I am writing to thank you for the steadfast support of past year.
While immigration policies and the political climate have not improved for our newcomer neighbors, countless people and organizations have entered the struggle for justice. Where I serve in greater Boston people of all faiths and no faith are organizing to provide basic human needs, transportation and acts of solidarity. My personal experience of providing pastoral care to ICE detainees has revealed that one of the most important things we can do is listen and be present.
Over the past year the Springfield, MA, Trinity UMC and Woburn, MA, Woburn UMC legal clinics and now joined by the Lawrence, MA Christ UMC and Lowell, MA, Centralville UMC clinics have been listening while being present through acts of hospitality and free quality legal services.
Because of the financial support of local congregations, church and community members New England JFON has been able to expand into Lawrence and Lowell to provide specialized legal assistance to unaccompanied minors. Our legal services partner Northeast Justice Center has been granted $50,000 by New England JFON to hire a full-time attorney for the two clinics.
However, while the hiring process for the Lowell and Lawrence NEJFON clinics is underway the clinics have opened their doors. Here is a recent report from one of our volunteer attorneys.
JFON Lowell met recently with two minor children from Uganda. Both had entered the USA on performer visas as part of a dance troop. Both children lost parents due to violence in Uganda and were taken in by a UMC Lowell church member who has been named Legal Guardian of the two young men. JFON Lowell will be assisting these young boys with processing as Special Immigrant Juveniles which will make them eligible for US Permanent Residence after a very long process.
The need for free and low cost immigration legal services is great in all of our communities. New England JFON is investing in legal services partnerships, pro-bono attorney relationships and low-cost legal assistance. The approach must be multi-faceted and your support is key to this effort. Thank you again for your donations, attending a fundraiser, volunteering and praying for justice for our newcomer neighbors.
And our support comes from beyond New England. I welcome you to share the video above produced by the National JFON staff using artwork by JFON friend Paula Zinngrabe Wendland, titled Come Home Winter.
As you approach the final days of 2018 I ask that you consider an end of the year donation to New England Justice for Our Neighbors. To make a financial contribution, go to the Donation
page on our website, or mail a check to NEJFON at the address below.
Gary Richards, NEJFON Board President