By Maria Odom*
It felt great to be back in New Orleans for CLINIC’s 2010 Annual Convening. The last time I was in the Big Easy was just weeks before Hurricane Katrina hit the city with its deadly force. Back then, my family had gathered in the city to celebrate my younger brother’s law school graduation. Victor, the youngest of four children, made us all immensely proud and grateful to our parents for their love and commitment to our education and formation.
Contributions by: Peggy Gleason, Yen Le, Kristina Karpinski, and James Porter
“On a recent visit to Miami to teach at a CLINIC training, I was impressed all over again by the great work of the Miami Catholic Charities immigration legal services,” says Peggy Gleason, Training and Legal Support Attorney for CLINIC. The program is located at ground zero for the multitude of Haiti assistance efforts that have sprung up since the January 12 earthquake. A third of the more than twenty people who work at the immigration program are Haitian in origin.
Most of us don’t think about our citizenship status. We claim our country of birth proudly. That pride is doubled for immigrants who wait eagerly to apply for citizenship and naturalize as American citizens. There is no doubt it is a moment to remember.
It is Sunday morning at a Dunkin Donuts on Long Island, NY. It is 5 a.m. in the early hours of Mothers’ Day, and a woman walks in looking distressed. The manager of the store, thinking she is homeless and feeling sorry because it is Mothers’ Day, gives the woman coffee and food. He then offers her his sweater because it is quite cold in the store and all she has on is a pair of pants and a towel. The employees attempt to communicate with her in Spanish, thinking she may be Hispanic, but the woman does not answer.