Strangers No Longer
January 2022
Save the Date! SNL Banquet April 24th - see story below
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SNL ORGANIZATION - LOOKING BACK AND LOOKING FORWARD
Fifty-four SNL leaders from Ann Arbor to Port Huron to Traverse City and everywhere in between gathered virtually on January 8th. Almost half were Spanish speaking. Their purpose was to analyze the positive and negative aspects of our organization as well as the opportunities for us in the future. 
 
One of our immigrant members later described the experience as a milagro (miracle)!

MAKING MICHIGAN MORE WELCOMING TO IMMIGRANTS
Strangers No Longer is excited to announce we are kicking off a new initiative to help make south-eastern Michigan a more welcoming environment for our immigrant brothers and sisters.

Working with Emma Davis of Global Detroit we are planning meetings with the executives who are responsible for welcoming immigrant programs in Oakland, Macomb, Wayne, and Washtenaw counties as well as the City of Detroit. We want to understand what initiatives are currently in place and find ways we can help them in their work.

We already have two meetings planned: Oakland County on January 21st and Macomb County on January 28th. Other meetings are in process.

If you want to get more involved in solving issues that immigrants face, attending the meeting taking place in your county would be an ideal way to start. Please contact us at strangersnolonger11@gmail.com and include your county.
CIRCLE LEADER FORMATION PROGRAM TO BEGIN JANUARY 22ND
One of the key objectives for SNL has always been to build community--among our parishes, Circles, and Circle members. In support of that objective, we have started a monthly meeting called Circle Leader Formation Program that will be run by SNL staff to teach us to be leaders, expand our Circles, and do more to meet the needs of immigrants that we serve.

Our first Circle Leader Formation Program meeting will be on Saturday, January 22nd from 10:00 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. (These meetings will be held the 4th Saturday of the month through September 2022.)

Agenda:
  • Community Spirituality (20 min.), 
  • Leadership Training = Best Practices - What does a Circle look like? (20 min.)
  • Accountability and Next Steps for Circle Leaders (30 min.)

Building community is our job -- in our cIrcles, in our parishes and beyond. If WE don't build community, then who will? This was so important to Jesus -- and now to Pope Francis. We can do it, but we need to work together to learn and help each other. 
LEARN TO WRITE LETTERS OF SUPPORT FOR IMMIGRANTS
Immigrants working their way through the U.S. immigration system are often asked by immigration officials to provide letters of support from U.S. residents to document the benefits the immigrants have provided to our community. Those of us who are asked to write these letters want very much to help but are often uncertain how to write these letters.

Here is a chance to learn how: The Circle of Support at Nativity/St. Charles invites you to a virtual workshop to help you write strong letters of support for members of our parishes, Circles, and communities.  

Writing an Immigration Letter of Support: A Virtual Workshop on Zoom
Saturday, February 12, 2022 11:30am-12:00pm

We are excited to host special guests at this event:
Justice Maura Corrigan, former MI Supreme Court Justice and member of the Nativity/St Charles Circle of Support
Veronica Beltran, Immigration Attorney at the Southwest Detroit Immigrant and Refugee Center
INVITE AN SNL IMMIGRANT LEADER TO SHARE HER FAMILY'S HARROWING JOURNEY TO THE U.S.
We have a rare opportunity to hear a first hand experience of an immigrant who was forced to leave her home country with her family and travel north. Her journey was long and dangerous and included being kidnapped by a gang in Mexico and spending two weeks in an icy cell once she crossed the border into the U.S.

She is willing to keep sharing her family's painful story with others who are willing to hear her in the hope that we will better understand the price immigrants pay to come to the U.S.
Consider having this powerful story told at your parish, school, or organization. One of SNL's goals is to educate others about the struggles immigrants experience as they journey to the U.S. Here is an excellent way to get started. There are many stories out there--let them be heard.

Contact Amy Ketner at 810-252-2664 or email strangersnolonger11@gmail.com.
SNL BANQUET/FUNDRAISER - SUNDAY APRIL 24 AT 1:00 P.M.
Make sure to mark your calendar for SNL’s banquet being held at the MRCC Banquet Center at 23401 Mound Road in Warren, MI on April 24th from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.

We are planning an exciting agenda that includes people from Michigan business and politics. With a chance to meet with SNL immigrant and non-immigrant members and other community leaders plus a delicious luncheon—you can’t go wrong! Details to follow.
GUIDANCE FOR DIFFICULT CONVERSATIONS
So often SNL members are faced with the problem of speaking to people we know who tend to reject immigrants even though the Holy Family were once immigrants. Some people allow fear and intolerance to influence their opinion on this subject.

Fr. Wayne Dziekan, Director of Secretariat for Justice and Peace at the Diocese of Gaylord, responded to an SNL member who was distressed about this issue. Here is how Fr. Wayne responded:

“In my opinion and perspective, it is impossible to “effectively counter” the hatred and rejection of the types of people you describe because their arguments and beliefs are not based on logic, nor on any knowledge of immigration law, nor on any deep familiarity with other cultures, nor on any reasonable familiarity with Catholic Social Doctrine or Catholic spirituality. How does one counter that??"

CHRIST THE GOOD SHEPHERD CIRCLE OF SUPPORT HOSTS SUCCESSFUL FUNDRAISER
Christ the Good Shepherd Circle of Support (Lincoln Park) hosted a Mexican lunch December 12th.

In connection with the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Christ the Good Shepherd Circle of Support hosted a Mexican “carry out” lunch fund raiser in support of Strangers No Longer. Nearly 100 meals were sold, and over $330.00 was raised, thanks to the efforts of about eight volunteers and retired Director of Faith Formation Sr. Rebecca Vonderhaar IHM. 

"This food fundraiser has been a dream of Sister Becky Vonderharr's for some time - not only for fundraising purposes, but also to build community up in a way that helps people see there is a need outside our own bubbles. She wanted a way for people to support beyond just online. People were able to come out of Mass, see this was important, and connect with the Circle members."

- Holly Tockstein, Coordinator of Youth Ministry at Christ the Good Shepherd, Lincoln Park, MI

(We want to be able to publicize and report on events Circles are holding to benefit our immigrant sisters and brothers. Please let us know about activities your Circle of Support is planning--we would be happy to support your efforts! You can email strangersnolonger11@gmail.com.)
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
SNL has received 501c3 status--Contributions to SNL since July 24, 2020 are now tax deductible.
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