Strangers No Longer
May 2022
Sr. Norma Pimentel is Coming to Michigan June 24-26 - See Below
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We invite you to invest in Strangers No Longer during our May Month of Giving Campaign!

Our goal is to raise $20,000 in the month of May. Thank you to everyone who has invested so far.

At our first annual banquet on April 24th, we raised $43,000 of our overall goal of $63,000. That means we are at a $20,000 gap to raise in our May Month of Giving.
Thanks to donations from generous supporters providing both their time and their funds, Strangers No Longer continues to grow.

  • We have created Circles of Support in parishes and high schools building leadership, community, spirituality, and action including Mujeres Circles of Support of Immigrant Women. Our Circles are located in Ann Arbor, Downriver, Pontiac, Detroit, Traverse City, and North Macomb.
  • We provide a forum for Immigrant women to tell their stories – why they left their home, the journey, their lives and struggle here. 
  • We have formed a Rapid Response Team to engage federal, state, county, local officials on immigration policy.

Learn more about why you should invest in Strangers No Longer: Click here
The first annual banquet of Strangers No Longer on April 24th was a hit! Over 375 SNL members and guests enjoyed Mexican music and dance and a delicious lunch at the MRCC banquet Hall in Warren, MI.

The entire program was presented in English and Spanish with emcees Chris Lynch and Oscar Pedrano keeping us all entertained and informed.

The event was kicked-off by music from the Amoris Lingua Youth Choir from St. Clements. We were entertained by a rousing performance by Ballet Folklórico de Detroit. Co-Founder and Pastor of St. Regis Fr. David Buersmeyer bestowed the blessing and led us in song before lunch.

Our keynote speaker was Hon. Debbie Dingell who spoke of the difficult atmosphere in Washington that makes real immigration reform seem remote. But she challenged us to keep fighting and standing up for what is right. Click here to hear her remarks.

Hon. Justice Maura Corrigan, a member of the SNL Circle of Support at Nativity of Our Lord in Detroit, spoke of being inspired to join the Circle of Support at Nativity because of the Spirit-led work going on there. She also spoke about her experience with individuals trying to navigate the complicated and often unfair immigration system that we have. Click here to hear her remarks.
Although both speakers acknowledged the challenging nature of our work, they also encouraged us in our grassroots efforts to make a real difference in the lives of immigrants.
The afternoon ended with the exciting results of the 50/50 raffle and the raffles for beautiful, themed baskets prepared by our Circles of Support.   Click here to see more pictures.

It was a delightful occasion that will be gratefully remembered by all. Now, let’s get back to work! Click here to see a video recording of the entire event.
In Brownsville, Texas, Sr. Norma has been on the front lines of the immigration crisis in the U.S. for decades--witnessing first-hand the effect of U.S. immigration policy at the southern border, including the 2020 Title 42 order barring individuals without documentation from entering the U.S.

Sr. Norma has agreed to visit us in Michigan! She wants to help us understand what is happening at the border and she wants to learn about the work we are doing here. She regrets that she never gets to see the people she helps as they build new lives for themselves in the U.S. She sees this visit to Michigan as a chance to find out.

Plans for Sister Norma’s visit are in the works. These are the plans so far:
  • On Friday, June 24, Sr. Norma will fly into Grand Rapids where she will meet with immigrant groups from several area parishes. Gladys Muñoz, Director of the Justice and Peace Advocacy Center in Traverse City, will coordinate meetings and activities. 
  • She will arrive in the Detroit area on Saturday, June 25th and spend time with the Hispanic community in Romeo, coordinated by Sr. Val Knoche at St. Clements.  
  • On Saturday evening, Sister Norma will be the keynote speaker at an evening event at the historic Basilica of St. Anne in downtown Detroit. (Click here to register.)
  • On Sunday, June 26th Sr. Norma will spend time in Ann Arbor, attending Mass and meeting with SNL immigrant Circles. 

Mark your calendar so you can be part of these exciting events! We will keep you posted on plans as they are finalized.  
"Hear Our Voices!" was the name students gave to this year's Youth Conference on Immigration and Faith. Over 85 students from 10 area Catholic High Schools gathered on April 27 at Detroit Cristo Rey High School--first to listen, share, and learn about immigration, and then to make a plan for their voices to be heard!

Following the See-Judge-Act Pastoral Model, the students first listened to personal accounts of immigration. Daris Bartolon, leader of the Circle of Support, Mujeres Bajo La Protección de Dios, shared her experiences as an asylum-seeker from Guatemala.

Then students from several of the schools shared their own stories of immigration, and those of their families. Next the students engaged in a series of activities and conversations about immigration, asking themselves: Why do people immigrate? What does the Church say about immigration?
After lunch, the students learned about different action steps they can take at their schools to support immigrants. Finally students, teachers, and campus ministers met in their school group to plan concrete ways they will take action back home. Each school elected 2-3 students to participate on a Student Planning Committee to continue collaboration across the schools. Later this month, campus ministers and teachers will meet for breakfast to build on this momentum and plan an exciting future for student engagement in our mission to welcome immigrants.

