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March for migrant children separated from parents in Tornillo, Texas | Pic: Raphael Ocampo

I Marched For Migrant Children Separated from Parents

March for migrant children separated from parents in Tornillo, Texas | Pic: Raphael Ocampo
March for migrant children separated from parents in Tornillo, Texas | Pic: Raphael Ocampo

Migrant children separated from parents have quietly been detained by the federal government in the sleepy town of Tornillo, Tex. 30 miles east of El Paso. In weeks leading up to Father’s Day, a sprawling compound of tents was built in the border crossing. With nothing around the town but desert, kids can be seen walking single file throughout the camp… at times playing soccer. The children held here come from various Latin American countries. Their parents seeking escape from violence, poverty and corruption. Many times, so desperate for a better life that they trekked thousands of miles for refuge. Sometimes, aslylum. There is no word from the administration on conditions from the tent city, where temperatures typically climb over 100 degrees in the summer.

Zero Tolerance Policy

Just as quickly as the facility was built, Congressmen Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso) called for a march. The objective of the gathering was to protest the “zero tolerance” immigration policy from the Trump Administration, enforced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. This directive from the administration is widely credited with migrant children separated from parents over the span of almost two months.

Protestors hold homemade signs against "zero tolerance" policy | Pic: Raphael Ocampo
Protestors hold homemade signs against “zero tolerance” policy | Pic: Raphael Ocampo

Among other things, the policy moved the cases of undocumented immigrants from civil courts, where families remained together, to criminal courts. Federal law disallows accused from remaining with family in the criminal system. President Trump stated time and time again that it was not his policy, blaming Democrats instead. His executive order to reverse the policy – after public outcry from both Democrats and Republicans alike – discredited his previous claims.

Migrant Children Separated from Parents Yet to be Reunited

Live from the Tornillo Protest

Congressman Beto O'Rourke (D-Tex.) leads a march for migrant children separated from families at the border crossing | Pic: Raphael Ocampo
Congressman Beto O’Rourke (D-Tex.)

I was in my hometown of El Paso visiting for Father’s Day weekend, which coincided with the Tornillo protest. The timing was a great opportunity to march for the reunification and end of the migrant children separated from parents. I dragged my sister out with me to Tornillo for the gathering, driving 30 minutes from the home where I grew up.

Once there, we joined hundreds of people with homemade signs – both angry and upset at the lack of compassion. All walks of life were there though the make-up of the crowd was mostly Latino and Caucasian people of all ages. Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.) spoke alongside Beto O’Rourke to the crowd of hundreds. At one point, the crowd erupted in song of John Lennon’s “Imagine.” I hope the children in the camp just a few hundred feet away could hear us singing, clapping and supporting them.

You could feel the love in the group. Eye contact with fellow marchers met with smiles, hiding the pain and empathy behind the movement. People were happy to share their signs for photographs. Though Trump was a common target, ICE was not far behind.

Protestors pour through the Tornillo border crossing, close to tent city housing children | Pic: Raphael Ocampo
Protestors pour through the Tornillo border crossing, close to tent city housing children | Pic: Raphael Ocampo

Protests continue around the United States, with many taking place over this last weekend in June. The protests took place in large border cities like El Paso, as well as Los Angeles, New York City, D.C. and more. In total, organizers anticipated more than 700 protests, in all 50 states and even internationally.

"We are better than this" reads a sign at the Tornillo march for the migrant children separated from family
“We are better than this” reads a sign at the Tornillo march for the migrant children separated from family

How to Help

Feelings differ on how to handle immigrants leaving violent, corrupt countries behind in hopes of a better life. The masses gathered for the rallies agreed that family unity is a human right. If you want to help, call your congressman. Make a difference. Donate money to the legal services fighting for human rights at our border. Talk to your children about what is going on. I can’t imagine what those children are going through. I hug my children extra tight each night fortunate that they aren’t separated from us.

March for Children Separated from Family in Tornillo, Texas #migrantchildren #immigrants
March for Children Separated from Family in Tornillo, Texas #migrantchildren #immigrants

If you’d like to help, try one of these organizations. Share your passion or start a blog about what you are passionate about.

The Mighty Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth

Thor: Ragnarok – Watch the Trailer

The new Thor: Ragnarok trailer is out from Marvel Studios. The burning question is who’s your money on? Thor or the Incredible Hulk? And more importantly, how badly do you want to watch the mighty Thor take on the Hulk – gladiator style! Hulk actually has some speaking scenes in Thor: Ragnarok. Am I the only one to find that unusual since he really hasn’t spoken in the previous appearances.

The trailer (as seen below) looks a bit darker from the previous movies, if you can imagine that. There just seems to be more destruction. One scene piques my interest where Thor is lit up, like if he has a special power that we haven’t seen before. What do you think that’s about?

The Mighty Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth in Thor: Ragnarok | Image: Disney
The Mighty Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth in Thor: Ragnarok | Image: Disney

In Marvel Studios’ THOR: RAGNAROK, Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe without his mighty hammer and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok—the destruction of his homeworld and the end of Asgardian civilization—at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela. But first he must survive a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits him against his former ally and fellow Avenger—the Incredible Hulk! THOR: RAGNAROK is directed by Taika Waititi and returns Chris Hemsworth starring as Thor and Tom Hiddleston reprising his role as Loki. Joining the cast is Cate Blanchett, Academy Award winner, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson and Karl Urban, with Mark Ruffalo and Anthony Hopkins.

…and as always, don’t be *that guy* that leaves when the movie is over. There is always mid/post credit scenes that half of the audience misses.

I can’t wait to watch this one.

Thor: Ragnarok Trailer

Thor: Ragnarok trailer is out along with his villain brother Loki is back | Image: Disney
Thor: Ragnarok trailer is out. Thor’s back along with his villain brother Loki. | Image: Disney
Power Wash Pool Deck Like a Pro | Photo: R. Ocampo

Power Wash Pool Deck, Time to Check Off To-Do Item

Is your pool deck looking sad? It’s probably time to stop procrastinating and check off that honey-do list item: power wash pool deck. Like I tell my wife, if I said I would do it, I will. She doesn’t have to remind me every 6 months!

Power Wash Your Pool Deck Like a Pro
Power Wash Your Pool Deck Like a Pro – Tips, Essentials and DIY Video

Worst Part of Power Washing Pool Deck?

Moving the crap, I mean, wonderful deck furniture completely off the deck is the least fun aspect. If you really want a thorough job, moving every piece out onto the grass is the way to go. A clear pool deck will allow you to tackle all surfaces and push the dirt and grime out easier. I recommend getting a friend, or your spouse if he/she is strong as He-Man, to get everything out.

What You’ll Need to Power Wash Pool Deck

Items you need to power wash pool deck | Photo: R. Ocampo
Items you need to power wash pool deck | Photo: R. Ocampo

You’ll need a few items to efficiently carry out your bi-annual chore. The power washer is a given. Note that you don’t need the most powerful washer out there. I use a 1600 PSI one, which is powerful enough. One time, I had it professionally done once and the guys did their best Tim-the-Toolman impression. They brought a super heavy duty one and it removed a lot of the deck paint, exposing any cracks in the deck. Don’t go nuts on the power, save that for your golf swing.

Before you start, make sure you have the following:

Power Wash Pool Deck Like a Pro

If you’re unsure which power washer to buy, try this link from Consumer Reports. It contains useful information if you’re in the market for a power washer. I use mine to wash my car, too.