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OHIA Dec 2019 Updates

Two reasons why I have hope

In Youngstown, Toledo, and across the state, Ohioans are organizing teams to welcome immigrants arriving at bus stations, after they are released from detention and are making their way to their new homes in the U.S. Linda Alvarado-Arce, a leader of the Greyhound Connection in Toledo, told the Blade: “When they get dropped off at the bus station they come with nothing because they travel for months. So informally a whole network was created. Some people call it an overground railroad. It was created to fill the needs. And to make sure people could eat and people weren’t sick.” 

The New York Times recently attended the Young Women Run Columbus conference, hosted by Ignite, and wrote about the many inspiring young women from across Ohio who plan to run for office. Here is one:

Shradha Parekh, 21, a senior at Ohio State, said the 2016 election had made her realize “how much policies affect my life and the lives of the people I care about.” In 2018, Ignite chose her as its Columbus fellow, and she has spent the past year helping to start chapters at colleges throughout Ohio.

The experience has “empowered me as a woman and a woman of color to find my place in politics, because as we all know, that’s not necessarily a very welcoming space,” Ms. Parekh said. “Ignite has really changed my view on, yes, I do belong here in politics and I should get a seat at the table.”

Ohio migration anthology – call for writers and artists! 

My cousin Kevin Tasker and I are working on an anthology of short stories, poems, non-fiction pieces, and artwork by Ohio immigrants and refugees and their children (2,500 words or less). This includes African Americans who came to Ohio from the south during the Great Migration. We also want to include the perspective of a Holocaust survivor (or relative) who lives here now.

The contributions do not have to be ABOUT migration/movement, but they should have some connection to Ohio (even if it’s just that you live here). We want this to be an outlet for all types of expression!

The link to sign up is: http://bit.ly/OhioMigrantAnthology. There will be a conference call at 7pm on Monday, December 16, to answer questions. To join that call, dial 781-448-4471 and enter the PIN 25348. Don’t worry if you miss the call, I will publish notes afterwards at Ohio Immigrant Alliance’s Facebook page: OHIAFacebook.

Call for letters to detainees, + donations if you can spare it!

I know I ask for money often, but you know that the money goes directly to the people who need it! Following are some impactful donation opportunities, and a call for letters to two men detained in Ohio immigration jails. The detainees have been incarcerated for months, and hearing from you would help keep their spirits up.  

If you can spare…the cost of a postage stamp

Send a card or letter of goodwill to one or both of these immigration detainees. Both have been detained for a very long time and would love to hear words of encouragement and support. Email your letters to Marlene Tramonte (mmt5269@yahoo.com) or contact her for the address if you would like to mail them. DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION: 12/22/2019.

“S” is an Ohio man seeking asylum from Mauritania. He has lived here for decades and has a family, including children who are U.S. citizens. We have shown up for him at his asylum and bond hearings, and he has an excellent lawyer, but he is still fighting his case from behind bars. “S” has been detained for more than 14 months. (N.B. “S” is Muslim, so please do not send Christmas-themed cards.) Letters may be written in English.

“J” is a Central American father of two. He is detained in Ohio and was prevented from attending his hearing because of a chicken pox quarantine in the jail. “J” was forced to proceed on his asylum claim alone, in detention, without having a bond hearing. His lawyer is fighting multiple appeals for him, but his detention may last for months more. Letters may be written in Spanish, or English with Spanish translation. Contact ltramonte@ohioimmigrant.org if you need translation help.

If you can spare…$5

Donate to one of our current ***Flash $5 Fundraisers***! The money goes right into detained immigrants’ commissary accounts, so that they can buy food and other items to supplement the meager rations in jail and purchase phone time to call their families. All of these beneficiaries are detained in Ohio. 

“G” is a Honduran man, detained in Ohio, who needs to make phone calls to gather evidence for his immigration case and has no family to help him. Donate here.

“S” is the Mauritanian asylum-seeker mentioned above. Donate here.

“J” is the Central American father mentioned above. Read a thank you note from our previous campaign for him here. Donate here.

If you can spare…any amount

Awa Harouna is an Ohio woman who bravely spoke up on Netlfix’s “Living Undocumented” about how her father’s near-deportation to Mauritania has impacted her family. When her father, Amadou Sow, was detained for over a year, Awa set side school to support her family. Now that he is home she is getting back on track, but has a lingering unpaid bill from a previous semester. Please help her get rid of this debt so that she and her family can move forward. Donate here.

In Senegal, a young boy needs surgery so that he can walk again. Just a little over $2000 is all he needs to pay for the surgery, but that is an impossible fortune for his poverty stricken, single mother. This problem came to me by way of Hamidou Sy, a community leader in Columbus, and together we are raising the money to get this young boy on his feet and into his future. Donate here.

Thank you for reading this far and for all that you do in support of Ohio’s immigrants and refugees!