For more information, or to get your school or parish youth group involved, please contact Amy Ketner at [email protected] or 810-252-2664.
Strangers No Longer is growing and changing! Circle Leaders are emerging to take on the activities that our original Board used to do. To support that movement, the Board is transitioning from 31 members to 15 (5 members from English-speaking Circle Regions, 5 members from Spanish-speaking Circles, and up to 5 at-large members). 

The member representatives have been chosen by Regions and Circles and were seated at the Board meeting in April. In July the Board members will complete the transition by voting on the at-large members and officers, adding a vice-president position. The new Board will work to support the activity generated by Circles, committees, and staff.

Starting at the July meeting, the new Board will focus on SNL as a whole and begin the work of getting to know new Board members, reviewing our Vision and Mission, and sifting through the gratitude experience and SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, Threats) analyses that we did last year and see where it takes us.

I feel a great debt of gratitude for the people who have recently transitioned off the Board and served as our original Board members. They gave of their time, skills, and hearts and, without them, we would not be at this place in our development.
Each newsletter will post the date and time of the next Board meetings as the meetings are open to all attend.

We have much to be grateful for in the past and much to face in the future as we not only welcome the stranger, but form bonds of friendship and mutual learning within SNL and stand up to the forces that drive us apart.

Rosemary Insley
SNL Board President
Next SNL Board Meetings:
  • Saturday, July 9th at 10:00 (on Zoom)
  • Saturday, October 8th at 10:00 (on Zoom)
All are welcome! To register for a Board meeting, please email [email protected]
Members of the Rapid Response team have just returned from a trip to Washington, D.C. to advocate for expand Temporary Protective Status (TPS) for immigrants. Here is their update:

Community leaders organized a TPS Week of Action in DC May 9-12, involving 140 delegates from many organizations devoted to immigrant rights. The intent was to mount pressure on Congress and the Biden Administration to procure new TPS designations for Guatemala and Ethiopia and other African nations and re-designations of the Central American countries, whose status had been discontinued by the Trump Administration.

We met with the staffs of Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Rep. Haley Stevens, Rep. Melissa Slotkin and Rep. Debbie Dingell. We urged them to sign Rep. Castro’s letter calling for TPS protections for Central American countries, to issue social media statements to highlight the urgency of this issue, and to write the State Dept., DHS and the White House to work in furtherance of TPS protection and long-term protection for immigrants.
We heard many stories from immigrants affected by the humanitarian crisis in their countries, whether caused by natural disasters, war or other extraordinary and temporary situations (famine, drought, threats to civil liberties). TPS is essential for establishing a safe and humane immigration system. It is a key component of a functioning US humanitarian system.

We were greeted in the Rayburn building at a breakfast that included speeches by Rep. Garcia (IL), Rep. Chu (CA), Rep. Espeillat (NY) and Rep. Jimmy Gomez (CA), all advocates for immigration reform.

We participated in a spirited rally at Union Station with individually prepared posters calling for TPS action.

All came away realizing the importance of advocacy for not only TPS, but also for permanent residency status for hundreds of thousands of TPS holders from Central America who have lived in the US for over 20 years and the DACA children.

Hilde Preston
SNL Rapid Response Team
Hi all! Greetings from Traverse City!

As you may know, we are in our second year grant cycle from SNL-Somos Salud. Our “promotora” Angelica Ledesma, has been busy calling and meeting people in the Hispanic Community, doing surveys and collecting data on what the community identifies as health issues and concerns.

Anxiety and depression at all ages, (especially depression in the adolescent,) alcoholism, domestic violence, diabetes, lack of health insurance, transportation, lack of affordable housing, and appropriate language services are some of the big concerns the surveys are showing.

We have met with MSU Extension staff, and found out that they have developed many workshops that could be helpful to our families and communities. The concern we brought to them was the language, since these workshops tend to be only in English. They told us they are trying to address this issue.

We also met with the Grand Traverse County and Benzie/ Leelanau County Health Departments to create a network of cooperation. This move secured a vaccination site for Covid-19 vaccines and boosters at the TC Latino Supermarket store. This store is the only such market in all the Northwest Michigan region. The vaccines will be provided, at no charge, two days a week, starting Friday May 6th and Saturday May 7th, and hopefully, continuing throughout the Summer.
Our busy season will be starting at the middle of May and will peak in July and August, with migrant workers coming to the agricultural, hospitality, equestrian, and construction sectors.

SNL with the leadership of Sister Martha, have started 2 support groups for immigrant women. These groups are happy and excited about the possibilities of sharing and learning life skills that will help them as women, mothers, and community members.
We find among our immigrant and migrant community, people from many places of Latin America, Mexico, Central and South America, but also from Asia and the Caribbean.
We are grateful to SNL support and looking forward to be able to train in the near future, “promotoras” that can help bridge the gap between Health, Knowledge, and Advocacy in our migrant and immigrant communities.

Blessings to all during this Easter Season!

Gladys Muñoz – Director
Justice and Peace Advocacy Center (JPAC)
Here is a way to make a real difference in the lives of immigrants we work with. SNL has created a Drivers Team – people who volunteer to drive an immigrant or refugee to where they need to be like to doctor appointments, meetings with legal aid, or to a food pantry.

Requests come from Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan.
We need you! Email SNL at: [email protected] Thank you!
Cesar Cuellar - - [email protected] - 323-921-8659
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
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, your help is needed.
19972 Shrewsbury
Detroit, MI 48221