Subject: Uniting communities and standing together...

IIIC's BIA Accredited Representative Erica Snyder-Drummond stands with former client, Ronaldo Pires. We are delighted to see that Ronaldo is thriving since receiving US citizenship this past year. Congratulations, Ronaldo!  Photo credit: Susan Golden
I hope you are enjoying these beautiful summer days...

I am pleased to introduce our July newsletter, which provides clear insight into how the IIIC is suporting immigrant and refugee families through these challenging times. Our Welcome Center is a safe and vibrant space in downtown Boston for those needing legal, wellness, and education services, regardless of their country of orgin.

I've been reflecting recently that one of the most important and yet understated aspects of our work is that the IIIC is a safe place where immigrant families experience community. Each of us hungers for a sense of belonging and positive relationships. The Irish poet John O'Donohue writes in his book Eternal Echoes that “this hunger to belong is the echo and reverberation of your invisible and eternal heritage." The IIIC is a haven where people can meet each other heart with heart, culture with culture, and story with story.

Therefore, we are troubled by our state leaders' lack of support for the Safe Communities Act, which would protect the civil rights and well-being of all residents by drawing a clear line between immigration enforcement and public safety. The State House has been reluctant to stand up to fear-mongering by the anti-immigrant lobby. In the current political climate, we should all speak up for immigrant justice, safety, and equality. And yet, amidst an environment of anti-immigrant rhetoric and actions from the federal government, state leaders are putting politics over people. The greater good in this issue is the protection of our neighbors, not short-sighted political cover.

Please continue to support our work, and come visit our Center at some stage this summer.

Warm wishes and thank you,

Ronnie Millar
IIIC Executive Director
Announcing the details of our annual Solas Awards Gala!
The IIIC invites you to our 2018 Solas Awards Gala on December 6th, as we celebrate leaders who bring hope and light to our communities, and honor the many ways immigrants contribute to our society. Together, we can support immigrants and refugees as they journey from surviving to thriving.

Please contact Megan Miller to sponsor a table, reserve your seat, or for additional information at mmiller@iiicenter.org and 617- 695 -1554. 

IIIC's Summer ESOL Classes Journey Across Boston
IIIC's summer courses are in full swing with interactive classes, which use Boston's landmarks, art, and history to enhance student language skills and knowledge. ESOL class exploration outside of the classroom provide students with the ability to apply course material in a relaxed and inspiring environment. Over these warm summer weeks, our students arrive at the IIIC motivated and eager to learn. 

Last week, students ventured to the Back Bay Fens to practice English language ability and to learn more about Frederick Law Olmstead's beautiful work. Our students met this excursion with thought provoking questions and discussion. IIIC intern, Kasey DiLoreto, joined the Back Bay Fens trip and shares, "the students were not only there to learn, they were there to help one another. Whenever a student struggled to understand a concept or phrase, the class worked through it together. This class has quickly become family-like in its atmosphere."
Classes are filled with students from a number of countries, cultures, and backgrounds. During course discussion, students embrace their diversity in order to compare and draw connections. Our most recent ESOL Art & History course focused on renown American museums, and students were able to compare these icons to famous museums in their home countries. Kasey shares, "the great diversity in our classes enables students to learn about customs, not only in their new country, but from across the world! Students are encouraged to share their thoughts and opinions, making each class fascinating!" 
Join us to celebrate Bliain na Gaeilge 2018!
We are excited for our second informal Irish Chat night of the summer on July 26th from 6:15 - 8:15 pm. The conversation will be held on the 8th floor of One State Street in Boston. This is an exciting way to celebrate 125 years since the revival of the Irish language. As always, all levels of language ability are welcome - and Irish baked goods will be provided! 
Policy consequences for immigrants across the country and state
These past few weeks have been harrowing for the immigrant community.

While collective outrage successfully forced the administration to walk back their family separation policy, a recent executive order has opened the door to a legal battle over the 20 day limit on the detention of children set by the Flores settlement. If the government wins this upcoming fight, it would create the potential for families to be detained for months, or years, while their asylum cases are processed. Meanwhile, thousands of families remain torn apart, and though a federal judge has ordered that detained children be returned to their family within a month, there is no telling whether or not the government will comply with this order.

