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OneRouge Community Check-In: Week 211

Fast facts!

  • June 20 is world World Refugee Day. The observance was started in 2001 by the UN to commemorate the 50 year anniversary of the 1951 Convention on the Stats of Refugees. The day is in honor of the people who have been forced to flee their home country to escape conflict or persecution. 

  • Dec 18 is International Migrants Day started by the UN General Assemby in 2000. It honors those folk who have moved away from their home no matter their legal status; whether they wanted to go; what made them go; or how long they will stay

  • In 2022, 5.8% of Baton Rouge residents were foreign born – that’s up from 3.9% in 2019

  • Our new neighbors make up somewhere around 13% of the labor force working in farming, fishing, and forestry, but 15% or so in construction and extraction

  • Our new neighbors come from all over the world, but Mexico, Honduras, and Vietnam are the top 3 countries of origin

  • LORI is celebrating their World Refugee and Immigrant Day on Saturday June 22. You should definitely make a plan to go!

Between now and then, join us and our featured speakers on Friday when we talk for “Canaries Shouldn't Be in Coal Mines”. We will hear about why as we address poverty it is so very important for all of us to focus on justice for our new neighbors (spoiler alert: they often face discrimination and poverty first and most intensely).



 Casey Phillips: So Hope it's good to share space with you again. 

Hope Hickerson: Yes. Yeah, together. 

Casey: I agree. I agree. So how is everything moving? And we're going to transition right into it. How's everything moving on the third floor for you with all things Healthy BR? 

Hope: Oh it's moving.  It's moving. It's a lot like I think I've said before, it's like drinking from a fire hose and it continues. But here, there's something finally I'm getting some help. So that's good. I got a couple of staff coming in. Staff are just hired interns. So I'm so thankful.  

Casey: Yeah. A hundred percent. As I said it takes a village to raise a child. It takes a village to administer these programs, right? Like I said, that goes deep and especially intersectional programs like LPBR, touch. And I said, it's a lot of human touch points and it's about people, right? So you need people to help people. And I'm glad that you gave them the help that you need. With that being said, I know that you have a tough tight timeline, so we're going to go ahead and get it and get into it. And then Pepper will officially greet everyone, but I will informally say, Good Friday morning to everyone. Welcome to the One Rouge call. And we have our fearless leader of Healthy BR Hope Hickerson in the house today. She wants to make sure and lift up something that impacts all of you more than in the organizations that you work in. More than you could possibly know, which we learned from the process on the last go round with Jared and said, Hope is now bringing us into the future. And has something to talk about with everyone to get input. So Hope your five minutes begins. 

Hope: Thank you. Good morning, everyone. Thank you for giving me the floor for a few. Don't mind my background. I know it's beautiful, but I am not at the beach. So Anyway what I wanted to come on really quickly was to talk about the Community Health Needs Assessment. Those of you, if you've been around Baton Rouge, you may have either taken a survey in the past or your organization has participated in a community health needs assessment. It is an endeavor that we do every three years and it is a partnership between the hospitals and our local organizations to really look at. What are the health needs for the community? What are the health priorities for the community? What does the community say? This is an issue for me, because it doesn't matter what I may think. It matters what the community thinks and what they need and what they see is the issue. So every three years we get together, hospitals, we all get together and okay, what, let's look at what we did the past three years. What did we say we were going to do? And then now here we are three years in the future. Where what are the current issues now? What do we need to be putting our time and energy into? So all that to say, it is now that time again. We have launched the survey where we have the top 10 health, and I say top 10. There's always more that could be done. Energy can go to, but the top 10 health priorities that the hospital say, you know what, yeah, we're seeing this national data says, yes, we're seeing this is an issue. Then we prioritize those and narrow them down to maybe the top four or five that hospitals and our community organizations will come together and say, yes, this is what we're going to focus on for the next three years. So that survey has been launched. It is on every public library, every public computer in the EBR library and Ascension library. So anytime any person goes in to use the library, they're prompted to take the survey before they can use it. I've been trying to send it out to as many people as I could think of because we want your voice heard. We want the community's voice heard. So I'm getting on here today to implore you to help me push this out to all of your community stakeholders, all of your community members. If you're front facing any community in EBR Ascension. I asked you to please push the survey, give them the survey. I emailed Pepper and Casey, the verbiage QR code and link. And I asked you guys if y'all could send that out to the larger group for me, that would be great. But I'm also going to put the link. It is right on our website. As soon as you click on our website, you'll get a prompt that says, Okay. Please complete the survey, right? So all you have to do, Casey and then hopefully we'll send out the email, but literally you guys can go click this link, take the survey, give us your information so we can figure out where our community is and what our community actually needs. Okay, we're all about evidence based data, right? Like we want to do this right. Please help me with this. That's what I'm asking. And I appreciate your time. Thank you. I hope that was five minutes. I don't know. I think I'm good.  

Casey: Perfect. Perfection. Thank you. Hope. I appreciate you so much. We put the link to the survey in the chat and also gave a little bit more context as well in the information that she had emailed us in the chat. Hope has to bounce. But it's Hope if you don't mind putting your email in the chat as well. Yeah, you all have any questions at all. She does return emails and it happens all the time to be honest. And I said, and so just go ahead and get back to her. Either she or her team members will get back to you and engage you in the work. And it's really important. This creates a blueprint that probably has more of an impact on health equity than anything else that you can do, at least today. I'm going to say today because all of y'all do some big things. So thank y'all for the space. Hope. Thanks for joining us today and let us and One Rouge know how we can support you moving forward in this. 

