Northern & Central Louisiana Interfaith organizer Lady Carlson teaches "Organizing 101" to potential institutional leaders in Northern Louisiana.
85 Spanish-speaking leaders from twelve immigrant Catholic parishes participated in a three-day leadership development training to prepare to engage fellow parishioners -- both documented and undocumented -- in the formation of a strategy that responds to the interests of immigrants, and the community as a whole. The training was delivered in collaboration with the Dallas Area Interfaith, the Catholic Diocese of Dallas and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD). [In photo, Auxillary Bishop Greg Kelly stands with participants who completed the training.]
Upon completion of the training the leaders committed to working with Dallas Catholic Bishop Edward J. Burns on his newly formed Immigration Task Force, and to organize in their parishes around congregational needs.
Follow up meetings with clergy, immigration, law enforcement officials and elected officials have been scheduled since the training.
The training was co-sponsored by the Interfaith Education Fund.
Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church hosted the Southern Arizona Interfaith - PCICEO Hispanic Leaders group for a training on "Poder." Twenty-five leaders, many of which attended a 3-day Spanish training last November, discussed power, conducted house meetings and planned for the future with Fr. Vili Valderrama. Participating parishes included: St. Cyril’s, Sacred Heart, St. Monica’s, St. Augustine Cathedral, St. Christopher’s, Our Lady of Fatima, Sacred Heart, St. John’s and San Martin de Porres.
Those who attended the November training are now organizing sessions on immigration and other topics in their parishes, including a Know Your Rights and Citizenship forum put together by the leadership team of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church with Catholic Community Services (in right photo). Immigration lawyer Amy Fairchild-Haer dispelled common rumors and answered questions. Msgr. Raul Trevizo, Pat Alvarez, Sofia Rodriguez and Lorena Santos led house meetings and distributed a “Plan de Preparacion” for parish members.
Training was also conducted at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic and St. Cyril of Alexandria Catholic churches.
"...The experience that night and what I learned in its aftermath changed the way I am a rabbi . It encouraged me to step outside my comfort level and to work with One LA / Industrial Areas Foundation, the nation’s largest and longest-standing network of local faith and community-based organizations, when I came to my congregation. Through One LA we have worked with other faith communities, institutions, and unions, because… in spite of our differences—one group sings, another group eats… we are all in this together...."
More than 200 people participated in an Sunday immigration meeting at St. Christopher Catholic Church.
Leaders German Martin, Rosemary Ramirez, Kathia Pereira and Jocelyn Cortez helped organize and run the information session.
Between January and March of 2017, SCEF-prepared leaders of One LA engaged over 1,000 LA County residents through 15 "Know Your Rights" civic academies. In partnership with Neighborhood Legal Services of LA, leaders educated participants on the the implications of recent presidential executive orders including the enforcement of immigration regulations, as well as the Muslim and Refugee Travel Ban.
"Train the Trainer" seminars have also been organized to teach institutional leaders about the civil and due process rights to which all US residents are entitled, regardless of immigration status. These sessions leverage the skills and talents of institutional leaders to further educate fellow members of congregations and schools.
On Sunday, March 12th, over 100 parishioners and people from the community participated in a workshop on immigration hosted by Holy Spirit Church in Fairfield, California. Attorney and Catholic Charities board member Miriam Sammartino answered questions about the latest executive orders from the White House, how to respond if stopped by immigration, and how to be best prepared in a time of uncertainty.
Fairfield Interim Police Chief Randy Fenn and four officers participated in the workshop and pledged to work with the church and Common Ground to build a better relationship between law enforcement and the community.Read more
Before 150 leaders participating in an interfaith forum on refugee resettlement, Or Chadash leader (and immigration lawyer) Fred Klein told the story of Jewish refugees on the MS St. Louis ocean liner prior to the start of World War II. The refugees, all attempting to escape Germany, were not permitted to dock in Cuba or in the US, and had to return to Europe where many died in concentration camps. Mr. Klein argued that halting refugee resettlement for months is comparably immoral and will likely lead to many refugee deaths.
After presentations by speakers from the International Rescue Committee, Lutheran Social Services and Catholic Social Services, the 150 participants divided into 12 small groups for conversation on what constitutes a refugee, what the vetting process is like and how long placement usually takes. Participants are deliberating potential courses of collective action in the face of current refugee challenges.
"On June 17, Sr. Pearl Ceasar will assume her role as superior general of the Sisters of Providence, a congregation that spans the U.S. Southwest, Missouri, Colorado, California and Mexico.
After 40 years of community organizing, Ceasar is now working on transitioning out of her position as executive director of Project QUEST (Quality Employment through Skills Training), a workforce-development intermediary in San Antonio that prepares people for living-wage jobs.
But before diving in with grand plans as to the direction of her congregation, Ceasar said she plans to meet all the sisters individually "and see where their energies are.""Read more
COPA's organizing effort in East Salinas drew immigrants from the shadows for a meeting at St. Mary of the Nativity Catholic Church. The effort focused on relationship building, organized people and targeted action.