A few years ago, Foothills responded to the UUA’s call to learn about immigration justice in preparation for our Phoenix General Assembly. We worked with Plymouth Congregational Church to offer workshops around immigration, and reached out to local partners to better understand the needs of immigrants in our community. From this work together, a number of new initiatives for greater partnership and companioning of our immigrant neighbors have emerged….
- ESL Tutoring Program at La Familia – First, we heard the need for ESL Tutoring to be offered in conjunction with child care so that working parents especially could access the tools of increased fluency in English. Over the past two years, over 80 Foothills and Plymouth members and friends have provided tutoring at La Familia – the Family Center – a childcare center in north Fort Collins. Check out some photos of our ESL Tutors at work.
- DACA Workshops – We have been a part of a couple different efforts to reach out and support applicants for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, an administrative effort to defer deportation for people who arrived here as a child from another country without legal status.
- Larimer County Immigration Advisory Council for Jared Polis’ Office – Foothills sends at least 1 or 2 representatives to quarterly small group meetings with Jared Polis to advise about what we see in our community in terms of the immigrant experience and ways of enhancing justice, and to hear about happenings in congress towards immigration justice.
- Float this Family – Members of our congregation have taken the lead on companioning an immigrant family impacted by the floods of last fall, supporting them in rebuilding their life after losing so much, particularly without being able to access federal support due to their documentation status.
- Companioning Immigrant Family in Greeley – In partnership with the UU Church of Greeley, we are companioning a single mother who spent many months in a detention center and finally received asylum, but not without suffering the cost of losing her home and her job. Our support has allowed her to better access legal services and begin to rebuild her life after such significant losses.
- Immigration Play – Co-sponsored with Plymouth Congregational Church, “Do You Know Who I Am?” at Bas Bleu theatre, a play about the experience of immigrants who arrived in the United States as a child as they graduate from high school and find their opportunities lacking.
As we look ahead, we are thinking about ways to expand our outreach even further. We are building relationships with Together Colorado, a faith based organizing group, to help reach out across faith communities in the area. And we are starting to think about creating a Northern Colorado Immigrants Relief Fund that could be used to support more people facing legal fees, scholarship needs, the impact of detention, and beyond. We are also imagining another workshop to assist applicants for a deferred action program for the family members of those who have already received DACA that many anticipate (hoping!) President Obama will enact in the coming months. We are listening to our interfaith community partners about the ways we can make a difference for all of our good. We continue to look for ways of walking with our neighbors – to be companions of this shared journey of life – as we further the reach of love in our own lives, in Northern Colorado, and beyond.
If you have questions or want to get more involved with our Immigration Ministry, contact Anne Hall at firstname.lastname@example.org.