Deportee News and Thanks from Cynthia Claus

Long-time member Cynthia Claus, who now lives mostly in Mexico and attends the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Miguel de Allende (UUFSMA) would like to thank the USG members who responded so generously to the article about the new initiative of UUFSMA, Caminamos Juntos (We Walk Together), which is responding to the needs of Mexican nationals deported from the U.S. who wind up in SMA. The article spoke of the UUA’s Southern Region Chalice Lighter challenge, a crowd-funding program. At UUFSMA’s annual meeting held recently, President John Simsarian reported that the challenge ended in mid-March and that to date, UUFSMA has received $26,300 USD from a combination of 296 individuals and several UU congregations in the US. Also at the annual meeting, the members voted on a budget for the 2018-19 church year that included $5000 USD for Caminamos Juntos. One Board member, who was eligible to run for another term, declined in order to provide leadership to the new initiative. She is most qualified for this position.

Just this evening, at a volunteer job that Cynthia does helping Mexican working adults learning English at UNAM (the Harvard of Mexico) during the weekly English Chat, a free informal English conversation group to supplement the formal classes, a 28 year-old deportee, David, with a Nigerian father and Mexican mother, who was born in SMA and taken at 10 months old to Phoenix AZ, and who has been back in SMA for three months after being deported following two times in jail for a total of five years for being undocumented, spoke to a large number of students in lieu of the Chat. He had to leave an 11 year-old daughter in Phoenix with family members. The mother of the child is deceased, and even as the only living parent of this child, he was deported. He missed being a Dreamer by graduating from high school just one year too early to qualify for DACA. He has written a book about his entire experience and was selling copies in both English and Spanish. He was returned to Mexico knowing almost no Spanish or anything about Mexican culture. He does still have aunts, uncles and cousins in SMA, and has been welcomed warmly by them. Happily, a member of the Caminamos Juntos team from UUFSMA was also at the talk and asked for volunteers from the Mexican community learning English to become mentors to deportees like David where they could teach about Mexican culture and at the same time practice their English.

Author of An Orchid Sari: The Personal Diary of an American Mom in 1960s India.
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