Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Moving Day: January 2nd!

Housing has been found for Jimy and family in Waterloo, and the big moving day will be January 2nd! We will need help doing a final cleaning of the house, as well as moving a couch, bedding, chairs, and a few other donated items. If you would like to donate furniture and/ or cleaning supplies, (i.e. a vaccuum cleaner) and have not yet notified us, please do so ASAP so that we can plan to move it on that day if possible. To donate items, food, money, and/or to help the family move, please contact me at heather.flory@yahoo.com

Thank you again to all who have already donated money, clothing, and other items. The Gomez family is very appreciative and grateful for everything they have received!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Family Members Reunited!

On Thursday, Jimy's wife (Marlene, 18) and their 7-month old son (Alexis) arrived from Guatemala along with the family members other u-visa recipients. Jimy and the husband of one of the other new arrivals met their family members at the Chicago airport at 2am, thanks to Michael Blevins, director of the NE Iowa Peace & Justice Center in Decorah, who drove through the night to allow this reunion to happen. All made it home safely and were happy to be reunited with their families. See below for a picture of Jimy, Marlene, and Alexis.

More happy news today is that we have now found a house for Jimy and his family! The six of them (the three shown above, plus Jimy's mom, sister, and one brother; his dad and youngest brother are still in Guatemala... for now) will move into their new home in Waterloo on January 2. This site will be updated over the next few days with more information about what kind of help may be needed in the move, and to help the family get settled into their new home. Also stay tuned for future posts from Jimy and his family.

Jimy and family are very grateful for the help they have received so far, and anticipate a very happy holiday week! Thank you all and we hope you have a blessed and happy holiday season as well!!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Welcome Party at the UUSBHC: Fun in Two Languages!

On Friday, 12/16/11, twenty-five people participated in the potluck dinner at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Blackhawk County to welcome Jimy and his family members who arrived with him from Guatemala (his mother, sister, and one brother). Jimy's uncle, aunt, and cousin who already lived in Waterloo also joined the party, along with several Unitarian Universalists (UUs), local guests, and Luis Argueta, a film director who is making a documentary about Jimy's family and four others who are either in the country on a u-visa, or soon on their way. Highlights of the party included introductions in English and Spanish, in which the most common phrase was "no hablo espanol muy bien", and in which the 17 year-old Guatemalan who was brave enough to introduce himself in English was greeted with a roaring applause; a UU blessing in English and Spanish; attempts at conversation in both languages; and some really great food. My personal favorite moment of the evening was when two of the children from the UU congregation (ages 10 and 8) asked me to invite the two youngest Guatemalan visitors (13 and 10) to play a game, and then watching the four children playing together without regard to language or cultural barriers for the rest of the evening. With all of the socializing, we ran out of time for playing music... so, another party may be in order once remaining family members arrive!

The family has been staying with Jimy's uncle and aunt this week, who have helped Jimy get settled in to their temporary home, sort through  donations of clothing, blankets, and more (thank you to all who contributed!), get Jimy signed up for his Social Security card, get kids registered for school, get vaccinations, and more.

We are still looking for housing for Jimy and family in Waterloo, and hope that they will be able to move in to their own place at the beginning of January. Funds from the NE Iowa Peace & Justice Center in Decorah will cover rent for a few months until the adult family members can begin work. If you know of any available housing, please email heather.flory@yahoo.com

Please see the wish list (link above) for additional items and other types of help still needed by the family, and stay tuned to this blog for more information as it becomes available.  

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Welcome Jimy and Family!

Greetings, all!

Jimy and three of his family members will be arriving from Guatemala on Thursday. Let's give them a big UU welcome! If you are available, please bring the entire family to the UUSBHC on Friday and  join us for dinner and music.   
5:30 setup and socializing
6pm potluck dinner 
7pm music and dancing

Black beans, rice and some chicken will be provided. Please bring a dish to share. If desired, you may also bring any of the following items to donate: a container to give your leftovers to the family, clothing (women's med/ men's med & large), bedding, school supplies, toiletries, cash / checks payable to UUSBHC (with u-visa in the subject line). Please email heather.flory@yahoo.com if you can help clean up. If you are musical, please bring your instrument(s)!

Thank you all, and I hope to see you on Friday!
Heather Flory

Friday, December 9, 2011

Are you looking for a way to make a difference?

by naden
Five Guatemalan families, caught up in the 2008 Agriprocessor’s Raid on Postville have become eligible for the U.S. Department of Immigration's U-Visa program. The five young men who are returning in December were employed at the Postville meat packing plant in violation of U.S. Child Labor Laws. Children as young as 14 were employed at the plant. A U-Visa allows those abused by illegal labor practices to be granted the right to temporary immigration status for 3 years and to bring immediate family members with them. After 3 years, the family will be eligible to apply for a permanent work visa and eventually for citizenship.

One of these five young men, Jimy, is moving to Waterloo this month with his family.

The N.E. Iowa Peace and Justice Center, in collaboration with the Decorah Area Faith Coalition, invites you to join us in helping Jimy’s family and other families get a fresh start in their new life here. This appeal is an opportunity to help put right some of the injustices many victims of the Postville raid have suffered.
Please consider three means of giving:
  • Money is needed to provide housing, clothing, food and transportation. We also hope to provide reimbursement for Sonia Parras, an immigration lawyer from Des Moines, who has donated countless hours to the tasks of applying for the U-Visas and working with both the U.S. and Guatemalan governments. Donations are tax deductible. Please consider a generous donation! Checks may be made out to: The U-Visa Fund @ N.E. Iowa Peace and Justice Center, 119 Winnebago St. Decorah, IA 52101, 563-382-5337
  • Clothes, furniture, and vehicles are needed. Now is the time to clean out your closet and give your extra “stuff” to someone who can use it!
  • Translators, advocates, and people willing to transport family members are needed.
  • Sponsorships by churches and other organizations are needed. The families will need help integrating into and navigating our communities and culture. Personal contact and friendships are the most precious gifts we have to give!