AROC Participates in Immigrant Family Day, 2012

AROC and CJJC AROC participated in the sixth annual Immigrant Family Day in San Francisco on April 17th.  This day was a huge success, bringing together members and clients of the 13 member agencies of the SF Immigrant Legal and Education Network.  Five of AROC’s members participated in the day and provided key testimony to Supervisor Sean Elsbernd and a staff representative of Supervisor Christina Olague.In these meetings, AROC members asked the Supervisors to support key funding and legislation to ensure immigrants are welcomed into the City of San Francisco.  We attended these meetings with partners from other community organizations including Causa Justa:Just Cause (pictured with AROC above), La Raza Centro Legal, and African Advocacy Network.

AROC and African Advocacy Network at Sup Olague's Office

AROC and African Advocacy Network at Sup Olague’s Office

The SFILEN organizations presented personal stories as well as facts and figures to impress upon the Supervisors that we need them to fund our immigration network fully in the next budget year so we can continue to provide critical services and education to diverse immigrant communities.  In addition, the Supervisors must ensure that the rights of SF residents are protected when it comes to the S-Comm (Secure Communities) program, juvenile detention, and SFPD collaboration with the FBI.

Reflection from Participating AROC Member:

My experience participating in Immigrant Family Day was delightful. And thanks to AROC, my personal immigration process is taking a turn into the right direction.

I think of immigration as the right to exist as an Arab and the right to exist as a woman. These feelings that I am carrying from my home country are still with me no matter where I go. I have the right to live and express myself no matter where I am.

So the question is: Do I actually have my chance to live life with dignity and live my life fully? It should not be a question any longer because in the USA you meet people from all over the world and I, like them, do exist on earth and I would like to choose to live in a land that allows this freedom. Yes, I do have the right to be fully myself with all my parts existing with one another.

Immigrant Family Day brought me together with my Arab community and other communities facing the immigrant’s reality in SF. I got empowered on this day and I have heard so many voices that are asking to receive their rights. I have heard Asian, Arab and South American people who whether or not being successful in their legal process, are being challenged with receiving rights on other levels. I heard amazing personal stories from the Arab immigrants who went through the process of coming to a new country where they’re asking to be safe and seeking to have abetter live from what was home to them.

Naming the day Immigrant Family Day and highlighting the education aspect and networking side of it is really wonderful. Coming together and cheering each other is really the key to stand with confidence and continue to ask for our rights that each and every one of us deserve.

Many Thanks,
Manar Azreik