A group of women in New York didn't know each other beyond Facebook just a couple of months ago. They say what brought them together was a shared feeling of anger and heartbreak.
"I never thought I would have to think about my kids being taken from me, every hour of every day. Never thought I'd have to think about it," said Sara Farrington, one of our New Yorkers of the Week.
Farrington is referring to the Trump administration's "zero-tolerance policy," a vow to prosecute all immigrants crossing the border illegally. The policy translated into thousands of children being separated from their parents. Mothers and fathers were detained, their kids held separately, and eventually sent to foster homes, often across the country.
"I crumpled when I think about that," Farrington said. "Just talking about it now, I crumple."
That feeling was the same for Julie Schwietert Collazo. So, she sprang into action and created Immigrant Families Together, a grassroots effort formed by moms to reunite separated families.
Schwietert Collazo reached out to friends, eventually raising enough money to post bond for one Guatemalan mother detained in Arizona.
- A Mother's Journey: Following a woman's journey after her release from an immigration detention center in Arizona as she attempts to return to her children in New York City
"We all wake up and make the choice to either duck back under the covers and try to avoid it all, or to ask ourselves over and over again, often fruitlessly, 'What can I personally do about whatever the horrible issue of the day is?'" said Schwietert Collazo, one of our New Yorkers of the Week.
From there, she continued connecting with others on social media. The group has raised more than a half a million dollars since June. That money has paid for 20 bonds, food, clean clothes, legal support, and transportation.
"I'd like to think that if I were in this situation of any of these mothers or children, that my country or any country would do the same for me," said Zoë Van Tieghem, one of our New Yorkers of the Week.
Something that started with just a click of a button has turned into a life-changing experience, not only for these once-separated families but also these New Yorkers.
"This is from one of my moms, she's in New Jersey," Farrington said, reading a text message. "'I want to thank you of everything you have done to me and thank you of everything you gave me for my son.'"
So for giving strength and support, from one mom to another, the members of Immigrant Families Together are our New Yorkers of the Week.