My transitional experience from the tough life of a new immigrant to become a college graduate, as a new U.S. citizen, a volunteer for CARE International, a private humanitarian aid organization, and now my charitable organization the Global Paint for Charity, I feel very grateful and blessed to be here especially in Atlanta Georgia. But it’s important, as immigrants living in the Diaspora, that we don’t forget what we can do to help people back at home. It’s not good enough for us to complain about what other people aren’t doing for us. It’s important that we all need to group and regroup together, to discuss ways to make a difference in those in needs back at homes and our community in here.
For those of you who have not yet heard the story of the Maayan Babustan/Ein Bustan kindergarten, this is a Waldorf school, a kindergarten that is run in two languages – Arabic and Hebrew. The kindergarten is situated in the Arab village of Hilf, within the municipality of Bosmat Tab’un, 7 minutes drive from the nearby Jewish town of Kiryat Tivon. The kindergarten is attended by 27 Arab and Jewish children, in two age groups. The staff is also comprised of Arabs and Jews: in each class there is a Hebrew speaking teacher and an Arabic speaking teacher. In addition, we are pleased to have two interns, two young Bedouin Arab women who are fulfilling their “Year of Service” by working as assistants in the kindergarten, one in each age group.
A requirement for my medical school was to participate in health teaching. I chose to provide an informal session on alcohol, sex and drugs for a small group of freshman girls, the next generation of diverse women. I find this subject so important, because the issues confronting teenagers are numerous and can create a significant generational gap between them and their parents. It’s not as simple as just staying clean and not having sex to avoid pregnancy. The reality is that most teenagers at some point will drink alcohol and take drugs and/or become sexually active.
A fellow student recently equated being a medical school student with bumpy downhill skiing. You rocket down a hill and you jump, making some of the jumps, and missing many others. However, you can’t look back because you’ll fly into a tree. Of all the descriptions of being a first-year medical student, this is my favorite. Unfortunately, at the time all I could think about is how I hate downhill skiing. It terrifies me. Is hurtling down a hill on thin strips of metal to be considered fun? So, how do I, and all of us, get through this experience, and do it together, without flying into a tree?
The 1974 Vatican document on Catholic-Jewish Relations is primarily known for its emphasis on the need for Catholics to come to understand Jews as they define themselves or, in other words, to refrain from creating what I would call “straw Jews.” The 1985 document focused its attention on the correct presentation of Jews and Judaism in Catholic religious education and preaching. The 1998 document on the Holocaust emphasized the importance of Holocaust education and tried to come to grips with Catholic responsibility during the Shoah. On the latter point some, including myself, have judged it incomplete even though it moved in the right direction on the question of Catholic collaboration with the Nazi effort at Jewish annihilation. Beyond the actual points made in these Vatican statements they helped immeasurably in creating a positive ethos for constructive scholarly work on the question on the part of theologians biblical exegetes.
The night falls and the women are in the street,
single alone as it seems never to be shown,
Desperate she is forced to do what others sin,
Rewarded for her love and care she could bring,
the doors close as once she is inside,
Raped and tortured by those who were hers,
A woman cries and no one hears.
I recently came across an article titled “Millionth Child Flees Syria” on Yahoo News. The picture under the headline was one of a young girl, with dark circles under her eyes, staring hauntingly at the camera. She’s pretty, too, with curly brown hair that many people try to imitate using hair gel. In the West—perhaps in Canada—she would be going to school in a few years, wearing nice clothes and hanging out with friends. She might meet even meet a guy.
Roberto Rios was the first in his Latino family to “set foot on American soil,” as he described it. Roberto was embarking on a college career at Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tennessee. The son of a Church of Christ minister, Roberto spent the majority of his 23 years involved in the church in his hometown of Lima, Peru. A move to America away from all his family was not going to change his Hispanic heritage. When Roberto graduated two years later with a degree in computer information systems, he quickly secured a job in computer networking in Arizona. After marrying his bride Jeana, he moved his family back to Lima where their first child was born. “We really wanted our child to be born in Peru,” said Roberto who anticipated returning to the States.
When 25-year-old Lucia Montas moved to the City of Chattanooga, it was the first time in her life to live in a multicultural place where the Hispanic people and the Latino culture were not the majority in the population. As she described, it was the first time that she experienced the diversity, the culture clash and felt that she was living in the United States.
La Paz de Dios is the trusted guide for the Latino community in Chattanooga. Bridging the diverse Latino community to local and regional community resources, La Paz also provides service organizations a network in the Chattanooga community for those seeking to serve Latinos and learn how to better access and gain the trust of that population. Since its formation in 2004, La Paz has sought to identify and address the social and humanitarian needs of the immigrant Latino community, locate and foster relationships with trusted organizations that can serve them, and provide the community with the confidence, capability, and education to become self-sufficient and resourceful. The mission of La Paz is to enable individuals to become more engaged community members to create a healthy, culturally inclusive Chattanooga.