PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A stripper and a pastor walk into…the beginning of a new friendship forged by their mutual desire to help migrant families affected by ICE raids.
After ICE agents recently arrested hundreds of undocumented immigrants at poultry facilities in Mississippi, sparking an outcry that spread across the US, Dawn “Blu” McCall and Pastor Adam Ericksen got together.
“We are all sinners and we are all saints and we can still help our kids,” McCall told KOIN 6 News, “because those kids are everbody’s kids.”
The unlikely duo, devastated by the ICE raids that affected hundreds of families, found a solution in each other.
“I’m not a Christian. I’m not that kind of weird. I’m a different kind of weird, you know what I mean?” McCall said. “But my kind of weird supports his kind of weird.”
Pastor Ericksen put it a different way.
“We can see God working through a burning bush as with Moses. or we can see God working through strippers,” he said. “And I say ‘Amen’ to that.”
After connecting on Facebook, McCall — who is one of the exotic dancers at Portland’s vegan strip club Casa Diablo — and Pastor Ericksen from the Clackamas United Church of Christ in Milwaukie are working together.
They began talking about the ICE raids in Mississippi. She mentioned her girls wanted to help and they came up with the idea to partner.
Blu, a mom of 5, has led other fundraisers through her organization Team Blue. They’re not asking his congregation to go to the club, and his congregation will donate to the cause at the church.
“I tone it way down for him,” she said. “You’re welcome, pastor.”
“Thank you,” he said.
They use different skill sets to accomplish their goals.
“We are good at hustling our customers for donations,” McCall said. “We made $330 in 7 minutes last Saturday.”
“We are good,” Pastor Ericksen said, “at telling people God loves them and God cares about them.”
All the donations they collect go to the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance. Another friend, Lauren Seeley, is raising funds through the sale of “Our Kid” t-shirts and stickers.
While the stripper and the pastor may have very different approaches, their mission in helping migrant kids is the same.
“We have fun with them and we get a lot of response,” she said.
“We pass around the offering plate,” he said. “My congregation is responding really well to it. They are excited about it. They have the same mission. When you hear Blu talk about her mission with Team Blu, it sounds like church.”
It’s proof that love and faith in humanity is a blessing all its own.
“It’s turned into a giant community building event,” McCall said, “and I think that that is a blessing, to use his kind of words.”
Pastor Ericksen agreed.
“One of our goals in this is to show that people from totally different backgrounds can come together and we hope that will inspire people in different religions, different backgrounds, can come together for a higher purpose.”