Port Arthur, Texas
Miskitus have lived in Port Arthur, Texas since 1980. The community in Port Arthur is the largest Miskitu community in Texas with a population of 400 to 500 persons. The only Miskitu-language Moravian Church in Texas is located in Port Arthur. The President of the Pro-Moskitia Foundation, Rev. Melesio Peter Espinoza, knows the community intimately, having written his doctoral thesis on Miskitu migration to Port Arthur.
In 2011 Father Melesio, Diana Amelia Gutierrez and Philip Mullins traveled to Port Arthur to visit with the Miskitu community. The photograph was taken in the meeting hall of the Moravian Church of the Good Shepard with the Directors of the Foundation and a group of community members who were interested in the work of the Pro-Moskitia Foundation. In December 2011 Mr. Antonio Menn was nominated by the committee in Port Arthur to sit on the Board of Directors of the Pro-Moskitia Foundation.
Jayme and Gloria Lewis live in Port Arthur and carry out fundraising activities to support the Pro-Moskitia Foundation.
The community met with Pro-Moskitia Foundation in the parish hall
Activities in Port Arthur
2011 Education and Cultural training for Miskitu children
The children of the community were invited to attend a class dealing with Miskitu language and culture taught by a Director of the Foundation. Certificates and prizes were awarded to the participants and winners in a contest to test the children's knowledge about their language and culture.
Contest participants and their mothers
Pro-Moskitia Foundation helped some Miskito immigrants who were detained by ICE and could not speak English. Antonio Menn served as a translator in several of these cases. After President Obama implemented the DACA program, the Foundation arranged for an immigration lawyer to travel to Port Arthur to help young immigrants complete the application for DACA.
2014 Publication of Miskitu dictionary
A network of Miskitus living in Port Arthur and Miami and the Pro-Moskitia Foundation helped to finance the publication of the Miskitu language dictionary, Diccionario Yu Raya Miskitu-Espanol, Espanol-Miskitu published by a committee headed by Bishop John Wilson of Miami, Florida.
2017 Affected by Huracan Harvey
Huracan Harvey made landfall in Texas in August 2017. Because of its location on the Gulf of Mexico, Port Arthur was severely damaged and was underwater for several weeks. The homes of more than twenty Miskitu families were damaged and the Moravian church was about 80% destroyed. The community organized to rebuild the damaged homes and the church. The President of the Foundation, Melesio Peter, traveled to Port Arthur to help with the reconstruction. A group of Moravian missionaries from Wisconsin and other volunteers helped to reconstruct the damaged buildings.
Michael y Zuniga, Miskitos migrantes trabajando en la recostuccion de su iglesia.
Padre Melesio Presidente de Pro-Moskitia colaborando en la reconstruccion de la iglesia.
Voluntarios solidarios apoyando la reconstruccion.
Melesio ayudando en la reparacion de la casa de Virginia Muller.
2020 COVID-19 and Port Arthur
The City of Port Arthur and Jefferson County are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Although there have been no reported cases among the Miskitu population, the virus has affected the community. Many places of employment were shut completely, and others had their hours of work reduced. This affected the local community.
Women who work in nursing homes were also affected. Those who were eligible for unemployment benefits helped those who did not qualify for unemployment benefits. The Pro-Moskitia Foundation is monitoring the situation and urging people to follow social distancing rules. Despite the economic crisis caused by COVID-19 in their own community, the Miskitos of Port Arthur have provided help to their brothers living in Panama and Honduras.