Sunday, November 19, 2017

News for Amigos de Casa San José: November 18, 2017

Dear Casa San José Amigos,
Welcome back to our weekly message!  Here’s what’s new:

First, a special invitation: please come to our Casa San José Open House! Come get to know our new home, meet other members of our community, and share some refreshments.
  • Where: 2116 Broadway Ave. Pittsburgh, PA 15216
  • When: Sunday, December 3, 2017
  • Time: pass by anytime between 1:30 – 3:30 pm
And another invitation:  please come to the 41st East End Interfaith Thanksgiving Service and hear Sister Janice as the guest speaker, and the East End Interfaith Clergy choir. Congregation Beth Shalom, this Tuesday, Nov. 21, 7:30 pm, 5915 Beacon Street, Pittsburgh, 15217.

HELP:
  • Give Big Pittsburgh happens on Tuesday, Nov. 28 (the Tuesday after Thanksgiving) from midnight to 11:59 pm.  It's the online giving day hosted by the Pittsburgh Magazine in conjunction with the Pittsburgh Foundation.  It's a great way to donate to Casa San José!  Please consider us for your year-end contributions, and especially, share the link -https://www.givebigpittsburgh.com/organizations/casa-san-jose with friends and social media and anyone else that would like to support our immigrants and our work.
  • Volunteers needed!  On Sunday Jan. 7, the Feast of the Three Kings celebration will happen at St. Catherine's Church after mass ends at 1:30 pm.  If you can help, please email Sister Valerie at srvalerie@casasanjose.org.  
  • The 8th Annual Friends Benefit Concert, which benefits Casa San José and Pittsburghers for Public Transit, is happening Friday, December 1, 7:30 – 10:00 at the Quaker Meeting House, 4836 Ellsworth Ave, Pittsburgh 15213. Featuring Smokestack Lightning, Penny Anderson, Chie Togami, and Sarah Bowen-Salio with Chuck Bowen, and the evergreen Raging Grannies.  Donation: $15 at the door ($6 for students/unemployed).  Help make a joyful noise and enjoy homemade baked goods!
ACTION:  
OUR STORY: Last weekend, Casa San José and the Thomas Merton Center (with generous help from our Amigos!) sent 32 people of all ages to the SOA Watch Border Encuentro on the US/Mexico border in Nogales, Arizona.  They joined many others in calling for an end to violence against our communities, and learned much about history, migration, injustice, and activism.  More details to follow!  



NEWS:  
SUGGESTED if you'd like to read or hear more:  
A Thanksgiving Message:  
Casa San José would like to give thanks for all the kindness that exists in our world, and particularly that of our Amigos.
Casa San José está agradecida por toda la bondad que existe en nuestro mundo, y particularmente la de nuestros Amigos.  


(Earlier messages can be found here.)


Thursday, November 9, 2017

News for Amigos de Casa San José: November 9, 2017

Dear Casa San José Amigos,
Welcome back to our weekly message!  Here’s what’s new:

HELP:

  • MIL GRACIAS!! to all who volunteered their time and the benefit of arms, legs, vehicles, expertise and refreshments to our moving days last week.  We are now happily settled in our NEW LOCATION in the Beechview neighborhood at 2114 Broadway Ave.,15216.  Hurray!  Please come visit us any time.  We are planning a welcome celebration soon:  stay tuned.  
ACTION:
NEWS:  
  • Sister Janice and Brandi Rojas represented Casa San José, and with other participants, spoke movingly about recent experiences of Pittsburgh immigrants at an event entitled “Faithful Responses to Strangers, Immigrants, and Refugees.” It was sponsored by the Jewish Community Center’s Center for Loving Kindness and Civic Engagement; the Christian Associates of Southwest Pennsylvania; and All for All, an immigrant advocacy group.  Read more including beautiful photos from the Post-Gazette here.
  • Last week Sister Janice was awarded the 17th annual Pittsburgh Turkish Cultural Center Friendship Award!  (See photo above.)
SUGGESTED if you'd like to read more:  Public libraries - our own and others around the country - are making booklists to help us understand the lives and backgrounds of Latino immigrants who are our neighbors and friends.  Here are a few:
Thank you for joining us!

(Earlier messages can be found here.)

Monday, October 30, 2017

News for Amigos de Casa San José: October 30, 2017

Dear Casa San José Amigos,
Welcome back to our weekly message!  Here’s what’s new:

HELP:

  • Update from October 4: You may remember that ICE has been targeting men living with their families in Moon Township, leaving families suddenly without their head of household, and in desperate need of help. More details and an update on that story is below - and MANY THANKS to our Amigos that stepped forward quickly with such generous help.  There is still a need for rental units that can go to tenants without documents - also winter clothing, diapers (size 3-4) and wipes, so if you can assist, please contact Monica at monica@casasanjose.org.
ACTION:
  • IMPORTANT: Make your plan to VOTE on November 7, and tell your family and friends!  This is mainly a state judicial election, which has traditionally had very low turnout, but has tremendous implications for immigrant rights, among others.  The judiciary has been our best and sometimes only hope to overturn and stop hurtful administration policies (i.e. the Muslim ban.) For candidate information, see this voter guide from the League of Women Voters.

