Since Mayor John Cranley’s 2015 announcement affirming his commitment to making Cincinnati the most immigrant-friendly city, Catholic Charities Southwestern Ohio was at the forefront of this endeavor.
Cranley assembled a task force to write Cincinnati’s welcoming plan, which included creating a community ID as a priority initiative. Alisa Berry, chief operating officer of the CLINIC affiliate, in particular, was instrumental in turning this goal and legislative premise into action.
FaithAction International House, a CLINIC affiliate led by the Rev. David Fraccaro, a minister in the United Church of Christ, is continuing to make great strides in promoting and encouraging immigrant integration in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Located in the heart of Downtown Silver Spring, Maryland, the 35-foot high Positivi-Tree towers above the crowd, filled with brightly colored umbrellas. The artists created the installation with their multicultural community in mind, saying, “Positivi-Tree was designed to represent coming together, feeling safe as well as friendship, unity and inclusivity.
In an article for the web page of the Diocese of Orange, Bishop Kevin W. Vann, who chairs CLINIC’s board of directors, explained what we do and how it fits into the Catholic Church’s social teaching. This is a slightly edited version of the original blog.
By Bishop Kevin W. Vann
Shortly before Christmas a large box arrived at CLINIC’s office in Silver Spring, Maryland.
There was no note of explanation. The return address was for the Toledo Correctional Institution.
The contents: 550 handmade greeting cards, illustrated with favorite children’s cartoon characters, religious symbols and other colorful drawings.
Even before the Paris terrorist attacks in November, a CLINIC affiliate in Biloxi, Mississippi, was getting pushback for processing refugees.
The call by various politicians to make it even more difficult for refugees – particularly Syrians – to be admitted to the United States is causing fallout for several CLINIC affiliates.
Working at CLINIC’s national office sometimes gives me the impression I am in the engine room of a great ocean liner. My coworkers are alongside me in the boiler room. The “crew” is our affiliate staff in 275 agencies with 1,800-plus immigration counselors. The “passengers” are immigrants they serve. We are traversing the globe. The forecast is clear. It’s full steam ahead.
CLINIC recently worked in partnership with the DePaul University School of Law to help key immigration service providers in Chicago learn more about developments at the National Visa Center (NVC) and improvements to come. Overall, the engagement was a tremendous success. It provided an important overview of the past and upcoming changes at the NVC and started a very important dialogue among the NVC team, CLINIC, and its affiliates on the effects of those improvements, suggestions for refinement, and opportunities for enhancements.
Reflections on the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina elicit dark memories of loss of life, displacement and destruction. But looking back also reminds us of great acts of heroism and abundant generosity. For social and political reasons, we should take a long, hard look back at 2005 and where we are as a nation today. CLINIC looks back and recalls its own response to the destruction and how the Gulf Coast looks today from the perspective of welcoming immigrants and creating opportunities for social integration in the process.