Hope: Thank you guys. Y'all have a great day.

Casey: So Pepper tough act to follow.

Pepper Roussel: Not really. This really dovetails nicely into the discussion that we're having today, right? So when we talk about health equity and we talk about how it is that we are showing up for folks who are our neighbors, Our family, our friends, we find that there are disparities based upon income levels and access to healthcare, right? Those are often through the One Rouge lens steeped in issues around poverty. But as we have seen over many weeks, these issues of poverty and how poverty shows up, whether it is that you have been here your whole life, or you chose this place as your home has a really deep and  insidious way of impacting your health. So today we are going to be talking about canaries in the coal mines and those canaries. Although there should not be any canaries in the coal mine. The canaries are often the immigrants. So the folks who have come here by choice or not, whether it is that you are a refugee, an immigrant, or an asylum seeker, the bottom line is that they are on the fringes. And my friend and colleague Tia has done amazing outreach to chat with the good folks from LORI not only to tie into the event that they're having on the morrow, but also to have some folks come and chat with us today about what they see, what they're doing. And so I'm going to ask Tia if she wouldn't mind coming off mute and doing a couple intros, or at least do a segue for us so they can introduce themselves. 

Tia Fields: Absolutely. Happy rising One Rouge family. And without further ado, I'm going to have miss Sharon speak on behalf of LORI, and she can say a little bit about what's going to happen on tomorrow for World Refugee day, as well as share on some of the bills that passed this last ledge session and how it affects our neighbors and community in a whole. So Sharon, if you don't mind, you can come off mute. 

Sharon Njie: Thank you so much, Tia, and thank you, everyone. I hope you all can hear me clear. Okay it's actually an honor to be here today, and thank you all for just sending this hand of love, because I believe that we need love more than any other thing today in the world, full of so much hate. And when Tia mentions our community, and Tia mentions about the need of creating awareness around medians. Of folks who are possibly displaced from their home country, and we are creating an awareness around that is because it is absolutely true. 120 million people are possibly displaced globally. Let's look at that number, but let's also put a face behind that number. Because those are people, those are mothers, fathers, children, sisters and brothers. And when I think about that, let's put humanity in place. Because it's not just about people leaving their home country. They are forcibly displaced by circumstances beyond their control. It can happen to any one of us. Any one of us, within a blink of an eye, we can become refugees. So we are calling on our fellow American family who has opened their doors, especially the Louisianans who are so amazing with a southern touch of so much love within them to say we are giving you a second chance and hope away from home and open our doors to you to make this place our second home. Louisiana has become our second home and we want you all to look at us like family because that is who we've taken you all to be. And I want you all to also think about this when you think about the refugees and immigrants around you. They are your neighbors. And never to us, it's not just a person living next to you, but it's a person you get to walk across every single day. Think about the fact, again, that many of these folks, their home is their motherland and no one can replace a mother. Some of us have lost the motherland, which is the motherhood, but we have found a place to get siblings like you all  to have hope again for a future. 40 percent of those displaced globally are children. Think about it. Children, 40%. We are creating awareness in a year of solidarity, which is the theme of this year, and the world needs it so much than ever before. The goal for War Refugee Day, which is going to be celebrated in Louisiana, and of course it's already celebrated across the globe, is going to be held tomorrow at the River Center, Raising Cane Center, downtown Baton Rouge, from 2p.m. to 6:30 p.m. I can see my colleague is already proactive, Marcella is sending you awesome. Please pre register. We want you all to feel welcome and we don't want to overwhelm our volunteers. So once you pre register and you show them that screenshot and say, I am already registered, it can make it so easy for them to verify your name and you can walk in without stress. We encourage you all, organizations, institutions to come set up. The doors will be open at 12 o'clock for you all to come set up as early as you can. We encourage you all to please spread the word to your network and to everybody you know that is coming to support us. You're going to experience the stories of many refugees. You're also going to experience the culture of my rates of internationals. We're going to be showcasing true performances, true acts, and true resource tables, showcasing the food and many other things they have brought with them. That is one thing that makes us beautiful as humans, the diversity in our nature. So we want you to come celebrate with us and make this day your own, because we are not just fighting resilience. We are not just resilient people, rather, and we are not just fighting  to be inclusive. But also, we are also bringing something to the table. All these great minds like ourselves, contributing to the economic and social fabric of these states and the nation as a whole. We want you to see us as value added people, making a difference. In this community and the society at large. So we'd love to have you and we want you to come enjoy yourself and have fun with your fellow immigrants, brothers and sisters. Thank you for having us today. And if you have any questions, please feel free to chime in. I'm right here for you. 

Tia: We've got a minute. I wasn't going to let you get off that easy. I wanted you to share a little bit about also for firstly, thank you for talking about what to expect on tomorrow and Marcella for dropping those links in the chat. But I also wanted you to take up a space to share a little bit about your trip to DC and how you represented Louisiana in the immigrant and refugees community. If you could just share a little bit on, on that note. 

Sharon: And now you're making me think of which of the trips to D.C. because it's like I literally live in D.C. but I'm in Louisiana. 

Tia: I would say the last one from within the last two weeks. 

