On President’s Day weekend, Los Angeles City Councilmembers Mitch O’Farrell and Curren D. Price, Jr. partnered with SALEF to lead a humanitarian aid delegation to Tijuana, where we visited nine dfferent shelters. Our delegation included Clínica Msr. Oscar A. Romero, El Rescate, Central American Resource Center (CARECEN-LA), St. John’s Well Child and Family Center, and Equality California. We also collaborated with Sergio Infanzon and Comite de Mejicanos Migrantes in this effort to bring humanitarian aid and assistance to our brothers and sisters in Tijuana.

This robust coalition shows that the humanitarian pipeline from Los Angeles to Tijuana is alive and well. Los Angeles has a special interest in showing compassion, support, and respect for migrant communities. Los Angeles is a city of immigrants. From Koreatown and Thai Town to the Salvadoran Corridor and Little Armenia, the city has always be seen as a destination and a beacon of hope for migrants abroad. Many immigrants come to Los Angeles specifically because of the large and diverse community of families located in the City of Angels. In fact, outside of El Salvador, Korea and Armenia, Los Angeles hosts the largest populations of Salvadoran, Korean, and Armenian people. Helping refugees awaiting asylum is exactly what Los Angeles residents want.

Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell is the Chair of the Homelessness and Poverty Committee and Councilmember Curren D. Price Jr. is the Chair of the Economic Development Committee. Both play a crucial role in finding employment and shelter for Angelenos. Their work in Tijuana is an extension of that privilege and responsibility, especially for those migrants that may find their way to Los Angeles.

February is Black History Month, which inspired this visit’s focus on the most vulnerable minority populations in Tijuana, including Haitian migrants as well as the LGBTTTI (Lesbiana Gay Biisexual Transexual Transgenero Trasvesti Intersexual) community. We delivered food, clothes, and provided medical screenings to shelters supporting these communities. We also brought assistance to Central American migrants awaiting their chance to make a claim for asylum and Mexican citizens experiencing homelessness.

Read on for details and pictures of this incredible, collaborative effort to deliver humanitarian aid and show solidarity with so many communities.

On Sunday, after ensuring we had all the critical items on our shopping lists, our first stop in Tijuana was Costco. There we purchased approximately $1,400 worth of food and supplies for two shelters, including a pizza lunch for Central American migrants and Mexicans experiencing homelessness.

Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell and SALEF Executive Direct Jocelyn Duarte reviewing the shopping list for Instituto Madre Asunta.

Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell and SALEF Executive Direct Jocelyn Duarte reviewing the shopping list for Instituto Madre Asunta.

From Left to Right: The team including Xochilt Sanchez (Organizer, CARECEN), Jasmin Natalie (Academic and Education Program Manager, SALEF), Jocelyn Duarte (Interim Executive Director, SALEF), Stephanie Lemus (Director of Outreach and Organizing, Clínica Monseñor Romero), Professor Celia Simonds (California State University Northridge), Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell, and David Giron (Vice President, SALEF) with Costco food and aid purchase totalling ,400.

From Left to Right: The team including Xochilt Sanchez (Organizer, CARECEN), Jasmin Natalie (Academic and Education Program Manager, SALEF), Jocelyn Duarte (Interim Executive Director, SALEF), Stephanie Lemus (Director of Outreach and Organizing, Clínica Monseñor Romero), Professor Celia Simonds (California State University Northridge), Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, and David Giron (Vice President, SALEF) with Costco food and aid purchase totalling $1,400.

Then we loaded up and headed out to the shelters.

Instituto Madre Asunta

Our first shelter stop on Sunday was Instituto Madre Asunta. This shelter is dedicated to serving women and children in need, many of whom have come from Central America seeking asylum. Our donations to this shelter included supplies specifically for infants and young children.

During our time at Madre Asunta, we reunited with staff from one of our partners, St. John’s Well Child and Family Center. St John’s and Clinica Romero serve as our medical experts, bringing medicine and doctors to Tijuana, including specialty providers for particularly severe or complex medical issues. Both of these organizations offer services to migrants of all backgrounds, treating anyone in need including Mexicans experiencing homelessness.

Delegation members including Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell, SALEF Interim Executive Director Jocelyn Duarte, and SALEF Jasmin Tobar meet with St. John's Well Child & Family Center staff at Instituto Madre Asunta.

Delegation members including Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, SALEF Interim Executive Director Jocelyn Duarte, and SALEF Jasmin Tobar meet with St. John’s Well Child & Family Center staff at Instituto Madre Asunta.

Outside of Instituto Madre Asunta we also delivered pizza for lunch.

La Viña de Tijuana

Next, we visited La Viña de Tijuana and donated food and supplies. This shelter is now about serving approximately 70 people a day.