Like you, we are heartbroken by the images of the destruction of Ukranian cities, the deaths of civilians, and the millions of people — mostly women and children (and often, their pets) — fleeing for their lives. We are inspired by Ukrainian courage and the leadership of President Zelenskyy. Along with the horror and cruelty, there are so many acts of generosity and love, as people around the world mobilize to help Ukraine.
This month’s quote from the book “Nonviolent Soldier of Islam” is by Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, often referred to as Frontier Gandhi. Our mission at KIAC is to offer assistance to those from anywhere in the world who come to the United States seeking safety. This past month, we “sowed our seeds” in the following ways.
Continue reading From the Desk of KIAC’s Executive Director
In January, KIAC received an urgent call from a woman whose husband was detained in the Northwest ICE Processing Center in Tacoma. Maria and her husband Simón, (names changed for confidentiality) fled their native country after receiving harassment and threats from elements of their government — a government Simón and his family had been in opposition to for years. After a hard and dangerous trip, this young couple crossed the US-Mexico border and turned themselves into immigration agents — seeking asylum.
Both were detained, but for medical reasons, Maria was released. After visiting Simón, we filed a motion for a bond hearing with the immigration court. We presented our case in detail at the bond hearing and the judge granted a bond the family could afford.
We met Simón at the detention center gate upon his release and arranged a place for him to stay and a ride to the airport. Simón was reunited with Maria the next day.
We couldn’t do this work without the support of our community. Kitsap Great Give early giving is OPEN and all gifts are boosted! Schedule your gift today at https://kitsapgreatgive.org/profile/s/kitsap-immigrant-assistance-center
February may have been a shorter month, but it was certainly filled with more than its share of heartbreaking news. Between the wars unfolding in Ukraine and continuing in Yemen, and the release of the Sixth Assessment Report by the IPCC regarding the climate crisis, we at KIAC have grappled with finding our place in it all.
One of our staff members came upon our quote of the month by Ursula Wolfe-Rocca, a writer for the Zinn Education Project.
It can be overwhelming to witness/experience/take in all the injustices of the moment; the good news is that “they’re all connected.” So if your little corner of work involves pulling at one of the threads, you’re helping to unravel the whole cloth.
It seems particularly fitting, as we steadfastly continue KIAC’s work for our immigrant neighbors.
Throughout the month of February, KIACcontinued to “pull at our thread” through our work.
- KIAC assisted our partner Peninsula Community Health Services in a second Covid-19 vaccine event in late February. Between the two vaccine events in January and February, 191 community members were vaccinated — 135 adults and 56 children.
- Our Immigration Legal Services team successfully negotiated a bond hearing for a client held at the Northwest ICE Processing Center. This client and their spouse fled their native country after receiving threats and harassment from the government. After turning themselves into immigration agents on arrival in the United States, one spouse was sent to Tacoma and the other was released to family in another state. Thanks to the work of our Legal team, our client was released from the Northwest ICE Processing Center on a bond the family could afford, and was reunited with their spouse the next day!
- KIAC was one of the 100+ organizations to sign a letter pushing for a $30 million state fund for refugee resettlement in Washington State.
March is underway, and with it comes new opportunities.
- KIAC needs tax preparation volunteers! Interested in getting involved or know someone who is? Email Graciela to find out more.
- We are getting back into the community and look forward to sharing information about KIAC and what we do in an informational session at Kol Shalom Jewish Congregation on March 22.
- Mark your calendars! Kitsap’s biggest day of giving — Kitsap Great Give — is Tuesday, April 19. We will be in touch in the coming weeks with information about how to get involved.
When reflecting upon the past month, I continue to feel gratitude for the partnerships that make our work at KIAC possible. Thank you for your support.
Thangam Chandrasekaran, Executive Director