Belmont-Watertown Church Spring Concert to Support New England Justice for Our Neighbors

The following announcement was provided by Belmont-Watertown United Methodist Church:

Belmont-Watertown United Methodist Church is proud to present our annual Spring concert to support New England Justice For Our Neighbors (NEJFON), an organization that provides free expert legal advice to low- and no-income immigrants.   

A delightful program featuring our music director, Yilin You and her outstanding musician friends, will include music that ranges from classical to jazz, in forms of violin/piano duo, brass ensemble, and piano four-hands. Please join us in our beautiful sanctuary in Belmont for an evening of music followed by refreshments in the parlor. A $20 donation is suggested to NEJFON at the door, by using the QR code found on the poster, or by contacting

March 9, 7-9 pm, street parking.  Handicapped entrance off the small parking lot in the back of the church. 

The church is located at 421 Common St, Common St., Cushing Sq., Belmont MA.

Concert Focuses on Stories, Struggles, Triumphs of Immigrants

The following information was provided by Dinosaur Annex Music Ensemble:

On Friday, December 9, 2022 at 7:30 p.m., Boston-based Dinosaur Annex Music Ensemble kicks off its 48th season with Sonic Migrations, the third cycle of Hub of the Musiverse, a concert series which centers the stories, struggles, and triumphs of immigrants through new music. Whether through the inspiration behind each composition, or the composers themselves, each program highlights the diversity and importance of immigrant voices and centers their stories in our community. The program includes incisive works by Aida Shirazi and Golnaz Shariatzadeh, members of the Iranian Female Composers Association, an organization founded to provide a welcoming space for Iranian female-identifying compositional voices around the globe. Kareem Roustom’s Aleppo Songs takes urban folk songs from Aleppo, transforming them into grand pianistic gestures. Bongani Ndodana-Breen’s Emakhaya recalls scenes of village life of the Xhosa people of South Africa’s Eastern Cape province.

LETTER: Standing Up For Immigrants

“We believe in the inherent worth and dignity of every person, and in justice, equity, and compassion for all.”

So reads a large banner recently placed on the front lawn of the First Parish of Watertown. The banner is the centerpiece of a larger display of statements on smaller signs affirming the central role immigrants have played in the history of this country, and the deplorable conditions that they are now facing at our border with Mexico. As the signs confirm, President Kennedy once said “Everywhere immigrants have enriched and strengthened the fabric of American life.” Yet “Since 2018, at least 7 children have died in U.S. immigration custody, after 10 years in which no child reportedly died in U.S. Customs and Border Patrol custody.”

Another smaller sign tells us that according to Dr. Julie Linton, Co-chair of the Immigration Health Special Interest Group of the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Detention facilities are basically concrete floors with mats and barbed wire fencing and bright lights 24/7.”

The display calls public attention to the harsh and inhumane treatment thousands of immigrants have received at the Mexican border, and seeks to rally widespread support for immigration reform. It also aims to reassure immigrants in Watertown that they are welcome, respected, and valued in this community, in keeping with the words of U Thant, third Secretary General of the United Nations, who said “Every human being of whatever origin, of whatever station, deserves respect. We must respect others even as we respect ourselves.”

Near the end of the row of signs, a statement by Dina Nyeri reminds us that “It is the obligation of every person born in a safer room to open the door when someone in danger knocks.” The very last sign poses the challenge “What will you do?” A handout of positive actions everyone can take to support immigrants is available in a box next to this sign.

Local Church Hosting Valentine’s Fundraiser for Group That Helps Immigrants

The Belmont-Watertown United Methodist Church will host Hearts for Homes: An Evening of Music and Refreshments on Saturday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m.

The event will raise money for the New England Justice for Our Neighbors, a group that supports clinics that provide free and quality legal services to low income immigrants. The suggested donation for the event is $15. Heart for Homes will take place at the Belmont-Watertown United Methodist Church, Watertown Campus at 80 Mt. Auburn St., Watertown.

OP-ED: State Senate’s Letter to President on Separating Children from Parents Seeking Asylum

{The following letter was provided by State Sen. Will Brownsberger, and was sent on behalf of the Massachusetts State Senate}

June 20, 2018

President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Trump,

We write to you as a united and bipartisan group of Massachusetts State Senators, to denounce the immoral policy of separating children from their parents when they seek asylum at the United States border with Mexico. We believe this policy is toxic to our reputation as a country and, most importantly, damaging to the families it impacts. This policy has already separated over 2,300 children from their families; the federal government has an affirmative duty to reunite every family that was separated by this policy. Further, rising public knowledge of this new un-American practice by your administration has created outrage and deep sorrow across our country. In a time when politics regarding immigration policy has become more divisive than ever, response to these actions has united Republicans, Democrats, independents, family advocates, and business groups – all calling for the common sense practice to keep families united.

Police Want to Make Immigrants Feel Welcome, Cut Down on Drugs in Town

Watertown Police Chief Michael Lawn hopes to make the town welcoming to most people, including immigrants, but he wants officers to put more emphasis on enforcing traffic infractions as part of an effort to cut down on the amount of drugs in the area. 

Lawn spoke about the Police Department’s priorities during the budget hearing in front of the Town Council on Saturday. Since he became Police Chief two years ago Lawn has put an emphasis on community policing. “I want officers to get out of their car and get into stores and on the street and speak with people,” Lawn said. The Police Department has a number of programs where residents can meet police  in and participate in fun activities, such as the Cops & Rec sports activities for youngsters, the twice-monthly Coffee with the Chief at the Senior Center, and the Citizens Police Academy (which will be back this fall). Lawn wants to start offering a similar academy for youth, a program that the WPD used to offer and which Lawn himself attended.

LETTER: Event Shows How Watertown Welcomes Immigrants and Refugees

The message from Watertown was loud and clear last Sunday: Our community is not afraid to welcome and nurture immigrants and refugees. Over sixty people came to the Watertown Free Public Library to share stories and learn how to separate fact from fiction regarding immigration. Presented by Watertown Citizens Refugee Support Group (a working group of
Watertown Citizens for Peace, Justice & the Environment), President Sue-Ellen Hershman-Tcherepnin opened the afternoon with a reading of “New Colossus,” the poem by EmmaLazarus engraved on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. Refugee Support Group member and Immigration Attorney Elizabeth Goss framed
the conversation with facts about the past history and current situation of immigrants and refugees who reside in the U.S. She dispelled many harmful assumptions and myths, then introduced the 3 featured speakers: Watertown Police Lieutenant Daniel Unsworth, Watertown Middle School student and Kingian Non-violence Trainer Shivani Sharma, and international scholar/peace activist Dr. Yakir Englander. Lt. Unsworth spoke about the many challenges facing the WPD in their efforts to
ensure that all residents of Watertown feel safe and protected, regardless of their
immigration status.