Things That Matter

Here’s Everything You Need To Know About The Pastor And Stripper Who Have Come Together To Raise Money For Migrant Kids

“I started brainstorming with a stripper on how the church could help,” Rev. Adam Ericksen said in an interview with People Magazine last week. This pastor teamed up with a stripper to “raise awareness and support for the children in Mississippi who were torn apart by the ICE raids from their families.”

This honestly sounds like the setup for a joke and we’re waiting for the punchline.

Instagram / @clackamasucc

There is no punchline because what this pastor and stripper are fighting for is no laughing matter. The two were horrified when in early August almost 700 people were arrested in an ICE raid in Mississippi. Countless children were left without parents to care for them, feed them, and be there for them. Struck by the injustice, Rev. Adam Ericksen and Dawn McCall started the “Our Kids Charity Campaign,” which was designed to raise money for the Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance, or MIRA. The group provides advocacy and support for immigrants — and, by extension, assists children who have been affected by ICE raids.

So how did a pastor meet a stripper in the first place?

Instagram / @clackamasucc

Rev. Ericksen first caught McCall’s attention a few months ago, after he posted a sign outside his church in support of trans rights. Inspired, McCall got in touch with the reverend over Facebook, saying, “I love what you are are doing, keep it up.” Once the news about the raids got out, it was only a matter of time before Rev. Ericksen and McCall were discussing how the mass detentions had impacted on the community and how they could mobilize their resources to help. What they came up with was handmade, G-rated t-shirts to raise money for MIRA, and similar groups.

Rev. Ericksen’s had mixed feelings when they found out he was collaborating with a stripper and her girls.

Instagram / @laurenssseeley

One the one hand, everyone at the Clackamas United Church of Christ in Oregon, Mississippi was supportive of the reverend’s efforts to raise money for the cause. On the other hand, they were less supportive of the fact that Rev. Ericksen decided to partner with McCall and “her girls” to generate funds. “This was not the first thing on my mind when I became a pastor, that I’d be working with strippers,” said Ericksen, in the interview with People Magazine. “You would never expect a stripper and a pastor having the same values … but here it is.”

And in all honesty, strange times call for even stranger measures.

Instagram / @laurenssseeley

Who would have thought that the US government would essentially spearhead a campaign to separate children from their parents? Even the mayor of Jackson, the state’s capital, said that the raids were “dehumanizing and inhumane,” and were designed to “further alienate communities from law enforcement.” It seems only right that anyone and everyone who has the means to take a stand against the separation of children and parents should do so. Even if that means that reverends and dancers from the local vegan stripping joint have to form their own superhero squad to tackle the issue. Under the hashtag #ourkids – of course.

But let’s stop and think for a second about why this is happening in the first place.

Instagram / @clackamasucc

Here’s the thing: ICE and whatever associated departments that are conducting these raids and facilitating child-parent separations are, on the most fundamental level, simply following governmental policy. They’re not the ones who are developing and passing the laws that permit these atrocities to happen.

Yes this story makes for strange headlines but let’s not forget what this is really about: helping children.

Instagram / @teamblupdx 

McCall sums it up beautifully in a recent Insta post: “I would like to thank our LOCAL MEDIA and our FB and IG followers for helping us spread the word about the #OURKIDS fundraising campaign. However, I need to raise my hand to remind everybody to STAY ON MESSAGE. The #OURKIDS campaign is NOT about a pastor and a stripper … the immigrant families and #OURKIDS in Mississippi were attacked by Donald Trump’s sh*tty government with support from his sh*tty constituents. THESE ARE NOT OUR PEOPLE but those are #OURKIDS. The ICE raids had an evil financial and political agenda that ripped these “not white” families apart, traumatizing them forever!”

And on that note: for those of you who are interested in getting your hot little hands on one of the #ourkids t-shirts, you can find them here, on Etsy.

