Some photos are jumbled in the version of posts sent to “followers”. When that happens, you can see everything as we intend it by visiting rideforhumanrights.com . While there, you can check on our progress (so far this year we have pedaled 312 miles in 8 days on the road in CA, IN, KY, & TN); and if you want, donate to Human Rights First.
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Here’s a peek into the concrete “wigwam” where we spent last night.
As ever, too much happens for us to share more than a bit of our adventures. Today we share this church name . . . just because.
Midmorning, passing through Bowling Green, we were caught in a thunderstorm. Jeffrey spotted Ms. Vivian putting a letter in her mailbox. He asked if we could wait out the storm on her porch. She said yes, and returned inside.
Jeffrey loves porches in storms. This porch even had a metal roof so he could enjoy the sound of the rain. I stayed in my waterproof bag.
Perhaps 20 minutes later, Ms. Vivian returned. Jeffrey thanked her for her kindness. She said we were welcome, declined to be photographed, and said that her husband soon would come home so we had to leave. She directed us to a large, full-service outpatient clinic nearby, where there was an awning to cover our bike and a lobby where Jeffrey could sit.
John is on the clinic staff. He helps patients coming and going.
John told Jeffrey about the changes he has seen in Bowling Green since moving there at age 13. The community and the economy have become far more sophisticated. Medical care is superb. While he and Jeffrey talked, two women dressed in brilliant flowing African robes entered the facility. The world has come to Bowling Green, and Bowling Green is ready.
When the downpour stopped, we proceeded south.
In a residential area, Bernard called out to us. After Jeffrey explained the Ride, and how in life and death asylum cases, the applicant can have a lawyer only “at no expense to the government”, Bernard (who declined to be photographed) blamed the current president for not setting this right. Bernard said his mother, Juanita, should hear what Jeffrey had to say.
In Franklin, KY, we spotted our first Confederate flag of the trip.
See the small soldier statues at the base of the flagpole?
This being a historic site, the flag is not entirely out of place. Still, as a symbol of treason and racism, it jolts and offends.
More than 60 miles into today’s Ride, we finished traversing Kentucky, from north to south, at a spot unmarked by signs. The tipoff (confirmed by our electronic map) was the change from fine Kentucky pavement to downright awful Tennessee asphalt.
Portland motel proprietress Jigna emigrated from India with her parents at age 13.
After she learned our mission, Jigna told Jeffrey that when she, as owner, enforces house rules, some local people tell her to go back to “her country”. Jigna is a loyal and grateful American who works hard (a motel requires 24/7 attention), pays taxes, and spends money that keeps her neighbors in business. She tells her critics that their families, too, came from abroad.
We travel a few weeks each year to talk to people about immigration and asylum. By living where she does, being the good American that she is, Jigna’s actions speak louder than our words.
Tomorrow I’m meeting up with a young woman who has been living here in CA due to DACA. She was brought here as a toddler and is now 20 and attends community college on her way to attending the state university if all goes well. When I first met her, I was so impressed by her personality and her journey that I decided I need to help her by paying her DACA renewal fee (one immigrant to another, paying it forward), which is pricey. She may not know for six more months if her application will be approved, such is the condition the DACA kids live under. Fingers crossed that she will make it. Thank you for inspiring me to do this.
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Another amazing day on the road.