  • "Immigrants are a blessing, not a burden: Praying with Dreamers Week" is this week:  Oct. 29 - Nov. 4.  Congregations across the country are praying for immigrants in many ways - more information is here on the Facebook page.
  • Berks County Family Detention Center (BCRC) continues to operate as one of three detention centers for immigrant families, where children as young as two-weeks-old have been incarcerated. Many of the families have been unjustly held for more than a year, despite judicial orders to release them and the revocation of its license.  Governor Wolf has the power to shut it down:  please call the Governor's Office to protest, write a letter, or post on social media.  More information to support a protest is here.
 NEWS:  
  • By the time you get this, we will be moving to our NEW LOCATION in the Beechview neighborhood at 2116 Broadway Ave.,15216.  Hurray!  We will be closed from Oct. 26 - Nov 1, but welcome you to come visit us anytime in our new home after that.  An open house is being planned.

  • Casa San José held a community meeting last Wednesday night to hear peoples' concerns and discuss DACA, ICE, sanctuary policies, and other issues of interest. 

OUR STORY: families broken up in Moon and the kindness of neighbors

  • Since the beginning of the month, ICE agents have posted themselves at the entrance and exit of a little known street deep in Moon Township, where approximately 10 undocumented families live in bare, ill-maintained apartments.  So far, at least 15 men have been swept up and taken out to Erie or Cambria to await deportation proceedings, leaving their families to fend without breadwinners and in fear of being sent away themselves.  They would like to live elsewhere, where they wouldn't feel so trapped, but rental housing is very scarce for those without documents.  

  • But there are a few bright spots to this story, in the generosity and kindness of others. In one day, a group of the mothers and children were brought by Monica, Veronica, Pilar and Rachel from Casa to two very welcoming food pantries.  Pastor Michael Sourwine and his congregation at the House of Prayer in Aliquippa had heard of these families, and immediately asked to help, inviting them to help themselves to the much needed food, baby, and household supplies in their food pantry and offering compassion and caring.  Also, Director Sandy Hershberger and people at the West Hills Food Pantry in Moon invited them in too, thoughtfully made Spanish versions of their forms for them, and asked them back with enthusiasm and warmth.  In addition, several Amigos donated rental assistance so that eviction at least is held off for now. 
     
SUGGESTED if you'd like to read more:
  • Please see the informative and clear "Undocumented Immigrants" slideshow (attached) presented by Carlos Adolfo Gonzalez at the PA Immigration & Citizenship Coalition, filled with salient myth-busting facts about this community in PA and the US.  Particularly important to know and communicate are the economic consequences: tremendous gains from a path to citizenship, and the huge costs of deportations.
  • A news story that just asks: what kind of country do we live in now? "10-year-old immigrant is detained after agents stop her on way to surgery", Vivian Yee, New York Times, Oct. 25.
Thank you for joining us!

(Earlier messages can be found here.)

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

News for Amigos de Casa San José: October 19, 2017

Dear Casa San José Amigos,
Welcome back to our weekly message!  Here’s what’s new:

HELP:

  • Moving day for Casa San José is fast approaching! Thursday 10/26 through Tuesday 10/31 - Just over the hill to Beechview at 2114 Broadway, 15216.  We could use your help.

    • Do you have a truck or van that we could use?
    • Can you drive back and forth a few times?
    • Could you donate some boxes ahead of time (bankers' or boxes with handles)?
    • Could you help lift and carry?
    • If you can do any of these, please email Sister Valerie with details and times available - srvalerie@casasanjose.org.  Thank you!!

  • Casa San José is raising money to send 23 local DACA youth, immigrant families, and allies to Arizona on Nov. for the SOA Watch National Convergence. This trip is incredibly important in creating a strong immigrant justice community locally and nationally. Casa San Jose is just $2,000 short of having the resources they need to pay for travel, lodging, etc.  Please reach out to Christina at the Thomas Merton Center - 516-510-6042 or christinacastillo@thomasmertoncenter.org - if you are able to donate. We are also selling beautiful, meaningful t-shirts (pictured) both at our office at 933 Brookline Blvd. and at the Thomas Merton Center at 5129 Penn Ave.

