On Tuesday, November 27th, we went to The HUB on South St. Clair Street in Painesville to attend the monthly HOLA Ohio meeting.
As we have written before, HOLA Ohio is “a grassroots Latino organization based in Painesville that empowers the Latino community through outreach, advocacy, and community organizing.”
The meeting was conducted by Ms. Kelsey Fischer, Program Manager with HOLA Ohio, who, with the input of audience members, addressed such topics as the current “zero tolerance” policies of ICE regarding apprehension of undocumented immigrants.
Particularly troubling were new trends pertaining to those applying for either U visas (for victims of certain crimes like domestic violence) and T visas (human trafficking victims); more and more those whose applications have been rejected run the risk of deportation proceedings being initiated against them.
We also spent a few minutes discussing the potentially dangerously traumatic effects a parent’s deportation can have on a child.
On the positive side, we talked about the wonderful job that HOLA Ohio volunteers did registering voters for the 2018 election; working in different parts of Ohio they registered 1,001 new voters and contacted them to be sure they voted.
We also discussed the planned HOLA Center in Painesville and the the process of making it a reality. Among the activities that might take place there are citizenship counseling and ESL classes.
What’s more it is very important that the HOLA Center be established so that those needing any kind of vital assistance (i.e. legal, health, education) can obtain it whether they be documented or undocumented.
Along those lines, several HOLA supporters spoke up and said that they would like to learn Spanish to help bridge the communication gap and hoped that opportunities to do so just might occur at the HOLA Center too.