Remembering the first Thanksgiving; Offering Advice to Immigrants

Remembering the first Thanksgiving; Offering Advice to Immigrants

By Sayrah Namasté Although we picture families feasting together around the dinner table, Thanksgiving Day was first proclaimed in 1637 by the governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony to commemorate the “wiping out of the Pequot people,” a massacre of more than 700 indigenous men, women and children. From 6:45-7:45 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 24, the

By Sayrah Namasté

Although we picture families feasting together around the dinner table, Thanksgiving Day was first proclaimed in 1637 by the governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony to commemorate the “wiping out of the Pequot people,” a massacre of more than 700 indigenous men, women and children.

From 6:45-7:45 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 24, the annual Circle of Remembrance will be held at the Center for Peace and Justice, 202 Harvard Drive SE. The event is a chance for people in Albuquerque to gather to share prayers and thoughts for slaughtered people. The ceremony will be held outside, so dress for the weather. Feel free to bring sage, cedar and a snack to share. For more, call 304-3144 or click here.

Seductions

You may have seen that editorial cartoon of Native Americans building a wall as the Mayflower arrives. The confused pilgrims say to each other: “They say they are building a wall because too many of us enter illegally, won’t learn the language or assimilate into their culture.”

It’s a reminder that unless you are Native American, you are an immigrant to this land.

Right after the election, immigrant rights groups moved quickly to support vulnerable people in our community, knowing that the next president wants to build a wall and deport millions of immigrants.

The Albuquerque Dreamers Clinic started in late October as a free walk-in legal clinic for immigrants applying for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a program President Obama put in place in 2012.

DACA allows immigrants who came as children without permission to temporarily get work authorization and defer any action to remove them.

Emma O’Sullivan, an attorney who staffs the clinic every week, said she sees DACA as an economic development program because work authorization increases economic opportunities.

“National studies show that receiving DACA [status] means a 45 percent increase in wages. It means work with dignity, not work under the table. Immigrants get better wages and working conditions. I know a DACA student who is now a practicing attorney. Many are going into the health field,” O’Sullivan said.

Based on the successful Santa Fe Dreamers Project, the Albuquerque Dreamers Clinic was just a week old when Election Day turned the lives of DACA workers upside down. Trump has said he will end the DACA program, which he can do without Congress’ approval because it was an executive order.

There is tremendous fear in the immigrant community, and I have been impressed with how the immigrant rights community immediately mobilized to support a population so heavily scapegoated in Trump’s election campaign.

The Albuquerque Dreamers Clinic is still filing DACA renewals, but it is unknown whether Trump will honor the two-year work authorization period guaranteed through the program. However, the clinic is no longer doing new intakes because the staff does not want to expose people not currently known to the government to the risk of deportation.

Instead, the clinic is organizing “Know Your Rights” workshops, supporting immigrants with green cards and survivors of violence with U-visas.

Advice from the clinic is free, and no appointment is necessary. Just walk in from 1-6 p.m. on any Monday at Casa de Salud, 1608 Isleta Blvd. SW.  Click here to learn more.

Sayrah Namasté is an organizer with the American Friends Service Committee in Albuquerque. She writes about events of interest to Albuquerque’s activist community.

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The following two tabs change content below.
Albuquerque’s definitive alternative newspaper publishing an inquisitive, modern approach to the news and entertainment stories that matter most to New Mexicans. ABQ Free Press’ fresh voice speaks to insightful and involved professionals who care deeply about our community.

Latest posts by ABQ Free Press (see all)