Who Helps Those Crossing the Desert?

Remains of unknown teenager found in the desert (photo by Laurie Jurs)

Deb Melton

On May 20 at 3 p.m. in the Mesquite Room, the Democratic Club of Quail Creek (DCQC) will welcome Laurie Jurs, Paul Nixon, and Laurel Grindy of Green Valley-Sahuarita (GVS) Samaritans to talk about this important organization and their work. Their mission statement reads, “to save lives and relieve suffering in Arizona borderlands.” GVS Samaritans, sponsored by Good Shepherd United Church of Christ, believe in respect of human rights, rendering of humanitarian aid, and one’s ethical responsibility to assist those who are suffering.

As many of us are aware, desperate situations in countries in Central and South America are causing more people to set out on the dangerous and arduous journey northward to try and resettle in the United States. These are desperate people who would not leave their homeland unless they felt they had no other choice. They are not unlike the immigrants who came from Europe in the last century, fleeing poverty and persecution, seeking a better life somewhere else. They came to America and brought their talents and work ethic to make this country what it is today. Many of us are descended from people who risked everything, arrived with little or nothing, worked hard to establish themselves, raise families, and build better lives for their children and grandchildren. Many of you might have a story of your grandparents or great-grandparents who did just that.

Today, it is not much different. Yet instead of coming by boat crossing an ocean, they come on foot, walking thousands of miles to arrive at the U.S. Southern Border. They have already endured many hardships, overcome extreme conditions, and survived many challenges, yet getting into the U.S. remains one of the biggest obstacles they will face. Some have family members who are already settled in the U.S. and are waiting for them to arrive. Like all of us, they have hopes and dreams of a better life for themselves, but especially for their children.

There is a lot of confusing and sometimes conflicting information in the news about what actually takes place in the borderlands of Arizona where we live. Many of us are unsure of what is happening, what to be concerned about, or what we can do to help. The Green Valley-Sahuarita Samaritans are directly involved in these issues. “That is why we invited the Samaritans to come and speak to our club,” said Deb Logan, program chair for DCQC. “Many of our members are very interested in these issues and want to learn more.”

The GVS Samaritans are all local volunteers. They offer training to those interested and provide humanitarian aid to migrants crossing the desert. They also partner and work closely with other groups, like the Tucson Samaritans and Border Community Alliance based in Tubac.

Democratic Club meetings are open to everyone who is interested in the topic or in learning more about the club’s activities. Join us on Saturday, May 20, at 3 p.m. for this interesting and important talk about humanitarian aid to those crossing the desert.