Oakland church

Monthly SF Immigration Court Vigil

by Mirtha Ninayahuar

SAN FRANCISCO IMMIGRATION COURT VIGIL July 16, 2015. I attended monthly vigil at San Francisco Immigration Bldg.  We had a great turnout and energy. We gathered around the immigration court to be a public witness against our nation’s deportation machine, and to pray for the families and children with court appointments.
BENEFIT for “Root Causes” Delegation July 16, 2015. I attended fundraiser at University Lutheran Chapel of Berkeley to support the “Root Causes” delegation of 16 people going to Guatemala and Honduras August 7-17. This delegation will be led by Rev. Deborah Lee, Director of the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity and Jose Artiga, Executive Director of SHARE El Salvador.

The Delegation will:

  • Listen and meet with grassroots and religious partners on the ground, to more deeply understand the root causes of migration in the Central America Region (economic and free trade policies; narco -traffickers, gangs, and US Drug policy’ US Military aid in the region.)
  • Explore the paths of migration and the human rights impact of US- Mexico immigration and border enforcement policies. Speak with those who have been deported from the the US back  to the region.
  • Listen to the recommendations and proposals coming out of Central America for addressing the root causes of migration, unaccompanied children, poverty and violence.
  • Engage in policy advocacy and education upon return to the US, that addresses the root causes of Central American migration and calls for the protection of migrants. See their pilgramage blog: https://rootcausesdelegation.wordpress.com/

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About 35 people attended the benefit; great speakers, excellent food and company. It was great to meet some of the delegates and hear why they are taking the journey. We grossed $976!

ACCOMPANIMENT TEAM visit August 11, 2015. As part of an accompaniment team (community and interfaith groups responding to needs of Central American refugees), Carolyn Cox of First Congregational Church of Berkeley and I went to visit our assigned young indigenous Guatemalan mother and her 6 year-old daughter. Our first baby step toward establishing a relationship and building trust. Although we weren’t invited into the apartment, we were happy that she felt comfortable enough to talk to us for awhile. We brought art/writing materials for her daughter.  I was able to use a few words of Mam, one of the indigenous languages of western Guatemala.

Pastor Adolfo, of Iglesia de Dios, has been teaching some accompaniment teams Mam on a weekly basis. We’ve had 3 classes already. Interesting to learn that Spanish speaking people tend to shun them when they find out they are indigenous Mam speakers. In Guatemala, the Mam community wasn’t allowed to have Mam teachers, only Spanish-speaking teachers.

GRANT OPPORTUNITY MEETING at First AME Church August 13, 2015. Today I’ll be attending a meeting for information on grants for education at faith based organizations. Reverend Deborah Lee thought it would be good to find out if Pastor Adolfo’s Mam church, Iglesia de Dios, could benefit from this literacy project for children 0-5 years. Padre Adolfo is working and cannot attend, so I offered to go.

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