Located in Worthington, Minn., St. Mary’s Catholic Church has a large number of immigrant parishioners -- primarily from Guatemala and other Latin American countries. A year and a half ago, in an effort to learn more about their friends and fellow congregation members, a group from Worthington traveled to Guatemala. When the Guatemalan immigrants in Worthington heard of the trip, many asked if the group would visit their family members still living in Guatemala -- some of whom they hadn’t seen for over 20 years.
During this trip, it was easy to see how deeply the family members, especially the grandparents in Guatemala, missed their children and how they longed to meet their grandchildren.
Because of documentation issues, the parents living in Worthington are not able to travel freely between Guatemala and the United States. However, their children are United States citizens.
With that realization, the idea for Abuelos y Nietos Juntos was born.
In July 2013, a group of 14 children, chaperones and church leaders traveled to San Marcos, Guatemala for ten days. Siblings were reunited and grandparents met their grandchildren for the first time.
Renowned documentarian Luis Argueta joined the group to record the moving reunions and is currently working on producing a film about the trip and the impact that immigration laws have on children and families.
After the trip, Abuelos y Nietos Juntos continued to grow at a grassroots level. After listening to the needs of immigrant parishioners, Abuelos y Nietos Juntos expanded their vision to incorporate a more holistic approach towards the issues facing immigrants. As part of that expansion, the name of the organization was changed to Familias Juntas to reflect their wider mission. They now strive to advocate for positive immigration reform, to promote social justice in the community, to support the immigrants in telling their stories of the effect the current immigration has on them, and to maintain relationships between family members separated by immigration laws and thousands of miles.
Click here to read the latest news about the work of Familias Juntas.
Haga clic aquí para leer las últimas noticias sobre el trabajo de Familias Juntas.
Check out our gallery to see pictures of the various aspects of our projects.