Congress needs to work on a bill to ensure that our government will no longer engage in such a process, and we all need to call our members of Congress to ask them to end family detention and separation - both at the border, and, in fact, even here in our very own district as immigrant parents are being deported at an unprecedented rate.

The Supreme Court’s recent decision to uphold the Trump travel ban is devastating for thousands of immigrant families, and for our economy. The IIIC will continue to work with the families who we are presently representing and who are affected by this policy. We stand with with immigrants from Yemen, Iran, Somalia, Libya, Syria, Venezuela, and North Korea.

We will persist in our fight for fair immigration policies, regardless of the hostile political climate.

Sadly, our Massachusetts politicians are mirroring Tump’s anti-immigrant policies by stripping out the four immigrant justice provisions from the 2019 budget. It is so disappointing that our local legislature will not support legalization that provides increased safety and security for all our Commonwealth.

Call to action: Please call Speaker DeLeo, Chairman Sanchez, and your state representative to express your frustration over this inaction. Please join us on Tuesday, July 24 at 11:00am for a major mobilization at the State House focused on winning immigrant justice in Massachusetts.

On a brighter note, a new law has been signed to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, implement a paid family and medical leave program, and establish a permanent sales tax holiday. This will greatly benefit the immigrant families we serve, providing increased economic opportunity

Thank you for your partnership and support of our advocacy efforts.

IIIC Staff Feature: Cherisse Woolard
Supporting Irish students through life-changing internships
Cherisse Woolard, the Manager of our Learning Exchange Program, joined the IIIC team in September 2016. She was motivated to work here after learning about the inclusive and welcoming environment that the center promotes. 

As a leader in LEP, Cherisse oversees day to day operations of the cultural exchange program that the IIIC is accredited to sponsor, which enables students and recent graduates from Ireland to come to the US for a 12 month internship opportunity. Cherisse engages directly with Irish students and graduates every step of the way, ensuring they have the best experience possible.

Here at the IIIC, Cherisse enjoys the motivation and support of her colleagues. She says, "The people I work with is what I most enjoy. Not every day is an easy one to handle because of special cases that come up, but the positive people I am surrounded by every day make it worth it."

Cherisse is constantly working to make our Learning Exchange Program better. Currently, she is working with new exchange visitors to determine their eligibility and hopes to make the interview and application process for the program as efficient as possible. She is also keen to expand our work, and is interested in exploring other cultural exchange options that the IIIC could support.

Cherisse is such a warm presence - she has a positive attitude and interactions with her truly put a smile on your face. Her ability to manage and balance complex projects and cases is particularly impressive, and we are thankful for her leadership and initiative. Cherisse's motivated spirit continues to move our Learning Exchange Program forward! Thank you for everything you do at the IIIC, Cherisse.

IIIC Wellness Services Here to Chat and Problem-Solve
At the IIIC, our wellness team celebrates, supports, and cares for immigrants today and everyday, whether in the office, on the phone or in the community. Never hesitate to reach out to Rachel Reisman, our licensed independent clinical social worker, for confidential support as you consider the next step, to chat, and to problem solve. 

Rachel Reisman, LICSW, rreisman@iiicenter.org 617.542.7654 x 14
Siobhan Kelly, skelly@iiicenter.org 617.542.7654 x 15

Thank you to Susan Golden of Eventide Photography for capturing the beautiful work we do here at the IIIC. We look forward to sharing your photos over the coming weeks! 

The Irish International Immigrant Center empowers more than 3,500 immigrants and refugees annually, from over 120 different countries, by providing the legal, wellness, and education support they need to build successful lives. Building on our Irish roots of welcoming others and social justice, we help newcomers find community and we are committed to standing up for immigration policies that are humane and just. America is a nation of immigrants, and despite the current political climate, we are proud to continue the tradition of welcoming immigrants to this country and working together to create a better future for all. 

Please consider supporting our work by making a donation.

The IIIC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit. All donations are tax-deductible.
www.iiicenter.org | 617.542.7654
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