Strangers No Longer
March 2021
Help immigrant families in SE Michigan. Contribute to SNL's "Families in Crisis" Campaign.
SNL has received 501c3 status--Contributions to SNL since July 24, 2020 are now tax deductible.
IMMIGRANT WOMEN'S CIRCLES REACH OUT TO ALL OF SNL
"Invite us to your Circle or Parish -- we would like to share our stories as immigrant women.  We want to get to know you."  That was the message that several women from "Mujeres Bajo la Proteccion de Dios" Circle brought to the Board of SNL.  

Under the direction of Sr. Martha de la Torre SMR, the Circle presented a reflection on the Bent Over Woman in St. Luke’s Gospel three times in March. Five Circles of Support sponsored the three events using a translator so that we could all understand each other.

Now these women are ready to take their next step. Sr. Martha de la Torre SMR reports that members of the Immigrant Women's Circles are offering to meet with each of our Circles of Support. According to Marisol Sanchez, one of the members on an Immigrant Circle, it is important for all of SNL to get to know the members that we are helping to support and to hear their personal stories. Sr. Martha and Marisol Sanchez encourage each SNL Circle of Support to invite the immigrant women to one of their monthly meetings. These women have a lot to teach us about being immigrants in the U.S. They can help us understand their challenges but also the gifts that they bring to us as well.

Several Circles have already expressed interest in having Marisol and others from the Immigrant Women's Circles attend their meetings: St. Mary (Ann Arbor), St. Anne (Detroit), Gesu (Detroit), St. Charles Borromeo (Detroit), Our Mother of Perpetual Help (Ferndale/Oak Park), and possibly St. Ambrose (Grosse Pte. Park.) The Circle at St. Michael (Sterling Heights) has already arranged a meeting.

Please contact Sr. Martha at strangersnolonger11@gmail.com if your Circle would like to arrange a meeting.
SNL RECEIVES GRANT TO REACH OUT TO MICHIGAN FARM WORKERS WITH HELP FROM 3 DIOCESES AND 1 VICARATE
Alianza Americas, our national partner, has called on us to do COVID vaccine promotion among farmworkers and other Spanish-speaking essential workers and their families. They have awarded SNL a $26,000 grant from the Center for Disease Control to do this work. We plan to reach 2000 people by working with Hispanic ministry coordinators in the Dioceses of Lansing, Saginaw, Gaylord (including Traverse City,) Grand Rapids, and the vicariate of North Macomb County.

Our goal is to use this COVID outreach effort as the first step toward developing a statewide Catholic network of local promoters (“Circle Leaders”) who can gather Spanish-speaking people in farmworker and essential worker areas into an effective, long-term voice for humane policies affecting their quality of life. Over the summer we will develop an effective program of outreach for COVID prevention and vaccine promotion and engage Catholic leaders as coordinators, presenters and local Circle Leaders in the dioceses and vicariate. 

For more information, or to help in any way, call Bill O'Brien, 313-549-0421.
MICHIGAN CATHOLIC CONFERENCE INVOLVED IN SNL MEETINGS WITH MICHIGAN LEGISLATORS
To date, our parish Circles of Support have met with fourteen state representatives. Twelve of the representatives are Democrats who each said they would co-sponsor legislation to provide Drivers' Licenses to Immigrants in Michigan under the DRIVE SAFE bills. (Sixteen states in the U.S. already have this legislation in place.) But without Republican support, the DRIVE SAFE bills will never see the light of day. 

In an effort to get Republicans on board, the Circle of Support at Holy Trinity in Port Huron met with Republican Representative Andrew Beeler. The meeting included an administration official at Cardinal Mooney High School in Marysville and Paul Stankewitz, staffer at the Michigan Catholic Conference. (Michigan Catholic Conference is the advocacy arm of the seven Michigan Bishops.) At the conclusion of the discussion, Representative Beeler indicated that he would seriously consider the points that were raised and study the other states' legislation. Another meeting with Representative Beeler is planned.

Mark Tisdel, Republican State Representative in Oakland County, had his Chief of Staff meet with parishioners from St. John Fisher Chapel, Servants' Entrance, St. Mary of the Hills (Rochester) and St. Andrew (where the representative sings in the choir) and a campus minister from Notre Dame High School (where the representative's child is in school). Paul Stankewitz provided great background. Tisdel's Chief of Staff promised to pass on all information to the Representative. 

