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Group of 100 women walking 100 miles to 'inspire' Pope Francis

Posted: 7:52 PM, Sep 18, 2015
Updated: 2015-09-18 23:49:25-04
Group walks 100 miles to 'inspire' Pope Francis

The drive from Pennsylvania to Washington D.C. is long enough, so imagine walking it.

A group of 100 women is making that trip over a period of a week, hoping Pope Francis hears their message when he arrives next week.

"The pope has often been an ally for migrant justice," said Cyndi Hicks, a woman who traveled from Grand Rapids, Michigan for the walk, which started in York, Pennsylvania at a detention center.

On social media, they're using the hashtag #100women100 miles.

Each of them, every step, is for a cause.

"Part of my family is undocumented, and that means they lack the documents to be in the country," Hicks said. 

Hicks' story started when she met her husband, Elmer Chavarria, close to 10 years ago. Thursday night, as she was walking, she said she got a call from her parents letting her know her husband, an undocumented man who left Guatemala nearly 20 years ago, may be sent back to the very place he feared.

"They told me that my husband had been picked up by immigration," said Hicks, a mother of two girls.

Andrea Mercado, Co-Chairperson of the "We Belong Together" Campaign, said all 100 women walking share personal stories about how U.S. immigration policy has affected their life.

"We're all here because we carry different stories about how immigration policies have really been inflicting harm and suffering on our families," Mercado said.

Hicks said she thought of her 6-year-old daughter when she got the call last night.

"I suddenly had to figure out what to do with my daughter. Nobody should ever have to say your government won't let your daddy be here in this country," Hicks said.

"Families belong together."

Saturday, the group will be in Baltimore before making their way to Washington DC on Tuesday where they'll be holding a prayer vigil, they said, because they hope the Pope hears their message.