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星期三, 11月 16, 2016

Over 400 celebrate immigrant unity and impact at MIRA Thanksgiving lunch

Over 400 immigrants, legislators and community leaders come together to celebrate immigrant unity and impact

BOSTON — At 11:30 Tuesday morning, first-time voters, new Americans, refugees, legislators, community leaders and many others from across Massachusetts celebrated their shared immigrant heritage at the 12th annual free Thanksgiving Luncheon offered by the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, or MIRA. Over 400 guests came to "Our Shared Table" to stand together in unity with all new Americans who make our Commonwealth stronger.

Attorney General, Maura Healey gave a powerful statement about her office standing up for the civil rights of all Massachusetts residents and a special hotline for anyone experiencing bias-motivated threats, harassment, or violence to call (1-800-994-3228). She encouraged immigrants in the state to come forward with their concerns "without fear of reprisal based on immigration status." Addressing the diverse audience, MIRA Executive Director Eva Millona declared that "The American Dream is bigger than an election, and we need to stand together and recommit to our shared values.”

The support for making Massachusetts a safe and welcoming place in light of the concerning rhetoric of the President-elect was underscored by numerous state legislators, including State Senator Jason Lewis and State Representative Jeffrey Sánchez, who both shared their own immigration stories of coming to the U.S. as children and watching their parents work hard to make a life for them here. Senator Jamie Eldridge also spoke, reaffirming his intention to refile the Massachusetts TRUST Act in the upcoming legislative session.

The theme of unity and community support was further buttressed by a statement from Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, read by Alejandra St. Guillen, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement, in which he asserted that Boston is a "city of compassion, a welcoming, diverse, global city," and it will stay that way.

The diverse audience at the event also heard a series of inspiring personal testimonies shared by Emmanuel Franjul (an immigrant from the Dominican Republic and a Partner at Frontier Capital Management), Ana Rosa Dias (a recently naturalized immigrant from Brazil who just voted in her first American election), and Said Ahmed (a Somali refugee, U.S. track star, and founder of United Somali Youth). The audience was treated to the Star Spangled Banner and operatic highlights sung by mezzo-soprano Fanny Lora (an immigrant from the Dominican Republic).