Rev. Dr. Dottie Escobedo-Frank made sure the homeless ate pancakes Saturday mornings at CrossRoads United Methodist in Phoenix.
The senior pastor defied city leaders, an Arizona Supreme Court justice and church neighbors, who considered it a zoning violation instead of a praiseworthy service.
More recently, my Aunt Dottie rallied two churches to run The Inn program. The churches temporarily house an average of 500 families released from detention at the United States border with Mexico. They receive a meal, a shower, new clothes and even a phone call to their families living here.
Previously, authorities just dumped them at bus depots.
Aunt Dottie started Southern Arizona Border Care, which relies on a variety of churches to care for migrants.
She calls herself and others like her “heretics and edge-dwellers.” They jump in to the fray when social injustice occurs to do revolutionary work.
“The ones who make change happen are often called troublemakers, rebels, sarcastics and irreverents,” she said.
Known for pushing the boundaries, recently she received a distinguished alumni award from Claremont School of Theology where she earned her master of divinity degree. During her career, she has served as a social worker, an ordained deacon, an elder and district superintendent in the Desert Southwest Conference. Today, she pastors Catalina United Methodist in Tucson, Arizona.
I never knew, growing up on the Mission of the Loving Shepherd in Nogales, Arizona — which my grandparents started in 1965 — that my loving Aunt Dottie would become such a rebel.
She once gave me a turquoise heart with the initial “D," made of a darker blue turquoise. It rests on a bookshelf in my living room. I still look up to her.
I recall my grandpa, the late Louis Escobedo, telling me a story about how Mexican Army Gen. Mariano Escobedo fought in 1867 against Maximilian. The French emperor surrendered his sword to Escobedo. Later, exiled to the United States, Escobedo would lead an uprising against dictator Porfirio Diaz but was taken prisoner in 1878.
Heretics and edge-dwellers. I greatly appreciate them fighting for their beliefs and making the world a better place for everyone.
Duwayne Escobedo covers Santa Rosa County for the Daily News. You can contact him at 850-315-4489 in Fort Walton Beach, on his cell phone at 850-255-1484 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org