Our Advocacy Task Force Co-Chairs Bridget Theodoroff (Ss. John and Paul) and Rich Faba (Perpetual Help) say, "GREAT JOB, CIRCLES."
MINNESOTA ARCHBISHOP HEBDA TESTIFIES FOR BILL LETTING UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS GET DRIVERS' LICENSES
Minnesota must “act now” to pass a bill that would allow Minnesotans to obtain driver’s licenses without proof of citizenship, Archbishop Bernard Hebda told state legislators on February 26th.

“Minnesota needs to act now to limit the threat that a traffic stop will upend lives and families of our friends and neighbors,” he said. “Our immigrant brothers and sisters deserve to live with dignity, not in fear of being separated from their families every time they need to drive somewhere.”

CRISTO REY HIGH SCHOOL MEETS WITH STATE REPRESENTATIVE AND BEGINS YOUTH LEADERSHIP TRAINING PROJECT
Whoever said that high school students are too young to be involved in politics -- well, they were wrong. The Circle of Support at Cristo Rey High School held a Zoom conference meeting with State Rep. Tyrone Carter to talk about co-sponsoring legislation for Drivers' Licenses for immigrants. Cristo Rey faculty members, including the principal and school president, and Circle moderators Jim Dwyer and Maria Pangori who sat in on the conference said afterwards that they were very proud of their students.

The students shared their own stories of parents and siblings not being able to drive--even after years of being in this country. The students met after the meeting to analyze their conversation with the representative--especially to understand Rep. Carter's background and opinions that may impact how Rep. Carter will vote on these bills.

What happens now? The Cristo Rey Circle of Support will offer to meet with other high schools about their experience with Rep. Carter.

The Circle is also beginning to plan for a fall (post-COVID) conference of high school students around such themes as Climate Change, Racism, and Immigration. This fall conference will be the first endeavor of the newly formed "Youth Leadership Training Project" of SNL. Catholic High Schools and some public high schools will be invited to help prepare for the conference.

BREAKING NEWS: Strangers No Longer just received word that the Harriet Tubman Center will be donating $9000 to help make the Youth Leadership Training Project successful. 

Congratulations to Cristo Rey Circle leaders and moderators!
SNL FORMS A CONGRESSIONAL RESPONSE TEAM
MEMBERS STILL NEEDED FROM TLAIB'S AND STEVENS' DISTRICTS
With the advent of the Biden administration, there is a lot of activity happening on the advocacy front. To better respond quickly to legislative initiatives and issues, SNL has formed a congressional response team that will immediately contact representatives on immigration issues as they arise. The idea is to have two to three people from each district ready to send an email or make a phone call to their U.S. representative when directed by the SNL Advocacy team. We already have 15 volunteers but we still need team members who live in the districts of Representative Rashida Tlaib and Representative Haley Stevens.  

As a bonus, this team will have the opportunity to take part in a virtual seminar with key immigration specialists located in Central America to better understand current immigration issues.

 INTERESTED? Contact SNL at strangersnolonger11@gmail.com.
ST. MICHAEL'S PARISHIONERS SHARE IMMIGRATION STORIES
St Michael's Circle of Support has come up with a powerful way to connect and empathize with immigrants today. They have realized that when we reflect on our own families' immigration stories, we are more able to embrace the people coming to the U.S. today.

Therefore, under the heading "We Are a Pilgrim People," the Circle has been collecting and publishing personal immigration stories gathered from parishioners in their church bulletin.

Consider doing this in your Parish bulletin! Click here to see the story from circle member Pat Watanabe in the February 21st edition of the St Michaels parish bulletin.
IN THE NEWS
Pope Francis announces the 107th World Day of Immigrants and Refugees for September 26th. Let your Pastor know about the Pope's suggestions. Click here.

US puts climate migrant protections on the table: Guatemala City, Guatemala – The United States government plans to analyze the effects of climate change on migration, including potential legal protections – a move that migrant and refugee rights advocates say is a crucial step in the right direction. Click here.

US Gives Hope to Previously Denied Asylum-Seekers in Camp: Mexico City - In a camp at the U.S.-Mexico border, some asylum-seekers were told by officials that the U.S. government may reopen their cases and they would eventually be able to enter the U.S. to wait out the asylum process. Click here.

U.S. considering use of Virginia military base to house migrant children: The U.S. government is evaluating whether to house unaccompanied migrant children at a military base in Virginia amid a sharp rise in migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, according to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) notice seen by Reuters. Click here.
CONTINUE PARISH EDUCATION WITH IMMIGRATION ARTICLES BY GESU CIRCLE MEMBER
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.

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