The big question that we hear all the time these days in our community is, “What’s going on at La Luz, how is everyone doing?”
The answers tend to be as complex and complicated as the issues facing all of us today: financial and physical health and wellness.
With our immigrant community, these complicated issues seem to be migrating from reactionary to proactive as we settle into the next four years. Change comes in many forms, some welcome, some not so welcomed. It’s the unwelcome change that at times shakes us up, scares us and forces us to take action. Action to keep the promise that we made to ourselves and our families when we immigrated here, to strive, to thrive, to build a better life for ourselves, our children and our community.
These promises now being held close to the heart, have moved our undocumented community to prepare, and to take action. Action to secure their place by starting the long process to citizenship. And other more immediate actions, such as setting up notarized, legal, paperwork to provide guardianship for their children in the event of immediate detainment or deportation; and learning about their rights and the responsibilities that come with those rights.
How does La Luz Center play into all this? As it always has, in the role of advocate for all our Sonoma Valley. To empower, to educate and in some cases, to protect.
To date La Luz’s immigration support has provided: ‘know your rights’ workshops, guardianship workshops, greater coordinated advocacy, meetings with immigration lawyers and our continued classes in ESL, citizenship, computers, health & wellness and financial security.
Have calls and visits increased? Yes! La Luz has seen a steady increase as our neighbors and friends try to navigate their way to becoming eligible to remain in and contribute to our vibrant and thriving Sonoma.
Currently over 60 percent of students in our local schools are children of immigrants. These children, U.S. citizens, are watching and learning from their parents how to deal with adversity, overcome struggles and succeed. Let’s work together to keep these children feeling welcomed, wanted and safe. Our future is in their hands.
Believing that we are one Sonoma Valley, together we shall not let fear and insecurity divide us — this is a time for action!
So many of you have said “We feel helpless; what can we do?” You can help support our immigrant community by sharing information on workshops, lending a listening ear, being compassionate and empathic and donating to La Luz’s Nuestro Futuro Fund. This new fund will help us maintain and expand our many ongoing efforts on behalf of the immigrant community. For more information about the fund please contact La Luz Center at 707.938.5131 ext. 102, or visit our website, www.laluzcenter.org,