Strangers No Longer
July 2021
Save the Date: Tuesday, September 21, at 6:30 PM at Most Holy Trinity (Detroit) --
Mass and Celebration for 107th World Day of Migrants  (see article below)
ST. MARY - ANN ARBOR ORGANIZES UM STUDENTS TO PRESS LEGISLATORS FOR IMMIGRANT DRIVERS' LICENSES
Immigrants navigating life in the U.S. rate the ability to get a driver’s license as their most important issue. In response, SNL has been working alongside partners like the Michigan Catholic Conference to advocate for the DRIVE SAFE bills. These bills would make specially designated driver’s licenses and state identification cards available to applicants who do not have proof of U.S. citizenship but can prove their identity and Michigan residency. 

To boost our efforts for immigrant drivers' licenses, we welcome to our staff for the summer Kimberly Pulka, a recent University of Michigan graduate.  She will be supervised by Amy Ketner (St. Mary Student Parish in Ann Arbor) to organize over 15 University of Michigan students. The students will hold Circles of Support meetings with their state representatives back in their home parishes to advocate for the DRIVE SAFE bills.  

She will be paid a stipend for her work—and we could use your help. PLEASE support this effort. If you can help us, click on the button below.
MICHIGAN LEGISLATORS RE-INTRODUCE DRIVE SAFE LEGISLATION

On May 11, 2021, the DRIVE SAFE bills were re-introduced in both the Michigan Senate and the House. Senators Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit) and Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) in the Senate and Representatives Padma Kuppa and Rachel Hood in the House are sponsoring the current bills.  

A press conference for the introduction of the House bills was held on May 21st. Although these bills have been introduced in the Michigan legislature several times, they have never even been allowed a debate in committee.


And so the fight continues.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR: CELEBRATE 107TH WORLD DAY OF IMMIGRANTS AND REFUGEES
Pope Francis announced that the 107th World Day of Immigrants and Refugees will be held on September 26th.

Strangers No Longer is planning a liturgy on September 21st to commemorate this occasion. Please mark your calendars for this in-person event.  We have invited Cardinal Joe Tobin (Newark) to join us for the liturgy.

When: Tuesday, September 21st at 6:00 p.m.
Where: Most Holy Trinity Church at 1050 Porter St., Detroit

A collection will be taken for the ongoing support of Strangers No Longer.
SPRING/SUMMER 2021 COVID VACCINE PROMOTION
In March SNL was awarded a $39,000 grant through Alianza Americas from the CDC to concentrate on farmworker, essential worker, and Spanish-speaking hard-to-reach populations.  Our task is to increase the number of people getting vaccines through presentations and by working with county health departments pop-up vaccine clinics.  We raised another $10,000 from CCHD (Catholic Campaign for Human Development) as a Technical Assistance grant. 

With these funds, we formed a Statewide Team with the four diocesan Directors of Hispanic Ministry in Grand Rapids, Saginaw, Lansing and Gaylord and with the directors of Hispanic Ministry in North Macomb (Sr. Val Knoche) and St. Mary Ann Arbor (Amy Ketner). 

We will learn a lot about farmworkers and food processing plants through this effort and, most importantly, we are building new relationships statewide!

SNL PLANS FALL ACTION MEETING WITH LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND BUSINESS OFFICIALS
We have done what we can with our state legislators, pressing them to join the Michigan Catholic Conference in supporting bills allowing immigrants to have drivers' licenses. But there is more to do.

We need to work in our local towns and suburbs. The SNL Advocacy Task Force has created a Fall Organizing Plan to encourage our local governments and businesses to become more "immigrant friendly."

Circles have been asked to take the following steps:
  • Meet with their pastor during July -- report to him on the Circle's work and ask for his support for the September 21st Mass
  • Conduct a survey in August/September in Circle parishes regarding attitudes toward immigrants
  • Immigrant Women Circles will survey their immigrant communities to ask how towns could be more welcoming.
  • Bring all the competed surveys to the September 21 Mass/Celebration and present them as an offering.
  • Invite key elected officials and civic and business leaders to an Action Meeting in November.

At our November Action Meeting our Circles will present a DRAFT TOWN RESOLUTION TO WELCOME IMMIGRANTS and ask their local officials to study and introduce the resolution in their particular local government body and enact other immigrant-friendly efforts all through the town.  Our resolutions will build on the state of Michigan's “Welcoming Michigan” program.  (Click here for Welcoming Michigan website.)

We will be showing our community strength at these two events: Mass on Tuesday, September 21st to celebrate World Day of Migrants, and the November Action Meeting.
CIRCLES OF SUPPORT FORMING AMONG IMMIGRANT WOMEN
Sr. Martha de la Torre SMR, along with Amy Ketner (St. Mary Ann Arbor) have been working with immigrant women in our area to form Circles of Support. They are happy to report that we now have four Circles of immigrant women made up of over 40 women living in southeastern Michigan and actively participating in SNL.

  • Mujeres Bajo la Protección de Dios (Women Under the Protection of God)
  • Mujeres de Fe y Esperanza (Women of Faith and Hope)
  • Mujeres Portadoras de Luz (Light Bearer Women)
  • Mujeres Unidas (United Women)

According to Sr. Martha, "The Circles of Support of immigrant women are spaces that women can feel as “their space,” meaning a space where they are able to share their lived experiences."   

SNL is grateful to the Catholic Foundation of Michigan for supporting this effort through a grant of $5000.

DETROIT CRISTO REY HIGH SCHOOL CONTINUES YOUTH LEADERSHIP TRAINING PROJECT
With a grant received from the Harriet Tubman Center, Detroit Cristo Rey High School continues to work on its Youth Leadership Training Project.

One recent training effort was to work with sponsors Jim Dwyer and Maria Pangori to hold a zoom meeting with their state representative regarding the DRIVE SAFE bills.

The students are now beginning to convene Campus Ministers at Catholic high schools to plan a Winter 2022 Conference around issues identified by the students such as immigration, climate change, racism, and the role of policing.  Planning will include building relationships across schools, dialoguing about race and economics, and contacting their local pastors. The students may make brief presentations to their parishes.

The students may also decide to participate in upcoming SNL Advocacy Campaigns.
IT'S NOT TOO LATE TO PUT ARTICLES IN YOUR CHURCH BULLETIN
In a continuing effort to provide education to our parishes on current immigration challenges, Kathleen Rogers (Gesu) has prepared a 5-part series of articles. They are an excellent source of information on a wide variety of immigration topics. She is making them available for us and for use in your parish bulletins.


Julie Watanabe, Director of Religious Ed at St. Michael's in Sterling Heights, had her Circle Members and other parishioners prepare their own family's immigration stories for the church bulletin.  What a great idea -- how many of our parishioners have never been able to tell their family's immigration story?
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