Casa Is Their Home

I officially survived the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg…phew. Now back to Heston things…

So, because of the holiday, this past week has been relatively low key. Most of the office staff was out all of last week and no one worked on Thursday and Friday. I only planned one ESL class for last week and GIV Day related tasks were at a minimum. Aside from the relaxed atmosphere of the week, I still managed to make headway on certain projects and have been feeling relatively pleased with my work. 

I have been starting to feel like I have more of a role with Casa de la Cultura lately, rather than simply facilitating ESL classes twice a week (which I absolutely love doing, don’t get me wrong).  Now, it seems as if I’m involved more in the organization as a whole and the partnering with other groups. For example, the Sunday before the holiday, Casa held a meeting on Immigration Reform. Being able to be a part of the workshop was incredible. Not only did I learn an enormous amount of information on the reform bill and Deferred Action (in fact, I should have been embarrassed to even think that I could call myself informed before the meeting), but I also had the chance to hear local immigrants themselves discuss their hopes and concerns for immigration reform in general.

As I was listening to each of the unique stories that those in attendance had to share, I couldn’t help but think about all of the people in this country who ignorantly remark on undocumented immigrants as if they come to the US to take our jobs and live a tax-free “easy” life. Many people, such as these, disprove of any and all immigration reforms, without knowing anything about their content.

These immigrants living in Adams County work extremely hard to provide a comfortable life for their families. Many do pay taxes and most add to our work force by occupying jobs that are generally considered “undesirable” to Americans. They have a constant fear of being separated from their loved ones and the majority can tell stories of people they know who were deported. A young girl, possibly 5 or 6 years old, who attended the meeting with her older brother, bluntly explained to me that her father “was in jail, sent back to Mexico.”

It is not ok that these hard-working, determined people live in fear. It is not acceptable that young children are forcefully separated from their parents. And it is absolutely intolerable that some people choose to fight against these immigrants, without knowing anything about the situation.

The talk on Sunday really opened my eyes to the importance of groups such as Casa de la Cultura to guide immigrants as they try to adapt to life in a foreign country. Casa really is a home away from home. It’s a place where immigrant families can go for a sense of community and support, and it serves as a source of a variety of information. As I’m now discovering just how large Casa’s impact is for the Latino community in Adams County, I could not be happier with my role in this ground-breaking organization.

-Emily Hauck ’14