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News for Amigos de Casa San Jose: July 7, 2020

Dear Amigos de Casa San José,
Welcome back to our email newsletter!

How you can take action:

There aremany ways to communicate about the situation of immigrants and other targeted communities. It’s important to use words that express positivity and shared humanity and not imply blame or victimhood, which we can do without realizing it.  The Immigrant Defense Project gives some good suggestions here.

Attend Black Lives Matter Protests. None of us are free until all of us are free. There is a weekly protest organized by Black, Young, and Educated (BYE) every Saturday at 3pm at Market Square. 

How you can help:

The PA Dept. of Health is looking for bilingual volunteers to do contact tracing, which will be essential to the fight against COVID-19 and the health of not only the Latino community, but everyone in the state.  Information on how to apply and what is involved is here.

News on what we’re doing:

We are excited that our Virtual Campamento Sonrisa has started! This year we are running an online summer camp for more than 50 Latinx children between the ages of 7 and 13. They are enjoying fun activities in science, architecture, painting, crafts and Spanish grammar, with help from Assemble (a community space for arts and technology) and other partners.
Thanks to generous donors on GivingTuesday, we provided these families with laptops and access to the Internet. We are also delivering materials supporting the activities and gift cards from Aldi, so families can meet some of their food needs. A big thank you to all of our partners helping our kids continue learning and having fun with other kids during this time.

We are continuing to distribute cash financial assistance to Latino families who are not eligible for government benefits to alleviate the impact of the pandemic.  We are working with the Welcoming Pittsburgh Cash Assistance Program with funds from the Open Society Foundations.  This allowed us to expand our coverage in Allegheny, Washington, Butler and Beaver counties.

“Tardes con Casa” on Facebook Live!  Every Tuesday at 4:30 you can join us in a live virtual conversation in Spanish explaining the services and programs that Casa San Jose is offering during COVID-19, and answering all the questions that our community wants to ask us. Last week it starred our Community Organizer Veronica, speaking with our director Monica and our founder Sister Janice. It’s lively and informative, and you can see it here – or come to our Facebook page any Tuesday!

We are continuing to distribute fresh food to Latinx families in the Beechview, East Liberty, Wexford, and Cranberry areas.  Thanks to a strategic alliance with Monteverde’s Produce, we have already delivered more than 400 boxes of fresh produce in just five weeks.  We also gave out a donation of 200 fresh salads from Dr. Rahmon Hart and allies.  And we give a special thank you to our wonderful group of volunteers who are in charge of collecting and delivering the boxes to these families. 

Welcome to our summer interns!  Clockwise, they are:  Teresa Andersen, Stephanie Christian, Raven Hilfiker, and Elizabeth Rodriguez.  We are excited to make use of their terrific energy and skills.  See their bios here.

Some more things we’ve been doing:

Our Story, Continued:

Angela Méndez-Trivino, our Communications and Community Relations Specialist and social media genius, has just moved back to Colombia this month, and we will miss her greatly, but she’s going on to some excellent work. She will be the Communications Associate for the UN Agency for Refugees in their regional office at the border of Colombia and Venezuela.  She also made a connection there for Pittsburgh orthopedist Dr. Mark Baratz (who provided hundreds of meals for Casa’s community through his Double Play initiative), to bring his Touching Hands mission, which provides hand and arm surgeries to people in need, to Venezuelan refugees in Colombia next year.

learn more:

Watch COVID-19: the Effect on LatinX and Immigrants” , a Pitt Public Health Seminar held on June 19, with Casa Board Chair and Pitt professor Patricia Documet, Casa’s Executive Director Monica Ruiz, and LCLAA President Guillermo Perez.

“Monumental victory for DACA recipients before Supreme Court”, National Immigration Law Center, June 18.  “he Court’s decision to overturn the Trump administration’s termination of DACA is a monumental victory for nearly 700,000 DACA recipients, who can now continue to safely live, work, and study in the United States. Today’s decision also returns DACA to its initial form and reopens the DACA program to new applicants.”

Court rules ICE must release children at Berks Residential Center, but advocates are concerned”, Alanna Elder, WESA, July 1.

“Judge overturns Trump border rule requiring immigrants to first claim asylum in another country”; Dennis Romero and Julia Ainsley, NBC News, July 1.  “The rule has essentially forced asylum-seeking migrants from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador to first seek it from Mexico before asking the United States for help. ‘This decision invalidates Trump’s ‘asylum ban’ at the southern border’ “

Americans want more, not less, immigration for the first time,” Mohamed Younis, Gallup Poll Social Series, July 1.

Supreme Court denies asylum seekers the right to appeal deportation ruling,” J.D. Long-Garcia, America Magazine, June 25.

Thank you for joining us, and stay safe and strong.

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