Sharon: Within the last two weeks it's been interesting because we have been doing universal representation for all and that has been a push to ensure that every single person deserves to have a legal representation. Because we're having so much backlog in the immigration system.  nd that is impairing many people to even have their cases heard. So we're out there in the capital. We had so much support from representatives from New York to D.C. and to Virginia. You name it, so many representatives showing up and saying, California, saying we are going to support this bill to pass. We are happy they took the fall line to just want to support this universal representation for all because so many people need legal representation. And that is why we have so many people in detention who are not having lawyers to represent them so that they can have a place to call at home. And lastly we also had an opportunity to be at the White House to actually engage with refugee youths nationally on refugee issues and also to mentor those kids. So we're one of those folks that were choosing to actually come have that conversation with them and also engage with those youths. So it was interesting to bring up issues around anti immigrant bills that are affecting Louisiana And how it has impacted our community. We are not just looking at it from the perspective of the anti immigrant bills. But let's look at the fact that the aftermath of those bills, what happens to the community, it creates fear. And when fear sets in, people actually want to probably leave the city they have known to become home. And that means that instead of adding value to the city, they are going to contribute to some other States. And not just that, also over policing takes a role. Because we have seen a replica of the bills happening in Florida, in Texas, as before we have seen that replicated in bills such as we have the two SB 208, SB 388, and all what not. Now these bills are actually going to impair the communities if these bills are being signed by the governor. Because it's going to take a reaction of 287G, which we fought so hard to get it off our plates. Now, I would just put a clear example to you all, and Reverend Anderson is very familiar with this story, and most of you. Our own legal representative was pulled by the police just two minutes away from his house to talk about seatbelt. But the moment they heard him open his mouth, he was in America from three years old. So he sounds so American and looks so American. However the case, his name is not American. And the moment they picked his ID and said, Oh, This is the person for ICE should be in the detention center. How would you say that to someone if this guy was not a lawyer and he understands the law and understand what it means to be DACA? He had to educate the police that he's the DACA recipient and he had to school the police, but the police, the first instance of just seeing his name and just identified him as a person for the detention for ICE. We don't profile people because of where they come from or their skin color. We have to do better. And these are just one of many replicates of issues we see quite often. We see quite often. These are some of the impacts we will see if some of those anti immigrant bills have been passed. We want you to think about the fact that  our fellow communities will be in harm's way. People will be scared to have their kids in school. And if people are scared to have their kids educated, what happens to our community? We all have to come in at one big force. It doesn't matter whether you're black, you're white immigrant or not We have issues that precede us. We have healthcare issues like the previous speaker talked about health affects everyone It doesn't choose whether you're immigrant or not. We have hurricane. We are in a climate. Prone community where we have so many climate issues So that means when it knocks on the door, it affects every single person. And when that happens, LORI is on the forefront to ensure that we support the community. So let's think of us as people who come to give. And we want to see Louisiana as a whole, a better place for all. So we want to stand with you all  to see how we can actually advocate and address issues that concern humanity.  It goes, it takes me back to my first statement, humanity,  let's put humanity first before our selfish political opinions. Let's think about people. Let's think about the humanity and our values, which I believe this country stands so much on the values of people and law. So let's think about that. Where are our values?  The world is looking up to America and that's what I told them at White House. The world is looking up to America, one of the greatest countries in the world. And number one, that everyone is looking up to the way America treats people, especially the people that are vulnerable. We speak on how the world should treat people because America sets the pace. And everyone is watching. We have to take that back to our communities and educate our families and say, we have to do better. How can we treat people better? And make a difference as a whole.  And I hope this address your question to you. 

Tia: Thank you so much. Sharon and my apologies for holding you a little bit longer. 

Sharon: No, that's fine. That's fine. 

Pepper: Before we get too far into some of the weeds, I want to make sure that the rest of the panel the rest of the panel, So our folks still from Lori, still the same family. I get a chance to say hi and let us know who they are before we start unpacking and figuring out how we can take down the man. Sara, I saw you come in first before Christina. So we'll do you and then Christina intros. Please let us know who you are, what you do and how we can be involved. Where's your face. I've lost you again.

Sara Louis-Ayo: Hi, I'm here. Sorry. I'm driving as well. So thank you. Thank you so much for having us today. And thank you, Sharon, for covering all that for us. My name is Sara Louis-Ayo. I am the policy and advocacy organizer for Lori. And yeah, so this year we were all up in the Capitol and Tia has been our champion every step of the way, even when we have to testify, she's there. Or share a testimony. So thank you guys so much. And I'll pass it to my colleague, Cristina. 

Cristina Casas: Hello. Thank you everyone for that invite and having all of us here. My name is Christina. I am the civic organizer and I am just excited to make sure that we are all together in this journey. It is going to be a long journey, but if we come together, we will become powerful and we will be able to achieve, What our people really need. And so I just ask you to, as mindful as we can, as connected as we can, and show up for your neighbors, show up for the people that are in need right now. And this is one way we can come together. And thank you. Thank you so much. It's been an incredible person, helping all of us. Build that path. Thank you so much. 

Tia: Okay. And thank you guys for inviting us to be a part of community. Marcela, was there anything that you wanted to jump in and add before? 

