Immigrant Coalitions Rally at Statehouse for MA Trust & Safe Driving Acts

Immigrant rights groups in Massachusetts rallied at the footsteps of the State House last Thursday, May 7, calling on state legislators to take a stand for immigrant inclusion by endorsing both the MA Trust Act and Safe Driving Act. The MA Safe Driving Act would remove immigration status as a barrier to becoming a tested, licensed and insured driver. Already enacted in 10 states, including Connecticut and Vermont – immigrant and civil rights leaders in MA want to make sure that MA ensures equal access to safe driving for everyone.

In attendance were representatives from the Irish International Immigrant Center (IIIC), who have long advocated for this Safe Driving Bill. Johanne Meleance, Inclusion, Advocacy and Outreach Coordinator at the IIIC commented that her organization is firmly behind the coalition that is pushing to have this legislation passed. She said that "all residents in Massachusetts should have access to be trained, licensed and insured".

The MA Trust Act seeks to prevent unjust deportations and improve immigrant communities’ trust in local police by helping to build a firewall between local police and federal immigration enforcement. Similar policies have been enacted in over 300 localities across the US, including the entire states of CA and CT, and five jurisdictions in the Commonwealth, most recently in the City of Boston and Hampden County.

If you have any questions related to this article you can contact MIRA 617-350-5480; IIIC at 617-542-7654 or the IPC 617- 265-5300.

S.M.A. Appeal - Generous Response to Ebola crisis

In February, S.M.A. Fathers based in Dedham, Massachusetts were delighted to be able to transfer $50,000 to the only Catholic Hospital in Ebola stricken Liberia.

Last August when Ebola reached the capital city of Monrovia with a vengeance, most of the leadership team at the hospital, both lay and religious, lost their lives unknown to the world. They became victims themselves while caring for others. As a result, the hospital had to be closed down until a brave new professional team could be put in place. The building itself would have to be fully equipped to deal with this ongoing emergency as well as maintaining the regular medical services. The hospital, called after “St. Joseph” also staffs and supplies small clinics in the poorer areas of the city.

Galway native, Fr. Brendan Darcy, the Superior of the S.M.A. Fathers launched an appeal for assistance for the hospital last Fall. He spoke at the Irish Social Club in West Roxbury, The Norwood Music Club and The Irish Cultural Centre in Canton. He sent letters and made phone calls to many personal friends and S.M.A. supporters. Three Irish radio programs and the Irish Emigrant Newspaper picked up the momentum and were the most generous in advertising the urgency of the situation. The response has been wonderful. The Sisters and the staff of a Catholic Hospital in Galway City made a very substantial contribution in the early stages of the appeal.

Fr. Darcy himself served in Liberia for sixteen years and recalls being a patient at this same hospital under the marvelous care of the Brothers and Sisters of St. John of God. Thankfully the hospital has now reopened under new leadership.

Fr. Darcy expresses his profound gratitude to all who responded so generously to the Appeal and to the individuals, the organizations, the clubs and the media who promoted this effort in any way.

If you would like to donate please mail the S.M.A. Fathers at P.O. Box 47 in Dedham, MA 02027.

Reminder: The big S.M.A Fundraiser will take place this year as usual on Saturday, May 30th at the Irish Social Club in West Roxbury.