This Study Just Identified The Most Migrant-Friendly Cities In The US And The List Might Surprise You

Things That Matter

This Study Just Identified The Most Migrant-Friendly Cities In The US And The List Might Surprise You

One of the biggest misconceptions that the world has about the United States and its approach to migration, particularly during the Trump administration, is that immigrants are facing rejection everywhere. It is important to explain, however, that federal policies for which the White House and State Departments are responsible sometimes run contrary to what states and even city officials do. 

That is the case of immigrant policies: states like California, for example, have often disagreed with federal authorities in issues such as sanctuary cities. In turn, cities like Chicago, for example, boost and celebrate migration and the multicultural prism that it generates, and run programs that attempt to make new arrivals feel welcome and become a part of the wider community. 

A new study has revealed which cities are most welcoming for migrants, fostering their incorporation into the wider community and encouraging diversity and cultural exchange.

Credit: New American Economy

The study was conducted by New American Economy, a bipartisan research group that is doing work on Immigration Reform. This is the second annual city-index. New American Economy was established by very wealthy corporate executives and mayors including Michael Bloomberg and Rupert Murdoch. The group’s webpage states its aim: “fighting for smart federal, state, and local immigration policies that help grow our economy and create jobs for all Americans”.

The group conducts high-end research and they have found that migrants are very important to the economy (duh! did you need all that research to find that out?).

In their first report they found out that “more than 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or their children – a key takeaway that has shifted perspectives and laid the foundation for better conversations about the role of immigrants in our economy and society”. Yessir! The study took into account cities that met these criteria: “Total population is more than 200,000 people. Foreign-born population is more than 10,000 people. The share of total population that is foreign-born is more than 3.6 percent”. 

Chicago reigns supreme! The jewel of the Midwest.

Credit: Crain’s Chicago Business

As a region, the Midwest was the most accomodating site for new arrivals. So why was Chicago ranked on top? Because it provides a better environment for social, political and economic integration. The city’s mayor Lori Lightfoot was, of course, superhappy, and said in a statement: “We are tremendously proud Chicago has been named the most welcoming city in America for immigrants and refugees. This ranking reflects the passionate and dedicated work of countless public officials and community members across our city who have come together to stand up and fight for the rights of our immigrant and refugee communities, no matter the cost”. Preach!

Let’s not forget that Chicago’s history is full of migratory waves from Greece, Poland, Mexico, Italy… basically people from all over the world have contributed to the economic and social fabric of the city. 

Second place, Chula Vista, California… and the state as a whole is pretty well ranked.

Credit: Port Of San Diego

It is interesting how the border state of California has a total of four cities in the top 10. Common sense could dictate that the states closer to the border would face more challenges when it comes to migration, but the study reveals that California is using its history to develop better programs for integration. The state is in a key geopolitical position: bordering Mexico and the conflicted entry point of Tijuana, but also with a shore in the Pacific Ocean which encourages ties with Asia and Oceania.  Chula Vista got perfect scores for Economic Empowerment, Community, and Inclusivity. Well done! 

A very honorable third spot: Jersey City.

Credit: Jersey Digs

Jersey is sometimes seen as secondary to New York City, but it is the third place, a great win in itself. According to the report: “The city earns high marks for Government Leadership, Inclusivity, and Community, among others. Economic Empowerment and Civic Participation are two areas where the city could improve”. 

4th… San Francisco, California, the entryway for many Asian migrants.

Credit: AARP

San Francisco’s history is tightly linked to migration. This city has attracted multiple groups since the Gold Rush, up to the dotcom era when many young professionals arrived in the city looking for that big breakthrough. According to the report, the city scores great in most areas but is expensive: “The city boasts impressive marks across the board in all policy categories. There is room to improve when it comes to Livability, which takes into things such as cost of living and educational attainment levels”.

Yes, the city is very expensive for anyone… one of the most costly in the world. But those views, though!