Marcela Hernandez: The only thing I'm gonna add is if you don't come tomorrow, You will have us for the next year until we do the next World Refugee and Immigrant Day. A lot of you guys have come and supported us in previous years. But all I'm gonna say is this year is particularly important because of what's happening at the legislative level. We have gone through so much hate we have gone through so much suffering. Tomorrow, it's going to be a time to actually uplift our voices not only as immigrants, but the general community in Louisiana and say, immigrants are welcome. Tomorrow is going to be a historical time where we all get together in solidarity. And we show up for our neighbors, our families, our friends, and we said we stand against all of this anti immigrant laws. We are not going to be part of this. So tomorrow is going to be a very important day. And all I can say Is that not only because of the cultural performances, not only because of the food and not only because of the beautiful attires and the love that we put into this, but also because ethics and morals, you should be there with us, joining us, sharing this beautiful time with us. And just reminding you, I love what Sharon said in the beginning, any of us could become a refugee anytime in our life. We are safe in this country today, but we don't know what's going to happen tomorrow. Any person can be displaced, even internally, if we have this climate change changing so far. Anyone in this call can be displaced tomorrow if we have a major hurricane. We saw it during Katrina. A lot of people became displaced internally in the state. That can happen at any other time, and that's what has been happening. To all of our family and our friends that are migrating from different countries So I just want to welcome you one more time. I Dropped a few links in the chat if you want to come and volunteer If you want to donate and sponsor this event if you want to set up a table We are accepting partner organizations to register until today at 6 p.m. And I'm just going to remind you the event is going to be tomorrow at the River Center downtown Baton Rouge from 2 to 6:30. We're going to be welcoming any organization who would like to share their information and their resources. And also, if you know anyone from a particular country, reach out to us because we might be able to also extend that invitation to those countries. We're going to have a beautiful time and I can just say get ready, don't eat breakfast and come and enjoy this beautiful day with us. Thank you. Thank you. 

Casey: Yeah, Marcella. Thank you. And that's I thought Reverend Anderson would just hop off mute if she could contain herself. But that's the one of the other things to talk about everything that Marcella just said. And when I walked around with Reverend Anderson, it is the Absolute hands down most incredible food experience that you're going to have in the city because it is like none other. So for real if you can with your sugar levels, don't eat in the morning time, meditate on, and find the love in your heart from the hateful legislative session, bring that into the space and stand in solidarity. And then, Eat and try food that you have never, maybe never even experienced before. And then get to speak to the creators of that food and learn about culture and make all new friends. Because it is one of the most loving vibes ever in the city at this event. So I said, I hope everyone in One Rouge can come out and not just support, but enjoy the gift that they are providing. You're not just supporting Lori. You actually are getting to get, be given a gift. So take advantage of the gift and it's going to be inside. So no rain doesn't matter. We'll be there. All right. Excellent. 

Tia: So I'm going to open this up to anyone, but can someone share on the difference on what an immigrant is a refugee and asylum seeker.

Sharon: Basically  an immigrant is anyone who comes from another country other than America.  A refugee is someone who is fleeing war  from another country and an asylee is someone who is already in America, but actually has gone through political war or any type of displacement from their home country and cannot go back to their home country. I speak for myself. I can't step foot in my country  because America has given me a chance to second To a second life. If I step foot in my country right now, I'll probably be killed. So the only place I know as home is America. From the moment I step foot at the airport, I'll be put in handcuffs and killed. So let's think about that when we think about why we are here.  Those are the differences. And those are the people we represent.

Tia: And what is your nationality, Sharon? 

Sharon: I'm from Cameroon and we've been going through political crisis for the last, since 2016. It started off as just  a simple fight against inclusion between the French and the English, but it has become a deadly riot where people are being killed on daily basis. 

Tia: So how important it is to you or Christina, Sara, Marcello, or anyone who would like to speak that we as community members here in Louisiana are staying abreast on what's going on at the local level as long as, as well as the national level on these anti immigration bills. 

Sara: We usually do an update especially during the legislative session here. And I think we have even seen you like updates. Sharon does a great job about putting what's happening, what time the hearing will be. And so usually we just do an updates on our social media. So follow us on our social media on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok. I'm sure Sharon could put that up in the chat, but yeah, most of our updates are on social media and also via email. 

Tia: There's a question in the chat asking if anyone can speak to the new immigration policy Biden passed a few days ago feeling, is it a step in the right direction or too little too late? 

Sharon: Will speak a little on that. We saw that we actually have been pushing so hard for DACA  and CPS re-destination for certain countries such as Sudan, South Sudan, Congo. We have hate fee. And so many countries out there were going through deadly crisis, and we also have the DD campaign for Colombia. Thank you, Marcella, for reiterating that, but I think that what Biden put out there will help some families who are already in the United States. And we are still advocating for those who are in countries that really need  assistance and help and also for those who are here who don't even have their legal state. So we really need re-designation for those countries and to see that they can actually be safe because they're in critical situation. And I think Sara will even botch us on that if she wants because we have Haiti is on the line, Congo. We have Sudan and South Sudan and Sara can best tell you because she's from South Sudan so she'll best tell you what it means and how this policy would affect some families, but we need more because not everyone is still safe. So I don't know if Sara wants to touch more on that.  

Sara: Yes, I would say, and this is just me, Sudanese. The fact that we are making policies. That impact people's life, it's a bit crazy, especially when it's used as a political stunt, right? He sent out this the whole situation with the border, right? We've seen it a few months ago and it has been passed. Keeping certain numbers in and bringing some numbers out and that is not even guaranteed. But also passing the bill that he, the policy that he just passed with, Given DACA recipients, if they're married to American citizen, then they're qualified for like basic things like Medicare or Medicaid, which is a good thing. It's a plus. But again,  people are fighting for the extension of TPS, right? And a lot of times it's this African countries that have to suffer because you're given a time limit, especially when it comes to TPS, Sudan, TPS, South Sudan, TPS expires in November. And Sudan TPS has just been given out, I think before July, if you were in the country before July, then you qualify, but it's ongoing war that has been happening in Sudan for the past year that no one talks about people are fleeing and no one is saying anything. And yeah it's like, it's a good and bad side to it, personally speaking, but again, it's the idea of  putting policies before people that it's a bit crazy to me. Thank you. 

