Immigration has been dominating headlines for some time now. From family separation at the border and immigrant detention centers, to ICE raids in the five boroughs; it seems as though this crisis grows daily.
Although the current immigration crisis facing the U.S. is covered consistently, rarely do we hear of ways to help. Nov10, a local grassroots non-profit, noticed this void and organized an event to help the community unite under the cause.
Established in 2016 shortly after the election, Nov10 is the product of a group of friends who came together under the goal of creating effective community outreach. “We’re really just a group of friends who were trying to find a way to hold each other accountable for getting involved and pinpointing ways we could make tangible change in our local communities,” said Sarah Buder, member of Nov10’s steer team this term.
In the years since Nov10 was founded, they’ve hosted beach cleanups, organized clothing drives, and thrown parties to fundraise for organizations that support causes that the local community cares about. Past events have helped raise bail money for low-income detainees with nonviolent offenses; support non-profits that assist homeless teens in the NYC area like Trinity Place Shelter; and fund organizations that put young girls through intensive STEM summer programs.
The organization is responsible for organizing and hosting successful events like Eureka! A Comedy Show Benefiting Girls Inc. of NYC. They’ve raised $4,000 for the ACLU, and Sent books to incarcerated individuals who mailed written requests to Books Through Bars NYC.
“When the new steer team came on, we thought ‘how do we find out what people want to come together around?’,” said Buder. “We set up a survey and we sent it out in our newsletter and discovered one of the top three issues people felt inspired to fundraise around was immigrant and refugee rights.”
On October 22 at 8:00pm, Elsewhere will host a live music benefit with performances from some of the city’s favorite local bands at their Zone One space. Organized by Nov10, the benefit being held for Safe Passage Project; a nonprofit immigration legal services organization that provides free lawyers to refugee and immigrant children in the NYC-area.
It’s clear from Nov10’s survey that residents throughout the city share the same sense of hopelessness when it comes to the topic of immigrant and refugee rights. In fact, it’s that very same feeling that brought Alex Rizio, Managing Attorney for Training and Partnerships to Safe Passage Project in the first place.
“The way we’ve treated immigrants historically in the US has not been good, so I wanted to help people who needed assistance,” said Rizio.
Rizio joined Safe Passage as the third full-time attorney. During this time, there was an increase in the number of children arriving at the U.S border unaccompanied. Those who were accompanied faced separation as removal proceedings commenced.
According to Rizio, these unaccompanied minors have the right to plead their case out of detention but like many of us, these children have no idea of their rights.
“Immigration is one of the most complicated places in law to begin with – most of our clients are eligible for some form of legal release. There are laws that are intended to protect them, but to expect a child to articulate that and defend themselves against the specter of deportation is extremely difficult without a lawyer.” Rizio adds, “These proceedings can be some of the most traumatic experiences in their lives.”
The Safe Passage project has over 1000 clients throughout five boroughs, 221 of which are residents of Brooklyn. They’ve connected with clients through court proceedings, city agencies, and word of mouth. Their dedication to helping immigrants and refugees in the local community is the primary reason Nov10 felt compelled to fundraise on their behalf.
The night will be packed with performances by local favorites like Drumadics, Harville, and Slow Riches; all of who volunteered their time to support the cause. In between the musical acts, Safe Passage Project representatives will speak to the audience about the crisis and how to get involved. All proceeds raised from the benefit help provide law services to refugee and immigrant children facing deportation in the NYC area. Tickets for the event are $10 in advance and $15 at the door.
If you’re not able to make the benefit, have no fear, there are still ways to get involved and help The Safe Passage project.
“Two of the main things we need at the moment are volunteer lawyers and interpreters. We have a staff of over twenty lawyers but one of the ways we are able to represent as many kids as we do, is we partners with volunteer attorneys.” Rizio elaborates, “We provide all training and resources to help pro-bono attorneys and clients be successful in court.”
In the end, anyone who attends the benefit can expect a night full of great music, good vibes, and education around the immigration issue that is directly impacting the Bushwick community.
Photo provided by Elsewhere Zone One
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