Western North Carolina Churches Open Doors and Hearts to Illegal Aliens

Ponkho Bermejo knows a thing or two about privilege.

Growing up in Mexico, he told a gathering of friends at BeLoved Community in Asheville last month, “My mother would have us gather up things we didn’t wear anymore and we would give them to people who needed them, because even though we were poor, we had more than some people. That’s privilege. Here in the United States I can at least speak English, and I have what I need. That’s privilege.”

After arriving in the U.S. as an adult without the requisite papers, Bermejo traveled around the country before coming to Asheville three years ago. He lives at BeLoved and offers his talents as artist, musician and teacher free of charge, getting by on whatever folks donate.

The Rev. Amy Cantrell, co-founder of BeLoved, says her church was the first in the region to offer sanctuary, beginning about four years ago.



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