Tia: Oh, sorry. I was on mute still.  Sometimes my computer gets jammed and I can't get off on mute. So my apologies. Sara, thank you so much for the commentary on the the recent bill that policy that I didn't just pass. I did want you guys to speak a little bit more in depth on the current bills that have gone to the governor that's already passed. And just to abreast the community on what that means specifically, what I would call the new age stop and frisk. And how that can impact any person of color, whether you're an immigrant refugee or asylum speaker. And Dauda, I see you have your hand up. So if you want to go ahead and jump in, you can. 

Dauda Sesay: Oh, thank you, Tia. I want to say thank you to the team for doing an amazing job and uplifting our stories out there  and the struggle. I just want to reflect on one of the questions that the speakers asked about the no policy Biden policy, whether it's too late or not. The Biden, the. Past two policies to executive order one, which is basically a total ban at the border and which violates the Refugee and Asylum Act. both national and global, which basically didn't give access to people to seek asylum safety when they are running for their life. The second one, is the, they provide work authorization that might lead to permanent status for individual than married to a U. S. citizen. You have to be married, And being in the U.S. for 10 years and above  for you to get there. This could have, this should have been done way back. I don't see no reason why a UScitizen married and either the husband or the wife or the children are not allowed  to leave. their life and keep families together. So basically it's trying to just,  they're just trying to play political games in the lives and well being of the refugees and immigrants, like pick and choose. Who to be given  the status and who's not to be given because people that are fleeing  for their lives, fleeing struggles have been returned back to the same place that they fled from. And those that are here already, we definitely want them to have protections. The wives or the children or spouse of a U.S. citizen  to be given,  which means you don't have to, because the current law is you have to go back. Let's say you come in here, you overstay, or you didn't come through the proper entry  and you already are married. The law says that you have to go back so that for you to be processed through a U. S. embassy and then you come back. And some of those people  cannot go back to their country. To go to the process of a nearby country to be processed, and then you put the unsanity of them to be allowed back to be coming in because the backlog in visa and it takes a long time. For instance, let's say I'm married to I'm a U.S. Undocumented. We have three Children. We are here. We live in I am here and my income is protecting my spouse and my children. And then I applied. It's been in the line for too long. And the USCIS said, go back to Sierra Leone or go back close to Sierra Leone, someone, a country that have the same jurisdictions. And then when I go back, it's going to take me three, four years. Before my visa be processed to come back three, four years has been separated. Those children are without your father or their mother  or the wife is without your husband or the husband without the wife. So that is what we are dealing with. And with this new executive order that the Biden trying to remove that part of you going back and come. So that's what I just want to add. I'm sorry, it takes too long to explain.  

Tia: No worries. So how does Lori how can Lori help those in community that may be dealing with possible deportation or Issues surrounding around these laws and bills.  

Dauda: I would just leave it to the team. Maybe I just want to make a clarification, but I believe we have different ways to our immigration legal departments, which we are slowly working to strengthen and develop. I think that's going to be like a one possible way where we can begin to help family to see what are the possible options they have to. Seek status or adjust status or what are the relief under the law that is available to them as well. And so that is one way. And second, we're just trying to be in a community. Here in Louisiana, in Baton Rouge, we want to be in community. Let the local residents know that immigrants, we are contributing to the social and economic fabric of our state and Louis uplifting that story. We have other work program services that we connect immigrants to, so that if you welcome, they live a life of dignity. And I know someone mentioned at the church about 287 G, which we gladly says that we work hard to get the 287 G out of our cities. Three cities in Louisiana being cleared off. But now other policies are being in law right now, the SB 208, which will give local law enforcement to start detaining people as well. And doing the work of immigration at some point, which is basically one thing that we're going to be uplifting, something that we are going to be working on the background and then engaging with local partners like one word and all of you all in this call. To help to push back in those policy that are impacting families and divide communities. I will leave it to Sham, Sara, and Sharon to take it from here.  

Sharon: Thank you, Dauda. I'll just give more details or probably expand. On the 287g and I believe that our mama here Reverend Anderson  was part of that fight with us And we want to really appreciate her. She's been at our corner and many of you here We want to thank one rouge because you all have shown love to our community. We really appreciate you all so much with the 287g East Baton Rouge did not resign, and we were able to squash it out, like Dauda said, because we had three 287G in the state of Louisiana, and we were able to finally get 287G for East Baton Rouge out of the way that was last year.  But prior to that, we saw so many actions from community policing, which was so unkind to our community, and most of us have been victims. To that same cause and action. I'm speaking to you today as also someone who has been there. How can someone have an accident? I believe you all prioritize health before anything else in America. Health is number one in America, and I've not heard it with some experts who are lawyers in the room. I believe you all will say that if someone has an accident in America, Do you go to jail or is the ambulance supposed to come get you and see how you're faring and also probably have insurance exchange. But I was actually a victim of an accident that was caused by someone else. And I was treated like George Floyd. The only difference is I'm talking to you all today, four white policemen. And I was told that I hit and ran away, but I was standing right there in front of the police, a white lady hit me and told the police I hit and ran away, I lose, almost lose my life. My car's airbags came out and I was standing right there, having that road. I won't forget it. I was standing right there. And the four white police treated me exactly like George Floyd. The only difference and with guns on me, the only difference is I'm standing here today and God probably just had mercy to make sure that I can tell the story and those are some of the reason we do what we do because we've been there. We've seen how we are being treated  and because of our skin color, we have been victimized. And then it's worse because we have an accent. So it's one thing to be black. It's not just about being black and being raised upon because even the black folks in America are being treated just similarly. And we, it's even worse when you're black and you are an immigrant. One day, the way you sound is just an abomination to their ears. And that is part of the reason we do what we do at Lauren, to ensure that no one goes through what some of us have been through. It is sad, but it's the reality. That we have been victimized by the police  and that is why we are fighting and we want you all to be allies because you all, I believe Americans, one of the most outspoken people in the world. Number one, when you all speak up and say it is wrong, I believe you should come for my fellow American brothers and sisters. We all have to fight because it's all of us, our fight, not just some of us.  I'm standing here today doing what I do,  but if I didn't share, you all would not know that some of us have been victims of the same system. I'll pass it on to my colleague, Sara. I believe she might have a thing or two to share. 

