by Rev. Joyce Myers-Brown
Central Congregational UCC in Atlanta has taken on the challenge of addressing the injustices and suffering related to the current U.S. immigration policy. Recently they gave a $1,500 grant from Central’s Endowment Fund to help buy supplies for the Atlanta Transit Angels.
The ATA — or Overground Railroad or Grannies Respond as they are known in other cities — is a group of volunteers who daily meet asylum seekers coming from the Southern border as they change buses in Atlanta. The “Angels” provide a warm welcome, Spanish translation services, food, water, toiletries, diapers, toys, etc. Most of all they provide a level of comfort, hope, love, and community, easing some of the sufferings of the migrants’ uprooting and long journey.
Central member Rev. Joyce Myers-Brown is active with ATA and has helped organize her Practical Theology Sunday School class to pack food kits, 100 every few weeks, for the refugees.
A testimonial from the co-chair of ATA:
I just came home after meeting 3 buses, and as I got in my car to leave I confess I had to sit there quietly for a long minute to collect myself. At Tornado the buses are there a little longer than at Omnibus and there is time to pass out the extras we like to provide, such as toys and sanitary napkins. I finished and counted the people served and in those moments I imagined I had a glimpse into their hard journey. And I thought I might have been that little girl with tangled hair, that man with a strong build but slumped shoulders, that mother with a coughing child.
When I leave I always say goodbye, good luck, and welcome to the United States. I say I am here representing the people of Atlanta and we all collectively wish them a good journey. Their faces change from dull and beaten to smiles all around. Everyone waves and says goodbye. Maybe that’s what got to me when I got in my car to leave? The sudden smiles on their faces after such a hard journey?
I don’t know. I do know I have been deeply ashamed of my country before, and I am now. But never of its people. The people are GA WAND, Central Congregational UCC, our many supporters, our team members and countless others. We are a real country.
The Atlanta Transit Angels have served 7,000 to 8,000 migrant amigos since September 2018 and is now meeting buses daily at Greyhound, Tornado, and Omnibus. We pray and work for a new day when folks desperately seeking asylum will again be welcomed in the land of the Statue of Liberty.