     







    ACTION:
    • We want the US House to bring a clean Dream Act (HR 3440) to the floor for a vote ASAP.  You can further that by contacting your Congressperson this quick and easy way.  The link tells you all the information.  Rep. Mike Doyle is the only one in our area that has signed.  Background: the Congressional Hispanic Caucus is getting signatures on a "discharge petition" which will release the bill from committee for a vote. They need 218 signatures and currently have 195. This is our greatest chance at winning a clean bill with no enforcement. And we can only do it the same way we won health care, with a massive show of public insistence. If the discharge fails, we will be left with negotiations on how many deportations each dreamer's future is worth - and Trump's latest draconian anti-immigration demands.
     NEWS:  


    • Organized by Casa San José, the Mobile Mexican Consulate held a one-day service point in the gym of Central Catholic High School in Oakland last Saturday. Hundreds of community members came seeking passports and other documentation, and CSJ sponsored free consultation with lawyers and activities for the children. There were also representatives from helping organizations with healthcare information, flu shots, library books, and other services for immigrants. Delicious food made by our families was for sale to support the SOA Border Watch trip (see above.) Many thanks to our wonderful volunteers who offered their time, expertise, and strong arms.  

    • We are expanding our programs for Latino youth:  Keystone Oaks and Beechwood Elementary after-school programs will join our Brashear High School after-school program ("Jóvenes con Propósito") and our Saturday Teen Outreach program ("Puentes Hacia el Futuro".)  They are run by our youth community organizer, Jeimy Sanchez-Ruiz, and our new intern Katie Campagna. They nurture and empower immigrant students from ages 5-22 by providing homework help, ESL support, mentorship, cultural activities, and educational field trips. For the older kids, there are vocational workshops and college prep, and participation in youth community organizing activities locally and state-wide. Our goal is to “bridge the gap,” to encourage them to take pride in their families' heritage, and to also embrace the elements of their new home. We provide a safe, supportive space where they can learn, talk about their challenges, brainstorm solutions, and make friends.
    • On Friday, Jeimy took 12 of our high schoolers to ScareHouse for some Halloween fun, thanks to Tickets for Kids Charities.
    SUGGESTED if you'd like to read more:

      Thank you for joining us!


      (Earlier messages can be found here.)

      Monday, October 9, 2017

      News for Amigos de Casa San José: October 11, 2017

      Dear Casa San José Amigos,
      Welcome back to our weekly message!  Here’s what’s new:

      HELP:
      • This Friday, October 13th at 6 pm at Central Catholic High School in Oakland to help set up for the visit of the Mexican Consulate the following day.  If you can come, please email Sr. Janice at srjanice@casasanjose.org
      • SOS from Ivan, one of our Amigos, who is collecting aid to Puerto Rico - needed by this Thursday night, Oct. 12 (flying to PR on Friday.)  Drop off in box outside office 7601 at Carnegie Mellon's Gates-Hillman building (map).
        • Please donate old/spare duffel bags/backpacks/carry-ons that can hold 50 lbs.
        • Batteries D size, to power the portable clinic that is going to be used by the medical doctor traveling with us.
      • Casa San José is moving! Thursday 10/26 through Tuesday 10/31 - Just over the hill to Beechview at 2122 Broadway.  And we could use your help:
        • Do you have a truck or van that we could use?
        • Can you drive back and forth a few times?
        • Could you donate some boxes ahead of time (bankers' or boxes with handles)?
        • Could you help lift and carry?
        • If you can do any of these, please email Sister Valerie with details and times available - srvalerie@casasanjose.org.  Thank you!!
        • Also volunteer architect needed for designing a small related project: a passage door in load-bearing wall - please contact Julian at julian@casasanjose.org
        ACTION:
        • PICC (PA Immigration and Citizenship Coalition, one of our partners) recently gave out some helpful "advocacy tips" which they apply to state legislators but are useful for federal and city representatives as well.  Please keep calling. Our state legislators are receiving many anti-immigrant calls:  we need to counteract them.
        WHO SHOULD YOU CALL? 
        1) Mainly, your Representative  (For your state representative: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/findyourlegislator/)
        2) Also helpful, Committee Members  (For state bills and which committee they are in: http://www.legis.state.pa.us . Attached is a current list of immigrant-related bills with brief descriptions - also "priority legislators".)

        WHAT DO YOU SAY?
        1) Mainly, “I support immigrant and refugee communities. I ask you to vote against all anti-immigrant and anti-refugee legislation.”
        2) Great to add: a personal story or reason why you care about the issue.
        You do NOT have to be an expert on the issue!
        3) Important: Make sure the office takes down your name and stance on the issue.
         NEWS:  
        • The 4.12K Run for Casa San José on Sunday morning was a big success - 100 runners and walkers registered, everyone had a great time and the weather was ideal.  Angela Wateska and her wonderful crew from 412 Resistance took care of everything perfectly, and volunteers from Bend the Arc were there with water and encouragement. MANY thanks to Angela and everyone else who helped with this event!  
        • The ¡Que Viva Clemente! fundraiser on Saturday was filled with people enjoying beautiful music, dance, solidaridad, and lechón celebrating Hispanic Heritage month. MANY thanks to Guillermo Perez and the Pittsburgh LCLAA (Labor Council for Latin American Advancement) which organized everything, to the many generous sponsors, and to all the volunteer helpers! ¡Que viva Clemente! ¡Que viva Puerto Rico! ¡Que viva Casa San José! ¡Que viva nuestra bella comunidad latina de Pittsburgh!
        SUGGESTED if you'd like to read or hear more:

        Thank you for joining us!


