Centro San Juan Diego Monthly Newsletter
AGAINST THE ESTABLISHED NORM
The last four months have been very challenging. The pandemic has significantly affected the collective physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, and economic health of people throughout the world while the death of George Floyd has reinvigorated anti-racist campaigns and sparked both peaceful protests and mob riots across the country.
Recent events and a renewed call to address the historic mistreatment of racial minorities, particularly of the Black community, have forced this country to take a hard look at both its past and present while presenting us all with an opportunity to ensure a better future.
I would like to say it categorically: racism has no place at Centro San Juan Diego.
I am angered and saddened by the racism that affects all people of color, including myself and other Hispanic people. But, to be realistic, we need to recognize that this issue has a name and color right now and it is an issue that will not be resolved overnight.
Systematic racism is so rooted in our country and in our historical memory that it can seem practically impossible to get rid of; maybe we don’t even notice it because we are just people of good heart that like to help others and not harm them. But while most of us may not act on racism, we do not do anything to stop it either. We may support worthy causes for under-served communities, but it is difficult to truly experience their reality.
I invite us all to go against established ways and put ourselves in the position of those that we do not know or may be afraid of. Let's go out and talk to our neighbors and get to know their stories. Let’s not be afraid. It is time to focus on what brings us together rather than what continues to tear us apart.
This crisis has changed everything. It has changed us all. It is time to channel this change, not into bringing things “back to normal,” but into reinforcing the moral imperatives that should have been guiding us all along—things like love and devotion to family, respect for life, and the desire in our heart to help those in need.
Above all, we cannot forget that the Gospel, the life and example of Jesus Christ, must direct our every response. So, let’s get back on track. Let’s review the
Works of Mercy and put them into practice. Our world needs them now more than ever.
CENTRO CELEBRATES SUPREME COURT DECISION, URGES FURTHER ACTION ON DACA
On June 18, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the Trump administration's attempt to repeal DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), a program that protects nearly 700,000 young people who were brought to the United States as minors.
In its decision, the Court ruled that the administration had failed to provide proper legal justification for ending the program, violating the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) which dictates how federal agencies can propose and establish regulations. While this decision will not likely prevent future attempts to repeal DACA, it has at least delayed the Trump administration's progress at this time.
Centro joins the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops and the Bishops of Colorado in welcoming this Supreme Court ruling. Hopefully, this case will inspire lawmakers to pass permanent, substantive legislation resulting in a path to citizenship for this nation's Dreamers. To read full statements from both the USCCB and the Bishops of Colorado, please click
COMPUTER CLASSES, A GRADUAL RE-OPENING
Since mid-March, all of us have experienced at least some difficulty working from home, connecting to Zoom meetings, or homeschooling our children using online lessons. Despite these difficulties, having basic skills like knowing how to turn on a computer, create documents, set up an email account, and navigate the Internet have allowed many of us to continue working from home with relative ease.
For the majority of Hispanics living in the United States, however, this has not been the case. The
Economic Policy Institute
reports that, prior to the pandemic, only 16.2% of Hispanics had work-from-home capability compared to the nearly 30% capacity of the white population. Hispanic immigrants, and Hispanic women in particular, have experienced greater
due to the COVID-19 pandemic than any other ethnic group.
Centro San Juan Diego has always sought to address these disparities and further capacitate the Spanish-speaking immigrant community with essential job skills. By learning English, gaining important computer skills, and earning a GED or advanced degree, the Hispanic community will be better equipped to improve their job prospects in the difficult months and years ahead.
Now that stay-at-home restrictions have begun to lift, Centro is excited to offer live, in-person computer classes once again! While we continue to be closed to the general public, we have set up a "socially distanced" classroom in our gymnasium and have increased cleaning of these higher traffic areas.
We are happy to welcome a small group of students back to Centro and are incredibly grateful to the generous individuals and organizations that support us in providing these classes for the personal and professional growth of the community we serve. Thank you!
VIRTUAL GRADUATIONS: A CELEBRATION OF WILLPOWER!
Staff, volunteers, and students recently celebrated the first-ever virtual graduation at Centro. A series of in-person classes that began in January finished up online at the end of May.
Thanks to the great support, hard work, and patience of everyone involved, the monumental shift to an online platform allowed many students to advance their education despite the pandemic. Not only did they improve their English skills, prepare for their citizenship interviews, or develop their own small businesses, many also learned how to use new technology!
During the last ESL class, Alondra, an ESL student who originally started classes at DCIS in Montbello, said:
"Thank you for your dedication, for being with us and giving us extra time when we needed it. We have learned so much during this strange time. Thank you to the staff of Centro San Juan Diego for supporting us in overcoming the challenges that life presented!"
Yadira, a Small Business graduate, also shared her appreciation:
"I want to truly thank you for all the knowledge you have shared with us. Thank you to all of my classmates. Sometimes it can feel like we aren't going to succeed, but God always provides! I want to thank Him for sending all these lovely people to me, I have really learned a lot from each one of you."
Centro is so proud of all the students who persevered despite the great changes to their personal, professional, and family lives. We are especially grateful to our teachers who, facing challenges themselves, also persisted. As Yadira said,
"We are going to keep moving forward, and we are going to need to help each other to do it!
on Monday, June 22 at 2:02PM