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  • A Long Journey

    A Long Journey

    Landing safely in Canada in 2014 was unbelievable happiness for B. The 10 years of fleeing had finally opened to a future. The journey began in Ethiopia and led him to Tanzania where he was educated and where he met and married his wife.

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  • Immigrants Deserve to Be Heard

    Immigrants Deserve to Be Heard

    According to two refugees, Lesotho is a peaceful country despite the instability among the political leaders. These men appreciate the Lesotho government for giving them shelter, though the small stipend they have been receiving is cut out since January 2015, this without any explanation.

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  • Peruvian Immigrant

    Peruvian Immigrant

    Lima, Peru – Julie (19, Dominican Republic) married Henry (25, Peru) and returned with him to his family home after an internet courtship and personal visit. Following his family’s rejection he became verbally abusive which turned into physical abuse after their son was born.

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  • The Power of Language

    The Power of Language

    Jorge’s family lived off the land raising corn, vegetables and livestock in rural Mexico. Traveling with his burro up a mountainside to harvest corn, left him little time for school, but he completed sixth grade. Gradually, members of his family traveled north seeking a better life.

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  • Young Refugees

    Young Refugees

    Tacoma, WA - Antonio grew up in El Salvador. His father abandoned him, his mom and his baby sister shortly after his sister was born. When Antonio was 16 years old, the “Maras” (gangs) began threatening him. One day as he was leaving school, members of the gang cornered him and took his phone.

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The Power of Language

Jorge’s family lived off the land raising corn, vegetables and livestock in rural Mexico. Traveling with his burro up a mountainside to harvest corn, left him little time for school, but he completed sixth grade. Gradually, members of his family traveled north seeking a better life.

Immigrating to Washington at age 16, Jorge knew no English. He lived with his sister’s family and later met and married Maria and had three children. Unable to speak, read or write English severely limited job opportunities. Jorge served at two Mexican restaurants and Maria checked at two grocery stores. She worked days and he nights, which provided health benefits. By making a down payment on a house, their American dream came true. Unfortunately, stress overtook Jorge’s health, rendering him temporarily disabled.

They were now dependent upon social services. He knew the way out was learning English, and discovered free assistance through the St. James Immigrant and Refugee Assistance Program.

This is where I met Jorge and his family. I tutored him weekly for three years. At first, he couldn’t write a complete sentence. His disability status became a blessing when he enrolled in affordable English as a Second Language (ESL) courses at a community college. I helped with homework and he is now able to write, read and speak English. These new skills empowered him to get a full-time position with benefits at a grocery store. He is a living example that language brings power.

– Margaret Ames, Associate

Reflection: How important is being able to communicate in a common language?

Resource: http://www.stjames-cathedral.org/immigrant

Action Contact a local agency that provides ESL and become a tutor.