Tia: Thank you. Thank you so much, Sharon, for sharing your story and letting us know a little bit about your experience. I'm always moved every time that the things are, the things that are going on are brought to more of a reality for me because you just never know. And. As you stated, being an American and citizen and the black American at that, always experiencing some type of systemic oppression, but to know that it's triple and twice fold on the black and brown community. It's just heartbreaking. Sara, did you want to share today too? Okay, I guess not. I did have another question and it was going to jump, jump to another topic as far as what needs does the current immigrant and refugees community have that you guys are currently not receiving and how can we support? 

Marcela: I can jump into that. So just imagine a world that has a lot of different resources or a city that has different resources. And just imagine the work that we do on a daily basis. A lot of us work for non profit organizations that strive for something either food security, health care access education,  and we do the work that we do on an everyday basis because it's needed, right? In our community, and we do grants, we do a lot of work with community partners, we do a lot of events, and we do an amazing work as an entire community, but imagine if to the everyday struggles that you go through in your organization, you add things like language access which is one of those bigger ones for our immigrant community. So let's say that the population that you're serving don't understand the services that you provide. Let's say that your eligibility criteria requires a social security number, but the individuals that are actually seeking out for help don't have a social security number. That security number,  or let's say educational level. It's another challenge. And the person that is  That you try to outreach doesn't even know how to read in their own language in their native language. So I believe that as communities, we all have different challenges. And that's why we do the work that we do on a daily basis in our own nonprofit organizations. And it are almost the same limitations that are immigrant and refugee communities face. But when you work with our refugee and immigrant families, you have to add those things like language access social security numbers educational level. And I always say, before you write a program, a description of a program,  think not only in the terms of an everyday basis for you, but also think about how can you include other individuals that are outside of your radar. Think about,  Eligibility criteria that is inclusive and welcoming and in solidarity with your neighbors and your friends that are not from here, because those challenges exist and are even more for immigrants and refugees. And especially right now that we're going through this crisis. That is a state crisis because of that legislative session that we just passed. Considering all of those things, and we are all here in this city, we're part of this city, we're not going anywhere and you have heard me say this before, we're part of them we're big contributors of this city. Let's just all work together and embrace the diversity, because we're not going anywhere, and on the contrary, we're given we're adding more things into the state. 

Pepper: Without a doubt. I just have a question, though. And so forgive me to you for breaking in. I am wondering, is it enough for us to open our programs and our nonprofits, our organizations to say that we are doing things to address poverty, to address to address homelessness to address incarceration, to address all of these things that also impact immigrants. Or is it necessary that we do something specific? I don't want to pander is what I don't want it to look as if I'm just doing things specifically because you're an immigrant. I want to treat you like. You are one of us, but I don't know where the line is. Can you help me for those of us who are developing programming from a nonprofit perspective and want to be welcoming and don't want to be offensive. What do we do? How do we thread the needle? 

Dauda: Can I come in? Thank you so much. I'm Pepper for this question. And I remember like, when I talk about you, man. There are basic human needs that everybody basic human needs that affect everybody if it is not equitably distributed housing, access to good healthcare, access to education and And just go about living  your daily activities, express yourself as a human being, I'm living in the States. Yes, the only difference that I will just mention when it comes to immigrants is few. Number one is the cultural adaptation to the news that  it is the language as well. That way and then we have to deal with the immigration system as well, which is completely different. That's an addition to the daily lives that every other citizen lives in the United States. Ours is basically uplifting those cultures, uplifting those struggles and those challenges, and then how can we work together, collectively as a team. Now, when it comes to police brutality, first, it doesn't only goes to immigrants, it goes to every black and brown community as well. Yes, we want to bridge that gap that creates that divide versus the African from the diaspora or the African Americans here or the local community that are struggling as well. Thinking that  immigrants are coming and taking those resources. All we are advocating for is the resources here. How can it be equitably distributed? People have access. Our key, the key word here is access.

Pepper: I don't know what's going on with your connection data, but it's really bad.  

Dauda: Culture is a bigger yeah, I'm driving, but I'll leave it to the team. If my network is not so good, I'll leave it to the team to answer those questions.  

Pepper: No worries. Thank you. I appreciate it. But it sounds like what you're saying is so long as we've got programming that is open to immigrants and we are conscious of language and cultural differences that we might not have to be afraid that, but that we need to stand up and tire different arms and wings that are specific to immigrants. But what I do want to do is to bridge. There was a question that was already in the chat and you mentioned immigration. I know that Lori has a couple of attorneys on staff. Are y'all doing a train the trainer for attorneys who might want to maybe do some pro bono hours, maybe want to help out, or is this something that you could develop maybe? 

