Introducing our New Board Chair!
New England Justice for Our Neighbors is very pleased to introduce our new Board Chair, Margaret Bradshaw!
Margaret is very familiar with New England JFON, having served first as Clinic Co-coordinator of our Central Massachusetts clinic in Worcester beginning in 2019, and then as Clinic Coordinator since October 2021. She has also been a member of our Board since 2020.
Miles for Migrants Update
"I'm very excited for the opportunity to serve as Board Chair of New England Justice for Our Neighbors," says Margaret. "As I move into this role, I'm thankful for Gary's past leadership and guidance. I look forward to building on the success of the past ten years, working closely with Jenna, our legal partners, our volunteers and supporters, and the rest of the Board to serve even more of our immigrant neighbors in the next decade!"
When not volunteering many hours of her time with us, Margaret works as a freelance consultant in Business Operations. Before that, she enjoyed a career of over ten years in Quality Assurance and as Data Analyst/Process Coordinator for an ice cream manufacturer based in Western Massachusetts. A native of Southern California, Margaret was a teacher and administrator in the private school sector for ten years before her move to Massachusetts in 2007. In her spare time, Margaret enjoys managing her book club, visiting out-of-state family and friends, and spending time with her cat, Teddy.
"I am so pleased to welcome Margaret into her new role on the Board," says Executive Director Jenna Andelman. "I know that she has the skills necessary both to manage our transition to a new Board Chair and to make New England Justice for Our Neighbors even more successful in the future. I look forward to our partnership."
We all wish Margaret the best of luck in her new position!
Time is passing, and just over a week remains until Gary's big race. For those of you who have not yet had the chance to check out our Miles for Migrants blog, here is the latest post.
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Checking the extended forecast is a pre-race ritual for many runners. We want to know what to expect when we toe the line on race day.
So far the weather looks good for October 15-16, but we all know that a 9-day New England weather prediction and 50 cents might get you a half of cup of coffee! I will be preparing for the cold and rain as well as the sun and wind. Luckily, this race will bring me back to my base camp every 15 miles, so I can change clothes and shoes if needed.
As I have been preparing for the race, my thoughts have been with the Venezuelan migrants who were misled and transported from Texas to Martha's Vineyard. It's difficult to imagine how these immigrants must have felt, being promised so much and then landing on a remote island where every promise proved to be a lie. Thankfully, local residents and organizations quickly put into place a hospitality plan, and lawyers are now at work preparing cases, but these immigrants' situations are far from resolved.
Worrying about the possibility of cold weather on a race day is a privilege compared to the types of uncertainty many of our migrant sisters and brothers face everyday. I am grateful that so many have joined this effort to extend free, expert legal services to migrants that arrive in Western, Central, and Northeastern Massachusetts. Every donation to New England Justice for Our Neighbors contributes to our shared effort to provide immigration justice and create a brighter forecast for our clients' futures.
If you would like to join the team of race sponsors, follow this link. Thank you!
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We invite and encourage all of our friends to share the news of this fundraiser widely in order to maximize the impact of each of Gary's 100 miles and to give him a great send-off as he departs New England JFON!
Thank you for your support!
Advocacy Update: Marijuana Pardons for Migrants
You have likely heard about President Biden's announcement yesterday of his plan to pardon thousands of people convicted under federal law of marijuana possession. The plan also reclassifies marijuana to a less serious class of drugs. Biden has called on governors to pass similar rules for state-level offenses. Governor Baker has not yet stated whether he will answer this call.
These pardons will be welcome to many, especially the people of color who are disproportionately convicted for marijuana possession despite similar rates of marijuana use. However, the plan does not cover undocumented immigrants at this time. Any conviction can invalidate an immigrant's chances of receiving asylum or other types of visas. Including undocumented migrants in this pardon and ensuring that there would be no repercussions of these convictions in immigration proceedings would potentially open the door for legal status to thousands of additional immigrants.
For more information on this topic, read this letter from the National Immigration Project: National Immigration Project Calls on President Biden to Include All Immigrants in Marijuana Conviction Pardons (nipnlg.org)
Did You Know?
Due to the economic collapse of their country in 2015, Venezuelans have become the second-largest group trying to come into the U.S., second only to Mexicans. U.S. border officials stopped Venezuelans over 25,000 times in August. That number was 43 percent higher than the number in July and four times the number from the same month one year earlier.
In case you missed it, check out our 2021 Impact Report. Read all about last year's successes and our future plans here.
Still live! Our "10 for 10" campaign for monthly donors - with a one-for-one match! Click here to participate.