There’s nothing like the thrill of sharing a meal with 100’s of determined, brave immigrants, refugees and newly sworn-in U.S. citizens who make Massachusetts such a great place to live. Members of Watertown Citizens’ Refugee Support Group had the honor of again attending the annual Thanksgiving luncheon organized by the Mass. Immigration and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA) at the State House.
Senator Linda Dorcena Forry, who moderated the event and is herself the child of Haitian immigrants, was joined by the passionate voices of many other advocates and public officials, including Representative Jeffrey Sanchez, Attorney General Maura Healey, State Health & Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders, Sister Marie-Judith Dupuy, Emerson College President M. Lee Pelton, and former U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez.
No doubt the most moving moment of the afternoon was hearing from DACA dreamer Paola Sanchez, who has worked in the US since the age of 14, both to support herself and to send money home to support her mom and sisters. She is now a full-time student at MassBay Community College. It’s hard to fathom how she finds the energy to work 30 hours a week, care for her toddler son, and attend college to fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming a nurse. Her fears have understandably skyrocketed with each new deportation order of the Trump administration.
At the celebration, National Democratic Chairman Tom Perez inaugurated the first ever Young Champion of Justice Award, established by his family in memory of his niece Analisa Smith-Perez. Smith-Perez had dedicated her short life to social justice, both as a MIRA intern and attorney. Tom Perez presented the award to Lily Huang, who has worked tirelessly for Massachusetts Jobs With Justice. She reminded all attendees of the need to work for workplace justice; to remember the farmworkers who suffer under daunting conditions to provide the food we eat on
Thanksgiving as well as every day; and to remember those who are separated from loved ones and live in fear of detention and deportation.
Watertown Citizens for Peace, Justice and the Environment (WCPJE) is a proud organizational member of MIRA, and is grateful to the WCPJE Refugee Support Group for its work on behalf of Massachusetts refugee families. For more information, visit www.watertowncitizens.org or write to email@example.com