Dauda: Thank you so much. We don't do that internally at this moment, but that is something that we're going to be developed. And that's actually we are in the process now doing some interview with a supervising Anthony that will be leading that department. And then we'll take us to that. But what do what we do have with our national partners is we have what we call the comprehensive overview of immigration law, which is called COIL. Training  C O I L, which we have to our national partner. We are offering scholarship to individual community member does really wanted to learn about immigration and practice immigration law through the D O J accreditation. So that is something to our national partner law. We have access to provide a scholarship. 

Pepper: All right, I am looking for that so I can post it in the chat, but I want to, because we are winding down. I want to make sure that we do circle back to not just the amazing event that is going to be going on tomorrow, but other ways that we might be able to support Lori. There is a note in the chat. Thank you, Reverend Anderson. Anderson the use your networks to be inclusive and have Lori, and not just specific from the organization, but, Refugees, immigrants, and asylum seekers at the table for all of these discussions about things that absolutely impact them, which doesn't sound,  thank you, doesn't sound terribly different than what it is that we ask for other minority communities. And here in the chat once more, how can one become a mentor to newly arrived immigrant or refugee families? 

Marcela: I can jump into that if my colleagues will not say I all I'm going to say when you do something with love, when you're honest, when you're transparent, when you want to help just because it gets out of your heart, not because you have to do it right. It just simply comes out of natural. And there's not a magical thing that you have to do. You just simply love people. It's like when you're in a food pantry and you're gonna, you're giving out food and you're not even looking at the, they're black or white or immigrant or not. You're just giving out food. That's the same thing. It's love, love towards immigrants. When you have a newly arrived immigrant, first things first, find resources in the community that are available. If they're here in Baton Rouge, send them to us. If we cannot help them, we called you. We call our partners organizations. You get a lot of phone calls from me all the time, when we're referring people out, because at the end of the day, this is a working effort. We're all working together to strive for a better city, for a better community. To respond to your question, Pepper, to respond to Tia's question, and to respond to everybody's question about how to be better with the immigrant community, is just simply be honest. And really from the bottom of your heart, realize that we're human beings, that we wish we could be back home with our families. I just came back from one month of being with my family, seeing my family, enjoying my family, eating the food that I have in my country. And all I could think is about there's so many people that are left behind here in this office that will never, ever see their families again, that will never taste the food of their countries, that will never smell the smell of the rain when it rains back home. So this is just about being honest, loving your friends and your sisters and your brothers, and knowing that we really don't want to, we don't want to be here. We want to be with our families. We're here because we have to be here. 

Pepper: But we're glad that you are. However, it happened. Alfreda?

Alfreda Tillman Bester:  Good morning, everybody doubt. Would you please share the information that you talked about with attorneys being trained through? Will you send me an email? I can help with police brutality, but I have to also be able to bridge. The responsibilities of of immigration law, which I'm not familiar with and which I think it would probably take me a long time to study to become familiar with because it is very convoluted. Intentionally convoluted. 

Pepper: Thanks for asking for that because I cannot find this TOIM DOJ accreditation training anywhere.

Dauda: Thank you so much, Alfreda. It's really speaks on means a lot to me and to the community, knowing that you're actually looking to incorporate that. Which is great. Yes, I will share that. That is something that is not shared publicly. It mostly shares within that network. But if you Google, I think all C O I L training, I think you should be able to get information about that. What is specific information to apply? For it and offered a scholarship. I will definitely share that with you. I think there is one coming up in August which I believe if we're going to answer is wanted to learn about immigration and really wanted to support and those are things that we can and we are part of the national network and then want to share the link which members you belong. So you're just going to put glory and for you to have access to that. Yes, I think we got up to 10 space that we can offer. As well, what I'm driving now, but once I reach and I just park location, but once I reach at the office, I should be able to share that with you, Dr. Alfreda. And there's one thing I just want to leave with everyone here. I'm about to leave. Let's just take a moment back and reflect how the global bus displacement quadrupled. And it just so many reasons why people are fleeing. The recent data that just came out is 120 million people have been forcibly displaced, and half of those are women and Children. Those people home is not the same again. Their lives is not the same again,  and they've left everything behind the and in order to Yeah and run for their lives. Some of those things they left behind, they have physical property. Some of those are intangible. They are not physical, but those are memories  of the town they grew up, the village they know, the smells, the food, all of those that they left behind. But today we are here in the United States. And I will speak particularly of me and so grateful  to especially  the Baton Rouge and Louisiana community to work for welcoming me and my family here and welcoming  the  refugees community that have been resettled here.  And if not for the welcoming spirits of the community here, I would be  the person I am today. I won't be able to raise my family, but people open doors. They open the hands off welcoming, and that's what we're asking. Every Louisiana and Baton Rouge. Yes, you've done it for so many of us. Let's keep doing it so that we can continue to uphold the values that this nation stands for. So I just wanted to say thank you to each and every one of you  for welcoming us in the city and in the States. And let's continue to do that. And we all can create a place that embrace love and take away anything that doesn't have to share  love. 

Pepper: Thank you. Reverend Anderson. Thank you, Dauda.  

