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50,000 and Counting: A Border Crisis Discussion with Enrique Morones and Sr. Justine Church

nogales-300x174Over 50,000 young Central American children have sought refugee status in the United States this year.  Some are fleeing gang violence and drug trafficking, others are escaping grinding poverty or trying to reunite with family already here.  Heart-wrenching photos flood TV and internet – children risking life and limb atop fast-moving trains… youngsters crammed into inadequate holding facilities… angry protestors raising signs and voices… concerned counter voices offering succor… politicians swaying in the ensuing squall.  The images are vivid, the discussion heated – and prolonged.

And the children wait, caught in a seemingly endless – and excruciating – limbo.

Moved by their plight, the people of the United Church of Christ of La Mesa (UCCLM), have mobilized to seek knowledge, encourage concern and offer help and support.   Following a letter-writing campaign and a visit with Rep. Susan Davis, we are ready to take the next step, one we invite you to share.

At 3:00pm, Sunday, August 17, two people close to the situation, Enrique Morones of the Border Angels/Angeles de la Frontera and Sr. Justine Church of the Interfaith Center for Worker Justice of San Diego County, will address the issues behind the headlines – the politics and economics behind the exodus of refugees – and suggest ways in which we may respond to the refugees with both compassion and practicality.  Dr. Richard L. Short will moderate the conversation.

We invite you join us in UCCLM’s Friendship Hall for this discussion.  Questions welcome!  The church is located at 5940 Kelton Avenue, La Mesa, CA 91942 (619-464-1519, www.ucclm.org).

Additional Information:

Becky Motlagh



 Panelist Bios

Enrique MoronesEnrique Morones

Long time internationally acclaimed Human Rights Activist Enrique Morones, was born in San Diego to Mexican parents Luis Morones of Mexico City and Laura Careaga of Culiacan Sinaloa.  Founder and President of Border Angels (saving migrant lives) an all-volunteer group he established in 1986 which place water in the desert, food and blankets in the winter on the border areas to help save migrant lives, Enrique is a frequent guest on local and international media.  He resides in San Diego and lives by “when I was hungry did you give me to eat, when I was thirsty did you give me to drink” Matthew 25:35


Sister Justine ChurchSr. Justine Church

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Sister Justine earned her B.A. from Holy Family University in Philadelphia in 1971, and received her Master’s degree in public and international affairs in 1976 at the University of Pittsburgh.  She also earned a Master’s degree at King’s College School in London, England, in the field of theology and philosophy.  Sister Justine spent three years as administrator for the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.  She was elected Western District Coordinator for the Medical Mission Sisters in 1995, and since that time has been involved in justice work in the San Diego area.



Richard ShortRichard L. Short, MD

A pediatrician in private practice since 1980, Dr. Short, who speaks Spanish fluently, cares for many minority children, many Hispanic children, in his practice. He received his undergraduate degree in biology from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena and attended medical school at UC San Diego, graduating in 1977.  He did his pediatric residency at UC Irvine and affiliated hospitals then spent nine years practicing in Oregon, before moving back to the San Diego area in 1989.  At La Mesa Pediatrics now for 22 years, he has served as the chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at Grossmont Hospital twice and on the Medical Executive Committee at Sharp Grossmont Hospital.  Married for 37 years, with two grown children and one granddaughter, he has attended UCCLM for 24 years.  The grandson of a medical missionary, he says that in thinking about the immigrants from Central America, he is reminded of the words, “Send us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” And wonders what our responsibility is – to learn more, to do more?  Or to ask, “What would Jesus do?”

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