SAN DIEGO, September 17, 2014 – Small business owner Mark Lane, after being harassed by anti-immigrant activists including having his family threatened with death, is fighting back. Lane was invited by "Sabado Gigante", the longest-running television variety series in television history, as part of their special program supporting children refugees. Lane recently announced the creation of "Poppa's House" establishing a fund to support American families who host refugee children. An estimated 70-90,000 children from Central American countries are expected to arrive at the U.S.-Mexican border to request asylum creating an unprecedented need for qualified host families.
Lane and his family are literally on the front lines of the Central America humanitarian crisis having volunteered themselves to host an entire family. He realized that there are thousands of American families hosting refugee families. Appreciating that the added food and travel expenses of hosting a family can be burdensome, Inspired, Lane dreamed of Poppa’s House - a way for American families hosting child asylum seekers to be reimbursed for the added expenses.
“I've said, ‘we can’t dehumanize people just because they lost the birth lottery.’ Thousands of American families are hosting asylum-seeking kids on their own time and their own dime. These families are shields against the hate and they need and deserve our support,” asserts Lane. Having experienced the hatred against refugees first-hand, Lane empathizes deeply with thousands of Americans who, like his own family, are also on America's front lines by volunteering to host asylum-seeking families. These families understand intimately the horrific violence and desperation experienced by the refugees.
The refugees Lane's family is hosting has been utterly terrorized. Their daughter was gang-raped to coerce her brothers to pledge their allegiance to the gang who would then force them to rape other recruit's sisters in an unending downward spiral of violence. They lost every possession they had short of the clothes on their backs traveling. “I’m a father first. Being harassed and threatened – I’m still getting harassed - only increases my resolve to stand up for these refugee kids, these women, these families. So, I'm asking for America's support of Poppa's House."
Poppa’s House is a way to say “no” to the hate and contribute directly to a humane solution to an international humanitarian crisis. Poppa’s House supports the Americans who are providing refugees a sanctuary in their own homes by providing direct financial support to offset their added expenses. The name is derived from Lane’s restaurant, Poppa’s Fresh Fish.
A San Diego native, Lane speaks fluent Spanish and built a retail fish business in a mostly Hispanic community. Watching the local TV news stories about the anti-immigrant protesters in Murrieta, California confronting U.S. Border Patrol buses carrying refugee families from Central America, his five-year-old son asked him why people were yelling at the buses. His son’s question moved him to act and co-founded a “Boycott Murrieta” Facebook page. As a result, he began seeing menacing and disparaging comments in social media about him and receiving threats over the phone. Lane would have remained anonymous had it not been for anti-immigrant zealots starting a online boycott of his fish business. News media picked up on the drama unfolding and began interviewing him as part of a larger story about what should be done about the tens-of-thousands of unaccompanied minors from Central America making their way to the U.S. border. While the media attention has largely evaporated, thousands of American remain on the front lines of this Shakespearean struggle for justice, peace and freedom.
While Lane is only one voice in a much larger debate, he is not alone. High profile personalities from all sides of the political spectrum have weighed in on behalf of treating the unaccompanied minors with dignity. Texan Willie Nelson stated, “take them in, give them some medical attention. I'm sure there are homes all over the country that would be glad to take care of one or two kids.” Like Lane, controversial television personality Glenn Beck, is quoted as "getting violent emails from people who say I've 'betrayed the Republic,’'" after announcing he would take trucks full of food, clothing and kid’s toys to the border to donate. Actress Eva Longoria, who was raised in Texas where the vast majority of children are crossing, stated “these children are running for their lives, and they believe that the United States will protect them. And ‘will we?’ is the question, and I don’t know.”
Lane knows. Poppa’s House is his vision of how. “We can’t allow the hate to overwhelm us. We must treat these children, these families, like we would want to be treated. Poppa’s House is and an All-American solution to a global problem. To step up and do the right thing – to protect women and children terrorized and looking for protection. Poppa’s House will be their shield.”
Those who would like to donate to Poppas House can do so here: http://www.gofundme.com/emrmhg
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