They’re known affectionately as “the Grannies” and they know a thing or two about road trips, specifically ones to the US-Mexican Border in Texas.
The group of grandmothers headed to Texas to protest the Trump administration's immigration policies and its practice of separating families in late July. Now they're back. Thanks to her journey, 74-year old grandmother Michelle Clifton says she has a better sense of what's happening at the border
“It was such an incredible feeling. It felt like we had everyone in this country going on this trip with us,” Clifton said. “When Jeff Sessions put in the zero policy, immigration policy for no tolerance, and separated this families, I was horrified. And I didn’t see the connection with the past history, until I went on this journey."
Clifton is one of a few dozen grandmothers who gathered in Brooklyn Monday night to talk about their journey. Their group joined about two hundred other grandmothers from across the country to advocate for the more than 500+ immigrant families which remain separated.
This all comes after a federal court order to keep those families together.
“What I have seen living in America in all these last 30 years and more, is that Americans open their hearts out," grandmother Rachina Daryani said. "We cannot let [the] world believe that we don’t any more.
Not surprisingly, upon their return, the 'grannies' are now contemplating what’s next.
Organizer Dan Aymar-Blair says in order to address the painful practice of separating families, which has its roots in slavery, the grannies have a new twist on another relic from America’s past- something they’re calling the “Over-Ground Railroad”.
“They’re grannies from all over the United States- from Portland to New York City. So the best way that we can help, is wherever there’s help needed – that’s all over the United States. We have this network that spans – just like the bus system,” said Aymar-Blair.