Dear Casa San José Amigos,
Welcome back to our email newsletter!
We need a few volunteers to help with a “Build-a-Bike” event for 10 of our youth ages 8-10 on Thursday, June 21 at Heinz Field. We need 2 people to accompany the kids on the bus as well as help out at the event: arriving at the Casa office at 2116 Broadway at 11:40 a.m. and returning there at around 6 p.m. We also need several more people to come to Heinz field to help with the activities, which will be a tour of Heinz field and building a bike from donated parts. Volunteers will need clearances to work with children (which are easy and fast to get online.) We are working with ARYSE and the United Way to do this. For some of our youth this will be their first time riding a bike, for most this will be their first time getting a bike of their own! If you want to go on the bus, please contact Katie at email@example.com. If you want to go directly to Heinz Field, contact firstname.lastname@example.org at ARYSE for directions.
Your response to our call for people to attend Community Resistance Zone training was amazing – thank you!! We had 35 attendees, including both Latino community members and allies. Everyone learned about immigrant rights, ways to support neighbors in the face of ICE raids and racial profiling, and shared stories and knowledge. It was so successful that we are having another training at the end of August, so we are looking for more participants! Stay tuned for the date, and for more information, please contact Monica at email@example.com. This will be one of our most important and impactful programs this year.
Help stop the terrible separations of parents and children. On Friday, Senator Dianne Feinstein along with other Senate Democrats announced legislation to prevent authorities from separating children from their parents at the border. A good Father’s Day action would be to call your legislators and ask them to support the Keep Families Together Act.
Campamento Sonrisa has begun! For three weeks, Casa is providing a summer camp experience in the city, the only affordable program for Spanish-English bilingual students in Pittsburgh. We have 4 youth counselors to lead our 17 wonderful students, ages 7-14, through an awesome list of activities, including Moraine State Park, Kennywood, Phipps Conservatory, the Mattress Factory, Frick Park, swimming, golf, volleyball, soccer, art projects, a talent show, and more!
Last summer we told the story of Bartolo, Monica’s foster son (see photo and narration below.) Today we congratulate him on his graduation from Hill House Passport Academy high school!
(From our newsletter, August 24, 2017) “A week ago, Sarah, a Casa volunteer, took Bartolo to pick up his green card! It has been an amazing journey. It began when a boy of 16 left Guatemala alone, fleeing poverty and violence. He traveled for months, crossing deserts, and finally ended up in Pittsburgh working 12-hour days for less than minimum wage in order to send money home to his family in Guatemala. Malnourished and living on a mattress in a basement, he ended up hospitalized with a nearly fatal disease. Miraculously, sensitive judges, health workers, and Casa San José staff (Monica became his foster mother) came together to get him to recover and also achieve the legal status he needed to move toward his eligibility for a green card, the only way to ultimately become a citizen.” Bartolo’s earlier story received national coverage on the radio program, PRI’s The World. Read or listen to it here.
And in our own SEEN column today, here are volunteers Dan and Daniel, who brought their tools and excellent carpentry skills to make our new legal program office private and confidential for our clients.
Our Story, continued:
Last Sunday, University of Pittsburgh students in the psychology class “Children’s experiences of war and trauma”, taught by Dr. Robert Gallen and Dr. Jennifer Willford, came to meet and listen to some of Casa San Jose’s families. Sister Janice spoke to them about the work that Casa does. The students brought snacks and beverages for all to share and came prepared with wonderful activities for the kids.
Here’s what they heard about: one Guatemalan child and one Mexican child had crossed the border with their parents. The Mexican girl was separated from her mother at the border, and her mother was deported; the child is waiting for arrangements to be deported too so they can be reunited. One boy came here with a father who neglected him, and now is becoming a foster child in the U.S. Two brothers have very different situations: one was born a U.S. citizen and has benefits such as health insurance, while the other is undocumented and receives none, and is in greater danger. The father in another family was deported and they miss him terribly. In yet another family, the father is a single dad of kids who are U.S. citizens. He is afraid that he may be deported and his kids could be placed in foster homes. All of the families told the students how scared they are of being separated.
The latest on DACA: “House immigration bill, pitched as compromise, tilts to a harder line”, Thomas Kaplan and Sheryl Gay Stolberg, New York Times, June 14.
“For Women, Decision by Sessions Puts Asylum Dreams Out of Reach”, Liz Robbins, New York Times, June 12.
“All the ways Trump is cutting legal immigration” Alan Gomez, USA Today, June 12.
“ICE came for a Tennessee town’s immigrants. The town fought back”, Miriam Jordan, New York Times, June 11.
“‘Mothers could not stop crying”: Lawmaker blasts Trump policy after visiting detained immigrants”, Amy Wang, Washington Post, June 10.
“Chicago immigration advocates travel through Pittsburgh, request federal support for DACA”, Ryan Deto, City Paper, May 26. This group of 30 from the Faith Life and Hope Mission church is walking 800 miles for “dignity & respect for human lives” and stopped at Casa on the way.