A Daughter Bragged About Her Mother Making Sandwiches For The Less Fortunate And Twitter Users Love Her

Culture

A Daughter Bragged About Her Mother Making Sandwiches For The Less Fortunate And Twitter Users Love Her

@guera_trizz / Twitter

A video of a woman passing out sandwiches to the poor in Cancún, Mexico has gone viral, and Twitter has raised over $2,000 to keep her going. Twitter user Beatriz Mages knew her mom made sandwiches to pass out every week, but she had never seen the footage before. Last week, she tweeted the video and captioned it, “My Mom makes HUNDREDS of sandwiches and tortas weekly for the poor where she lives in Mexico and I am just now seeing this footage! I am crying 😭😭 what a good soul 😭.” It has since been viewed by over 2.2 million people and retweeted over 53k times at the time of publication.

Twitter is giving Mama Mages lots of love, and have even raised thousands of dollars to help her keep feeding the hungry line of people that rely on her act of kindness each week.

A long line of folks are seen waiting for their weekly torta, and Mama Mages is passing out smiles to go with them.

Credit: @guera_trizz / Twitter

“Buena!” you hear the folks in the line saying as she starts passing the tortas out. Latino Twitter has come out in full force to bestow all their “Que Dios la bendiga”‘s on this “angelita.”

I’m sorry ma’am. But she is OUR mother now. We are all adopting her and we’re all proud and you’re just gonna have to deal with it,” one user tells Beatriz. 

Someone else asked Beatriz, “Would it be weird if I said I love your mom?” Beatriz’s response? “No, she loves u too.”  😭

The people asked for more angelic content and Beatriz happily obliged.

Credit: @guera_trizz / Twitter

“Look! Seriously amazing,” Beatriz shared along with more photos of her mom making sandwiches, and the line of people cheering for her.

Your mom is proof good kind caring people still exist. Heroes get remembered but legends never die. One day someone will tell their child or grandchild about the kind women who helped feed hundreds of hungry people on her own,” one touched Twitter user replied. 

“Just look at everyone’s faces,” tweeted one Armando.

Credit: @guera_trizz / Twitter

“She is a god,” “She is an angel,” “A Saint,” read the comments pouring in for Mama Mages. Dozens of people started asking Beatriz if there was a way they could help. One person offered her time to help make sandwiches and pass them out next time she was in the area. Most folks asked if there was a GoFundMe they could donate to keep Mama Mages going.

After people asked how they can donate to her mom’s cause, Mages set up a GoFundMe, which raised $2,185 in just five days.

Credit: @guera_trizz / Twitter

“My mom makes hundreds of sandwiches and tortas for the poor In Mexico, she doesn’t have much money her self but she continues to donate to those less fortunate regardless,” Mages writes in the GoFundMe. “She is always donating clothing and other useful items and never asks for help. Please feel free to donate anything so that she can keep on giving.”

In the comments, folks are asking her to create a PayPal account so that they can donate to the cause monthly.

Beatriz also told folks that they can help by staying at her mom’s Airbnb in Cancún.

Credit: Joy / Airbnb

By the way my mom has a beautiful air bnb at her home in Cancun,” tweeted Beatriz. “This is her only source of income and she uses her earnings and donations to give to the poor!” We have a feeling this incredible villa is about to booked by all the buena gente who support the cause because it’s been retweeted hundreds of times. By the looks of Airbnb, it seems like her mom’s name is, in fact, “Joy.”

Joy’s reaction to her new status as Latino Twitter’s New Mom? “That’s cool.”

Credit: @guera_trizz / Twitter

My mom is actually visiting me in the US right now and look at her reaction 😂😂😂 SO PURE,” tweeted Beatriz, alongside a video of her mom. “Ma, you’re famous. What do you think?” she asks her mom. Her mom awkwardly gives a thumbs up, then a peace sign, then another thumbs up and says, “That’s cool.” She’s clearly not in it for the fans, and that makes us love her even more. 

Latino Twitter has sanctified Joy Mages, who shall forever be known as Twitter’s Mom of the Year, or just San Joy. You can donate to her GoFundMe here.

READ: Studies Say Latina Moms Struggle With Pregnancies In Ways That Are Unique To Themselves In Early Stages