Katherine Weathers of the Etowah Visitation Project crafts quits for the daughters of a friend deported after four years in detention

Luis Fernando Estela Gomez spent four years in immigration detention in New Jersey and Alabama. He came to the United States 22 years ago on a tourist visa, and stayed. In 2010, he was arrested for selling stolen items, which triggered his deportation process. His appeals to remain in the country failed, and he was deported to Colombia in the fall of 2016.

Katherine Weathers of the Etowah Visitation Project visited and befriended Luis while he was being detained at the Etowah County Detention Center in Alabama.

Etowah Visitation Project. Source: Facebook

Katherine came to know his wife and family, and the strength of his love for his two daughters he was forced to leave behind, Mia, 6, and Antonella, 10. She made these quilts for Mia and Antonella as a symbol of their father’s love.

She says:

“I named this one “Pink for Mia Allegra”. Pink is her favorite color. She is 6 and was born 4 days after Luis was imprisoned. Fortunately I had finished putting the quilt together before we went to Florida and I broke my ankle. Putting the binding on has given me a focus to get me through last few weeks.”

Pink for Mia Allegra

“And this one is ‘Turquoise for Antonella.’ Antonella is 10. Separation from her dad has been wrenching for Antonella.”

Turquoise for Antonella

“Sharing some of the “happy” fabrics I used. My quilter used a hearts and loops motif for the quilting.”

The quilts are a testament to the power of love and friendship in the face of unjust immigration laws and family separation.

Read more about Luis’s story here.