        (Earlier messages can be found here.)

        Wednesday, October 4, 2017

        News for Amigos de Casa San José: October 4, 2017

        Dear Casa San José Amigos,
        Welcome back to our weekly message!  Here’s what’s new:

        HELP:

        • From Monica: ICE has hit several times in Aliquippa the last few weeks leaving many women and children alone without their head of household, they are in desperate need of financial help (rent, food). If there are any families that can help in any way, please contact Monica at monica@casasanjose.org
        ACTION:
        • Come to our Food Sale for Migrant Justice at 5120 Penn Ave this Friday, Oct. 6 as part of the First Friday on Penn Ave. celebration!  Delicious food made by immigrant families will be served, with all proceeds go towards sending DACA youth, families, and allies to protest the border wall and connect with thousands of other migrant justice advocates at the SOA Watch Convergence in Nogales, AZ in November. We'll also be selling beautiful t-shirts which you can also get at our office.
        • From PICC:  Last week the PA House voted to pass HB1095, which would require additional proof of citizenship to obtain public benefits. The Senate version of the bill - SB9 -  is now in the Senate State Government Committee.  HB 1095 & SB 9 are anti-immigrant legislation intended to prevent undocumented immigrants from receiving "public benefits" even though they are already barred from all major public benefit programs in Pennsylvania. They are meant to stigmatize and spread misinformation about immigrants. Other effects of the bill would make it harder for US citizens, especially seniors, the unemployed and the disabled, to get the benefits they are entitled to. Please contact your State Senator (find them here) to tell them to vote NO.  More explanation and talking points are here.
        • It's almost time for the celebration "¡Que Viva Clemente!" (click here to get tickets and more info.)  this Saturday, Oct. 7 from 7-10 pm at Alphabet City on the North Side.  Proceeds go to support our work at Casa San José.  Tickets also available at the door. !Vámonos!
        NEWS:  

        • Here's a photo of protestors gathered last week at Sen. Toomey's office to fight for immigrant rights and specifically a permanent law for DACA.

        SUGGESTED if you'd like to read or see more:

        Thank you for joining us!



        Wednesday, September 27, 2017

        News for Amigos de Casa San José: Sept. 27, 2017


        Dear Amigos de Casa San José,

        Welcome back to our weekly message!


        ACTION:  
        Today we are sending out this alert, just sent to us by our partners at PICC and CASA:  Standing Up for Dream Act, Thursday will be the Largest Statewide day of Action in PA History. 
        • Please call your Representative in the House to ask that she/he sign the “Discharge Petition” to move the clean DREAM act to the floor.  For more info, see below and the attached document.  Find your Rep.’s telephone # here.  (Doyle has already signed – you can thank him. See signatures here.)
        • Background: Monday, the Dems began collecting signatures to circumvent the normal committee process and take a clean DREAM act bill directly to the floor of the house.  They need 218 signatures and currently have 191 with a few more commitments secured at our action on the hill today.  But we have at least 20 to go, and if we are getting 20 a couple will likely need to be from PA. This is our greatest chance at winning a clean bill with no enforcement. And we can only do it the same way we won health care, with a massive show of public outrage from all fronts.   If the discharge fails, we will be left with negotiations on how many deportations each dreamer's future is worth. (Attachment: talking points on DREAM and Discharge Petition)
        • Please help show support at the Action for DACA TODAY (Thursday) at Sen. Toomey’s office, 310 Grant St. Downtown, 12-1 pm
        HELP:
        • Jeimy has created a GoFundMe site to help residents of the town of Asunción Ixtaltepec, Oaxaca, Mexico, where more than 80% of their homes have collapsed due to an 8.2 level devastating earthquake on Sept. 7.  Jeimy, who knows many people in the town and is vetting our partners there, says: "A lot of attention has been drawn to the most recent earthquake in Mexico City which is important, but this town needs our help too. Please help us raise funds quickly so that the town can buy food, water, medical care and help to rebuild their homes and schools." More information is on the site, and photos will follow.
        Thank you for joining us!

        (Earlier messages can be found here.)

        News for Amigos de Casa San José: November 18, 2017

        Dear Casa San José Amigos, Welcome back to our weekly message!  Here’s what’s new: First, a special invitation: please come to our Casa...