than back in my home country of El Salvador, free from fear of the chronic violence, with more job opportunities and safer public spaces,” said Eliezer, a young, recent graduate of Roosevelt High School, who joined CARECEN’s team through the DC Summer Youth Employment Program.
Monday’s vigil is organized by: Collaborative Solutions for Communities, formerly Columbia Heights Shaw Collaborative Youth Group, CARECEN Jovenes en Poder, Paso Nuevo, SMART DC, and students of various DC high schools. Our Coalition will continue to hold the weekly vigils, engage with legislators at both local and national level, and coordinate with other groups from around the country for a national response and a stronger push for legislative or administrative solutions to this humanitarian crisis.
The DC-MD-VA Coalition in Support of Children Fleeing Violence is a group of individuals and non-profit organizations that includes: Latino activists, advocates for children and youth, teachers, students, workers, elected and appointed officials, labor leaders, religious leaders, concerned citizens and other members of the DC-metro area civil society.