“They didn’t even know me but they made donations to help me. If I hadn’t received legal help I shutter to think of what may have happened to me and my children. Thank you to everyone who donated to this organization – you saved my life and gave my children hope.”

Lucinda and her husband worked hard to teach their children right from wrong. They refused to do the wrong thing for a quick payout. Gangs threatened the life of her husband, of Lucinda and her children. One night her husband didn’t come home – hours later Lucinda found him lying dead in the street – murdered.

Lucinda knew she and her children would be next. The gangs were sending a message and showing others their power. She had no choice but to leave Honduras. Now a single mother, protecting her children from violence was all up to her. She left in the dark of night carrying a stuffed animal for each child and as much food and water as she could fit in her pack.

During their journey, Lucinda met a man from the United States who was sweet, caring and attentive. He said he loved her and her children and would sponsor residency for all of them. Lucinda felt blessed to have found two hardworking, loving men in one lifetime.

Soon after they were married she realized this man wasn’t as he presented. When she had trouble finding work he pushed her to take very low paying, physically difficult jobs. He didn’t care that she was now pregnant and working around cleaning supplies. Nor did he care that working, caring for their growing family and for him was becoming difficult.

Instead of helping out more, he quit his job and demanded she keep working. He didn’t help at home, ignored the children and spent his days getting high. When he wasn’t yelling at her or physically assaulting her, he ignored her.

Her pregnancy was difficult. She had to deliver their child by C-Section and the doctor advised at least six weeks of healing time before returning to a job that required heavy lifting and exertion. But, her husband didn’t care. He demanded she return to work less than two weeks after the baby was born. She had no choice, she had children to feed and they were behind on the bills already.

One night Lucinda’s husband hurt her so badly the police were called by a neighbor and her husband was arrested. Lucinda knew she had to leave. She had to protect her children. She had no one and was certain she would now be deported because her husband wouldn’t sponsor her immigration application if she left him. How would she protect her children? Would the youngest be given to this monster and she never allowed to see the baby again?

Lucinda put her faith in God and began going to the church to pray. The pastor listened to her nightmare and helped her find shelter for her family and told her free legal services were available thanks to the generosity of others. Lucinda cried. Could people really want to help someone they didn’t know?

After meeting with a San Antonio Regional Justice For Our Neighbors Intake Facilitor, Lucinda cried again. But this time her tears were of amazement. Lucinda learned about the amazing people who are San Antonio Region Justice For Our Neighbors and that the United States government didn’t stand for abuse, against anyone – regardless of their immigration status. She learned about the protections available for her and her children that would allow them to stay in the United States. She was shocked. In Honduras the government didn’t care what happened to women or children – she had seen that first hand.

Lucinda and her children are currently in the process of having their immigration status adjusted through the Violence Against Women Act and are safe at a shelter.