Strangers No Longer
February 2021
Contribute to SNL's "Families in Crisis" Campaign. The winter is going to be very difficult for immigrant families in SE Michigan.
IMMIGRANT WOMEN ARE ORGANIZING
Editor's Note: This is an exciting moment. Immigrant Women are organizing Circles of Support, challenging themselves to engage with the rest of us. They have a story to tell, and they sense that non-immigrants in Circles want direction: what do immigrant women need us to do in our towns, with elected officials and school boards and our parishes? They will be overcoming their fear of speaking to English-speakers. They will be reflecting on Scripture and life's journey - and they will be building community with the rest of us. Thank God...!  
Despite the critical situation that our nation is experiencing, hope does not fade. The Circle of Support Mujeres Bajo la Protección de Dios (Women Under the Protection of God) is a hope for Strangers No Longer. This Circle is the first formed of immigrant women and it is growing. 

With the desire that more women can count on a space like this, Mujeres Bajo la Protección de Dios Circle had a reflection on the story of the Bent-Over Woman (Luke 13:10-17). This reflection was led by some of the women of the Circle who responsibly prepared the session. 
Sr. Martha de la Torre, SMR
Deputy Coordinator
Strangers No Longer
"NEW PRESIDENT...NEW HOPE?"
On Saturday, January 23rd, Strangers No Longer hosted Mony Ruiz-Velasco, Alianza Americas’ Associate Director for Building Power.

She was able to bring us up to date on what the Biden Administration is doing to help immigrants at the border and in our country. She also gave us background information about how our immigration policy came to be and the terms that are commonly used. 

Ms. Ruiz-Velasco will be giving the session in Spanish to our immigrant Circle of Support on Thursday, February 4th. If you would like more information, please contact Bill O'Brien at billobrien2018@gmail.com

In case you missed the session, click here to find the video of the program on our website

Here are other resources from the program:
ONE CIRCLE'S “PERFECT MEETING” WITH THEIR STATE REP
Nativity’s Circle of Support had a perfect meeting with their State Rep. Joe Tate.  

They made phone calls and got a good turnout – 17 people.    The pastor was invited, said he would be there, and he was there affirming the work of parishioners.   The State Rep agreed to co-sponsor legislation for the Drivers’ License for Immigrants.    He revealed that he had gone to a Catholic grade school, but did not know much about Nativity.  The pastor and some parishioners talked about the different ministries of the parish.  They invited him to come to Sunday worship. He showed up at the following Sunday’s Mass and the pastor introduced him and he dialogued with individuals after Mass. The relationship was initiated. He agreed to the request. The parishioners felt proud of their congregation and ministries. Their Circle is stronger now than before.

  • Eleven parish circles have had, or scheduled in the next week, meetings with their State Rep. 
  • Eight State Reps, (all Democrats), have agreed to co-sponsor legislation for immigrants to be able to get Drivers Licenses. 
  • Holy Trinity of Port Huron has scheduled their first meeting with a Republican State Representative. Staff from the Michigan Catholic Conference will be joining to support the Circle for that important meeting – without 3 or 4 Republicans’ support, all will once again be lost. 
  • State Rep. Tyrone Carter told St. Anne's Circle he will talk with some Republican Representatives from farm areas – telling them that the Michigan Farm Bureau supports the DRIVE SAFE legislation. 

We still have State Reps yet to be engaged. As one of the leaders of the Immigrant Women’s Support Group told our Board and Circle leaders, “If you are serious about supporting us, get your legislator to push for Drivers Licenses.”  Come on, CIRCLES…!  

SNL CONTINUES "FAMILIES IN CRISIS" CAMPAIGN
The next 2 months are going to be very difficult for many families in SE Michigan, and doubly so for many immigrant families.

Please consider making a donation that will help our Accompaniment Task Force respond to emergency needs of immigrant families in crisis here in SE Michigan.  

