News for Amigos de Casa San Jose: May, 2022

Don’t wait to buy your tickets to Fiesta del Sol on June 17 at the Circuit Center, IBEW Hall on the South Side. The last day to purchase tickets is June 7 (No tickets will be sold at the door).Please join us for a fun night of dance, Latin American food catered by the Fluted Mushroom, a basket raffle, and music by the Diamante Trio with Lilly Abreau. Proceeds benefit the work of Casa San Jose to support Pittsburgh’s Latino community.

Join the party !
(Link not available anymore as Fiesta del Sol 2022 is over)

Remember: Tickets for our basket raffle will go on sale starting June 1st!
Don’t miss your chance to win fantastic prizes.
Calling All Cookie Bakers!

We are looking for cookie bakers for our Fiesta del Sol cookie table. If you can contribute four dozen or more of your best home-baked cookies, please contact Roye Werner at roye@casasanjose.org.
Maura along with her children at Mount Washington.
Help During a Hard Time

In 2001, Maura emigrated from Mexico to the U.S. looking for better job opportunities. She later arrived in Pittsburgh where she met her husband and the father of her three children. After she separated from her husband last year,Maura contacted Casa San Jose for help in finding a family therapist for her son who had been shot in the back. She returned to Casa with her children for flu shots and received assistance with groceries.Casa’s Emergency Case Worker, Dora Tenjo, also assisted Maura in filing for child support, accompanied her to a hearing, and connected her to legal guidance. With the support of Casa San Jose, Maura continues to take steps to improve her life for herself and her children.

Osman from Nicaragua, 28th Fondo Solidario recipient. 
Casa’s Fondo Solidario of Pittsburgh marked a milestone recently, providing $124,000 in interest-free loans to 31 community members for their release from detention. Osman, who is originally from Nicaragua, was the first person helped by Fondo Solidario to be released from the Moshannon Valley Processing Center. He provided important information about his experience which helped Casa better support others as they leave detention.While loan recipients like Osman make monthly payments to repay their loans, they are not asked to pay more than they can manage. As we anticipate an increase in the number of community members who need assistance with bond payments (even though they are arriving in the US to seek asylum legally), more funds are needed. If you’d like to help, please consider making a donation to Fondo Solidario by clicking here.  
José Ochoa, Casa San Jose Youth Services Specialist, along with Latino students from Concord Elementary School on the last day of Casita Mentorship Program. 
Casita Impacts Latino Students

Casita, our mentorship program at Moon Area High School and Cornell Elementary, has come to an end for the school year as summer approaches. Teresa Parra and José Ochoa, Casa’s Youth Specialists, helped Latino youth develop leadership and problem-solving skills through creative games and activities. Thanks to all the participating students for giving us the opportunity to meet them and build community together. 
Laura Perkins, Emergency Response Organizer, giving an explanation about the recent closure of the Pittsburgh Immigration Court to Latino community members in Beechview. 
Pittsburgh Immigration Court Closing Update 

Casa San Jose hosted an informational meeting on May 15 about the closure of the Pittsburgh immigration court. The closing will result in immigrant residents having to travel to Philadelphia for in-person court appearances.  More than 20 community members were in attendance where they heard about efforts to reverse the decision and best practices for attending court remotely through the WebEx app.Watch KDKA-TV’s news story featuring Laura Perkins, Emergency Response Organizer, here.
Latino families at Casa San Jose’s community meeting on May 15, 2022. 
Community Member Meeting

More than 20 community members attended Casa’s community meeting about the rights of immigrant tenants on May 15 at St. Teresa of Kolkata Church. Featured speaker, Rafael Bullones, a paralegal and outreach specialist at Community Justice Project, discussed how tenants can handle potential conflicts with building owners.
Shayla, from Mexico, reading a poem of her own in tribute to immigrant female workers.  
May Day March  

Our staff and community members participated in the International Workers Day March on May 1 at the Sixth Presbyterian Church, in support of immigrant workers and all laborers. Organized by Casa San Jose, the Thomas Merton Center, APALA  and LCLAA, the event featured performances by Timbeleza and the May Day Marching Band. One of Casa’s young community members, Shayla (17 years old), wrote a poem in tribute to immigrant women (excerpt below):“I don’t know what it means to be a girl as society describes it. But I know what she turns into —a woman. What is a woman? A woman is a person who works. We don’t have the opportunities like others have. Imagine being alone in a country you were not born in, having three children and not having your family by your side. Having many rejections when applying to jobs because they don’t want to accept you because of your gender or because of your race. Or that the color of your skin is just a little darker. That your accent is not as clear as theirs. We walk through walls. We strive to be the best mothers in the world. The best partners. Because at home, they are waiting for you to be the best version of what they (parents) were. So that you don’t live in the same conditions. So that you don’t suffer from the same mistakes. For you to push yourself further to survive. See, if this is not a woman who works, tell me what a woman is.”

In this video, Maricela and Federico speak about what a driver’s license means to them. Click the image to listen to their testimony. 

Driving Forward PA, a coalition to make driver’s licenses accessible for all eligible Pennsylvania residents regardless of immigration status, began a six-week digital campaign. Starting on Mother’s Day and ending on Father’s Day, community members are sharing personal messages on social media about the hardships of not having a driver’s license. Listen to more testimonies here.

From left, Mary Lewis (Casa San Jose intern), William Reeves (Casa San Jose Community Policy Organizer), Monse (Community Member from Washington County), Sofia Cordoba (Casa San Jose intern), and Republican State Representative, Tim O’Neal. 

Casa’s Community Policy Organizer, Billy Reeves, along with Casa San Jose interns and a community member from Washington County, recently met with Republican State Representative Tim O’Neal, 48th District, to discuss driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants. For more information on how to support this effort, contact Billy at billy@casasanjose.org.

Genelle Jenkins joins Casa San Jose’s staff as the Youth Community Organizer. Genelle began volunteering for Casa when she was 14 years old and has been an advocate for Latino and immigration rights. Among her many accomplishments, Genelle is one of the original founders of the F.L.Y. leadership youth program and the Pittsburgh Council for Change. She is currently pursuing a degree in Biomedical Informatics at Arizona State University. Learn more about Genelle, here

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