A Maine Activist Walks in Solidarity with the Undocumented
On Tuesday, August 5th, Jim Harney began a walk from Boston to New Haven via New Bedford, site of the region's largest immigration raid in March 2007, to highlight the plight of immigrants. Planning to be on the road for six weeks, the 68-year-old Maine activist is stopping in towns along the way, speaking in churches and schools about the global economy and why migrants continue to make the dangerous journey north, risking life and limb.
For the past 20 years, Harney has traveled the Americas, documenting the conditions of poverty and misery in which millions of poor peasants and migrant workers live, sharing in story and photographs their dreams and hopes of a dignified life. This time, however, Harney is sharing the life-and-death drama of the poor in a more personal way. He has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. This walk may be his last.
"Our walk is paradise in comparison to those who leave their families and walk treacherous trails into a world of robbery, rape, and murder. The North American Dream has life-threatening difficulties attached to it, ask those who've fallen off trains and lost limbs. Each day, more than a thousand Salvadorans head north. Hunger stalks the half million Mexicans who pass into the US yearly."
"Undocumented people are declaring they ëexist,'" Harney says. "They're here in the middle of our society. Many of us don't know them. They are invisible. Yet they do the backbreaking work of providing our food, maintaining our infrastructure, cleaning our homes, grooming our lawns. We invite churches and groups in solidarity with the undocumented to journey with us, provide hospitality and space where we might converse about the challenge of creating possibilities for those with no tomorrow."