Sisters in the Washington, DC/Maryland area have focused on the 2nd Chapter Priority, Looking on our World Through the Eyes of Claudine, and Responding to its Miseries. Our Provincial Chapter saw that one of the needs in our midst was the plight of refugees, and called us to reach out to them. Our region, which includes the nation’s capital, has received many immigrants fleeing poverty or persecution.
RJM are connected with three groups:
The Interfaith Round Table was established by a non-profit organization, Human Rights First, which works with asylum seekers, i.e., persons fleeing persecution. Through this organization, we have helped a family of four from El Salvador with housing, “adopted” another family at Christmastime by providing gifts, and contributed to a winter clothing drive. The latest initiative of the Human Rights First group is sponsoring workshops that inform underrepresented families of their rights and connects them to legal services. In the present political climate, this is a vital need.
A Coalition of Participants from Pax Christi, Temple Beth Ami, and the Islamic Center of Maryland has welcomed RJM into their circle of supporters for two Syrian families. Communities have budgeted for a monthly contribution to one family to help meet their needs, and have registered the families for assistance at a parish food pantry. As important as material help is the communication of welcome and acceptance.
St. Camillus Catholic Parish coordinates some services to immigrant families, including transportation to required court appearances, as they seek documentation that assures legal status in the country. One RJM, a member of the parish council, has taken part in this service.