Winter 2022: Message from the Executive Director

Dear Friends, I hope you are having a nice week, especially now that the weather feels as though an early spring is upon us. The sight of so many spring flowers – including the first blossom on a gardenia plant that I planted several years ago that I had all but given up on – brought me joy. The gardenia flower was such a welcome surprise, especially after my investment of time, energy and just a bit of hope. All the while I was entirely unsure if my efforts would ever yield a positive outcome. It reminded me of feeling hopeful in other contexts, such as trying out a new recipe, a creative endeavor, a job, or working on a relationship with someone you care about. The thing that I pondered was what makes us continue going forward on a particular endeavor, when so many things could go wrong; when we have previously failed; or when we carry the hurt of past disappointment. Authors write books on the power of optimism, and this is for good reason. For example, I find myself drawn to people who have a more upbeat vibe. Though I occasionally tend to focus on problems in my work and personal life, I enjoy my days more when I regularly remind myself of all the things in my life that are going in a positive direction. If that doesn’t lift my mood, then I think about my list of ten things to do when I need a “perk me up.” Since it may be of use to you or others, I’ll share my top 10 list...

Summer 2021: Message from the Executive Director

Leer en español  We at La Raza Centro Legal (LRCL) have been serving the immigrant community from our Mission District San Francisco offices and in a combination of in-office/work-from-home modes since the pandemic began last year. It has afforded us many months to reflect upon changes we wish to see in the world – environmental changes, changes in our racial structures that allow people of color to live free from harm or persecution, and so many other needed changes to move toward a more just society. In my case, I have thought extensively about how those holding public office and our current presidential administration can take action now, to formulate a comprehensive immigration plan that is humane, just, and in line with our nation’s history of welcoming immigrants into our diverse nation. While it would take much more than a short article to do the subject justice, I would like to share my thoughts on the matter. One main area is the need to return to a focus on reunifying families. In 1965 when our nation’s federal immigration laws were overhauled by Congress, the new laws were grounded in a common thread of prioritizing the unification of families who had been living apart for years. The guiding principle behind this legislation was to recognize the humanity, dignity, and respect that humans feel when we are able to live with the family members we love. A compassionate immigration system recognizes this human need to live alongside our immediate family members. By doing so, fair immigration laws create a logical and fair system to prioritize families’ needs to live together. Many...

Message From the Executive Director, February 2021

Dear Friends,  Almost a year has passed since our lives changed so dramatically last March. Though there have been so many difficult aspects of social distancing and complex health issues during the pandemic, we have adapted this past year, to try to feel happier day to day.  During a visit with a young adult client this week, I learned that two of her older siblings had recently become engaged or gotten married, and they had moved out of their parents’ home.  The client shared that she also planned to move out of the family home.  Her new steady employment in a job she enjoyed offered her the chance to live independently, and she was excited about starting a new chapter in her life.   During our meeting to review the status of her immigration case, the client mentioned some of her goals for the next 12 months.  I made the mental note that she was quite a bit more upbeat than when I had last seen her about 4 months ago.  I was so pleased that she was happier, that I did my best to match her energy.  By the end of our meeting, we were sharing stories about the shelter cats we had rescued in the last few months, and making a plan for our next appointment.  It felt just like we were two friends who were catching up after several months apart.  The rest of the day, my own mood was uplifted, just like it would have been had I met with someone from my personal circle of friends.   Learning about my client’s updates and recent achievements helped...