Sometimes it’s good to be reminded about the good in the world when we’re constantly surrounded by disappointment and despair. I had one of those weeks last week and with my disgust with no immigration reform, it was nice to switch from being cynical to being hopeful for the future.
Klinke Immigration is a co-sponsor for Telemundo’s First Annual Todos Somos Héroes Atlanta(We Are All Heroes) campaign. At a celebratory luncheon last week, the heroes were announced and their stories were told.
The recipients were all amazing. Beyond the work they do that helps so many, they were gracious and humble. For example, the Sacrifice Hero Award went to Belen Reyes who is the Executive Director of Latinos for Education & Justice Organization (LEJO).
LEJO serves the Latino community in rural Calhoun, Georgia. Belen saw a need and instead of ignoring it, she poured her heart and energy into helping others. Her story can be seen here. Belen’s story is a reminder that one person can change the world for a better place, no matter how difficult the challenges may be.
Over the weekend, I was in Seattle for an AILA event. Over two days, I heard stories of immigration attorneys who volunteered their time in Artesia, New Mexico. Artesia is where children and young mothers from Central America who recently crossed the border are being detained while their immigration cases are pending.
The volunteers told of unprofessional officials, limited access to their clients, and horror stories of the living conditions the inmates face. Children were sick and losing weight at a rapid pace; and mothers were forced to tell the story of their repeated rapes in front of their children, in front of officers who questioned every detail, and in front of judges who weren’t there in person, but rather appeared on a tablet or smartphone.
The volunteer attorneys slowed down the deportation process for many and have shown that due process and the law cannot be ignored. They gave voice to the voiceless and explained these rights to the detainees. Simply by being there and showing them that someone cared had an immediate impact on the detainees.
Beyond that, though, the volunteers have successfully won a few cases, literally saving lives. Each attorney who has spent time in Artesia, fighting for the most vulnerable, is my hero.
Heroes are all around us, even when things appear to be at their worst. Thank you!