Reverend Anderson: Good morning. Pepper, I just wanted to share a very real example of what it means to be an ally when somebody's not in a room. When for two years, I worked on a domestic violence task force in the 19th JDC, and we brought Natalia Dickinson, who is an immigration attorney for Lori, into those conversations. Most of those judges had no idea what the impact of some of the laws and some of the other issues were as it related to domestic violence. But one of the things that came out of that conversation Is that the 19th JDC has a recovery court. Many of I'm the community advocate. I promote people coming to the graduations. This very last graduation was literally the first time that  a non English speaker had been put in the program and graduated  and accommodation was made or and so I can't stress enough. I saw something on Facebook that just broke my heart. Me because it's so powerful. An ally is only an ally if they're an ally when you're not in the room. And that has to be using the networks we're in to promote opportunities that don't require people to have English as a first language to actually bring people who can tell the real world story of the unintended consequences of policies, procedures, and even personnel.  And so one of the things that I know for a fact, we work very closely with Lori on, on the detention system. So we built capacity for them so that's one less door they physically have to be in. And I just wanted to share that because I think sometimes we think we have to have huge amounts of money and huge amounts of other things. Sometimes we just have to use the network we have and be committed to being the same in the room with people as we are when they're not in the room. 

Pepper: Well said, Reverend Anderson. Said. We are a little bit over time. Thank you for giving me extra heartbeats today. Laurie, why don't y'all start us off and let us know what's going on this weekend in Baton Rouge? 

Marcella: You said LORI? 

Dauda: Sharon, you can go ahead with that. Champion of World Refugee Day. 

Sharon: Absolutely. Once again, thank you all so much. This weekend we are having World Refugee Day. But please come with your traditional regalia because it's going to be beautiful. And don't forget to sign up and register for the event. We want to make an easy entrance to you all. And we are also asking, If you have people in your network, and if you love to donate, go to Lori's website and click that donation button and donate a token. Nothing is too small. It's going to go a long way to ensuring that  we do so many things to support our community. And remember, every food you eat tomorrow  is made with so much love from our community. It goes a long way to other, all those things from different countries, so they can come here in America. Please We just want you all to come out  and find a place in your heart to spread the word, show love, embrace love, that's the key word, embrace love and come have fun with us tomorrow from 2 p.m to 6 30 p. m. We look forward to having you all. Doors will be open to the vendors from noon and we want you to come have fun and spread the word. We need to educate more of our fellow Americans to understand who we are as a people. That is the avenue. You want to come meet us. And then from us and what we do and where we are. So thank you all for this space. Thank you to the one rouge and everyone in the community that is opening the doors and your hearts to us. It means so much to us. Thank you all so much. Mucho gracias. 

Pepper: Con gusto. Thank you all so much for being here. We genuinely appreciate you spending your Friday with us. There are a gajillion things that are over here happening in the chat. I, yeah I'm not even going to read all these, but they are in the chat. They will come in the notes. Is there anything that isn't in the chat that we do need to make sure that folks know is going on this weekend in Baton Rouge? 

Casey: Oh, good. Yeah, I just wanted to make sure in the spirit of the conversation today.  The Mandela Washington fellowship from Africa is landing in Louisiana today at the Capitol Park Museum at 4:30pm. And, if that is of interest. Anybody can hit me on the side. I'm happy to connect you to the folks at LSU that are the conduits for that program. But if you look up in Mandela, Washington Fellowship, and I think that kind of speaks for itself, and I said in, in the humans that are coming to our city we want them to feel welcomed. We want them to create here and then create global partnerships. So anybody that is available to be at the Capital Park Museum. And then last but not least I don't know if this is public or not, so I'm just gonna say it anyway, and if we crowd the place out, and there's no room, but there is a goodbye party for Rodneyna can barely say it at 5:30 at the radio bar next week I'm sad to see her leave the city. I'm sad to see her leave the city, but I wish her best. So everyone come to the radio bar next Wednesday at 5:30 if you want to give a proper send off to the wonderful and one and only Rodneyna as said that is happening next week. 

Pepper: Thanks for that, Casey. I know a lot of folks were not sure when they'd be able to get to see her, if they could get to see her. Yes, go crash. Reverend Anderson.  

Reverend Anderson: I was trying to type, but I couldn't type that fast. So on Sunday, we are having the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison Reform Coalition is hosting a movie screening, which is the PBS frontline documentary called Burden of Innocence. And it's going to be at the Goodwood Library 3:30. It is a powerful conversation that's going to be had about the permanence  of interaction with the criminal justice system, even with people who have been exonerated. And so it's going to be  a very powerful conversation. This is Torture Awareness Month.  And so the coalition has been doing a number of events and the ribbon, cause there's a ribbon for everything is orange. And if you choose to wear one as today's conversation reminded us, there are people who have left their homes and everything they know  because of unspeakable torture. And this month, while it doesn't sound like something powerful is hugely powerful  because increasingly. It's interconnected with everything else, climate  change with colonization, with all sorts of things. And so when I say I can't recommend people enough, especially in this community that is having some of the worst conversations I know of  about how we treat people, it is important that we remember people create systems. And we have to change the hearts of people. So just wanted to invite everybody. It's absolutely free. And this is Louisiana. So of course there's some food. 

Pepper: Yeah, but who cooking? We've been talking about good food.

Reverend Anderson: Ain't nobody cooking. It's coming out of bag.

Pepper: All right. 

Reverend Anderson: Look. You getting some popcorn. That's what you get. 

Pepper: Thank you so much for being with us. We really appreciate it. There is a very thin line between the lives that the immigrants, refugees and even asylum seekers are living in South Louisiana and that of folks who've been here for two and three and four and five generations. The bottom line is that poverty is not discriminating based upon your country of origin. It discriminates on many of the things, but that ain't it. Thank y'all for being here. Please keep in mind that there will be many things happening over the weekend, but between now and the next time I see ya, have a great one, be safe, and we'll see you back here next Friday. Same bat time, same bat channel.



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