From the Desk of KIAC’s Executive Director

The vote is precious. It is the most powerful nonviolent tool we have in a democratic society, and we must use it.

 –John Lewis,  member of the US House of Representatives for Georgia and late civil rights activist

Dear Friends of KIAC,

John Lewis’s quote about voting being the most powerful nonviolent tool we have resonated with me as I voted for the first time after having become a US citizen a few months ago. We witness so many acts of explicit and implicit violence around us — whether it’s the continuing war in Ukraine or the eroding of rights by the Supreme Court and individual states leading to violent outcomes for the people concerned. And while all the violence leaves one feeling helpless and impotent, the very process of voting is a truly incredible antidote to reinstating the power of each individual voice.

After the first round of primaries in early August, we witnessed the power of this nonviolent tool expressed by the voices of the voters in Kansas who vetoed an initiative that would have taken away their right of choice. I was excited and grateful to participate in this ritual that I could only observe from the sidelines prior to becoming a citizen. In doing so, I felt a part of the larger collective who were also expressing their voices through their votes.

I wanted to share a few highlights in July from the work we do at KIAC:

  • Over the past few months we have grown as an organization with 10 staff members at KIAC as of July. One recent addition to our staff is Alex who has joined as a Paralegal in Immigration Legal Services. Alex brings his lived experience as an immigrant and his trilingual skills to the passion and dedication for his work.
  • In addition to our regular weekday health and dental clinics, we continue to offer a Saturday clinic for those needing services who are unable to attend on a weekday. One of our medical clinic providers helps KIAC clients manage their diabetes. Learn more about that program by watching this video. 
  • Our one-on-one services / drop-in resource center continues to see an increase in activity as immigrants reach out for resources:
    • Family Services staff members fielded over 200 phone calls in July and provided 43 in-person client appointments, for a total of over 150 unique households.
    • Healthcare or medical bills were topics during 109 of these conversations. Legal inquiries came up 29 times. And housing was an issue 24 times, in addition to other questions.

I cannot sign off without acknowledging that our work at KIAC would not be possible without your support. We remain grateful to you for expressing your voice through your continued support of KIAC.

In Gratitude,

Thangam Chandrasekaran