You can donate electronically with the button (below) or you can send a check to:
STRANGERS NO LONGER
19972 Shrewsbury, Detroit MI 48221
(Write “Families in Crisis“ in the memo line.) 
THANKS TO OUR GENEROUS DONORS
The Board and Circle Leaders acknowledge with gratitude the groups who have contributed grants for our organization:

  • Phalarope Foundation/Alianza Americas - $5000 for Advocacy

  • Sisters St. Joseph Fund - $10,000 for Accompaniment 

  • Sisters IHM Fund - $5,000 to establish our organization.

  • Catholic Foundation of Michigan - $5,000 to develop Immigrant Women Circles.

  • Catholic Campaign for Human Development (USCCB) - $25,000 for Leadership Training and Staff Development.

  • St. Paul on the Lake - $2,000 for Accompaniment (Families in Crisis) 
CIRCLE RECEIVES MORE THAN THEY HAVE GIVEN TO MEXICAN MIGRANT SHELTER
The Circle of Support of Our Mother of Perpetual Help cherishes the meaningful relationship that they have developed with the staff of the migrant shelter Casa Samaritano in Hidalgo, Mexico this past year. Two members of the Circle, Mike and Carmen Kelly, speak Spanish and have kept in touch with the shelter’s director, Sr. Luisa. She has sent photographs and videos and frequent email updates which allows the Circle members to more clearly understand their challenges. The shelter has experienced many ups and downs this year and Circle members have been inspired by the courage and resilience of the staff and the migrants who are served at the shelter.

The OMOPH Circle has raised a total of $15,600 for the shelter since October 2019 in parishioners donations and fund raisers.

The shelter continues to be in great need so the members of the OMOPH Circle decided to continue to help this year.
Is your Circle looking to support an initiative like this? Look for our special edition of the newsletter later this month that will focus on other opportunities like this.
SNL SIGNS LETTER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN ON
CENTRAL AMERICAN POLICY
The letter, composed by the Sisters of Mercy and signed by many organizations, identifies mistakes in U.S. Central American policy over the last 50 years and recommends ways the U.S. should move forward. The SNL officers approved the signing of the letter.
MICHIGAN CATHOLICS FOR THE COMMON GOOD SPONSOR A DISCUSSION OF CURRENT SOCIAL ISSUES ON FEBRUARY 9TH
Featuring:

Sr. Simone Campbell, Executive Director of Network, will discuss social issues on the Biden administration's legislative agenda for the first 100 days.

Michael Sean Winters, author and columnist for National Catholic Reporter will cover the current social issues agenda of national Catholic leadership in response to the new Biden administration.

Also featuring a panel of Michigan-based social justice leaders to add local their local perspective to the discussion.
FOR YOUR READING
Jesus and the Undocumented Immigrant: A Spiritual Geography of a Crucified People.

The immigrant's journey is Jesus's way of the cross today. Our mission is to take the crucified peoples down from the cross.
Spiritual Reflection on the Article - Rosemary's Ramblings
(Rosemary Insley is the President of Strangers No Longer.)
This article that Sr. Martha de la Torre brought to our attention both inspired and challenged me.  

My way of seeing the world has become more and more something like the following: born from the outflowing love of the Divine, the world is embedded with that same energy (the Spirit) at its core. The historical Jesus was born as one of us. He showed us in his mission to free prisoners, give sight to the blind, bring good news to the poor that there is a cost in loving. His is a way of kinosis, emptying, and being filled from beyond the small self. When, as a consequence of being faithful to that love, Jesus was killed, he then rose because love is greater than death. He became the universal Christ, both throughout the universe and intimately part of us. He gave us the Spirit in a new way to able to find him in what is around us, especially in the poor and marginalized.
LEARN SPANISH FROM A NATIVE SPANISH SPEAKER
The Circle of Support at Gesu has a parishioner and asylum seeker who has founded a school to teach Spanish. The school offers classes for children and adults. They offer a variety of services including classes for medical professionals to help them converse with their patients, Spanish for business, Spanish for travelers, as well as children’s courses.  

The classes are all taught by native Spanish speakers. Currently all the classes are taught online. 

Carmen Luna, owner
Luna Spanish Center
323-915-8357
Please donate whatever you can to support the work of Strangers No Longer. Now, more than ever, our help is needed.
19972 Shrewsbury
Detroit, MI 48221
313-549-0421