COACHELLA, Calif. - "Being separated from families means you can stay in the U.S. for years without seeing your family," activist Anita Nicklen said.
The "Caravan of Hope" hopes for an end to that. Internationally renowned migrant rights activist and Mexican priest, father Alejandro Solalinde, is leading 35 people in an "Interfaith Caravan of Hope for Immigration Reform Beyond Borders."
"The purpose of this caravan is to show the government, the legislators the perspective of immigrants coming from South America, to give a greater understanding," Father Solalinde said.
People grouped together in the caravan have personal stories driving them all the way to Washington, many having family members killed trying to cross borders.
"The military captured him and put him in jail. By the time, he didn't have any identification. They captured him, put him in jail, and tortured him for six months," activist Mercedes Moreno said.
"I have lost two brothers. This is my oldest brother. He was murdered Christmas Day," Nicklen said.
Father Solalinde and the caravan condemn the abuse of undocumented immigrants, wanting everyone to have their chance at a better life. His message really hits home in the Coachella Valley.
"This is a community of immigrants. A lot of the people that live here are workers that are just trying to improve their ways of life," Nicklen said.
About 135 Coachella Valley residents showed up for the caravan stop Sunday morning. Organizers say the desert's support wowed them. The caravan raised more money during this Coachella stop than at any California city so far, about $450 dollars.
"We just want to join forces with them and let them know they're not alone. We are all together in this struggle. We want peace but we won't have peace until we have justice," Nicklen said.
The caravan expects to arrive in Washington D.C. on May 31st, raising awareness along the way.
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