Needham Groups to Host Public Forum on Immigration
A free public forum entitled, “Immigration: Why Should Our Community Care?” will be held on Nov. 29 in Needham to encourage discussion and increase understanding of the conditions for immigrants in the United States. The program is sponsored by the Needham Area Immigration Justice Task Force and the League of Women Voters of Needham and will be held from 7:30-9:30 p.m. at Broadmeadow School.
“Looking at this phenomenon in Needham gives us a chance to understand this on a micro-level. There is a role for our community in easing transitions for immigrant families and affirming their culture and identity,” said Clark Taylor, one of the organizers of the event.
Taylor leads the Needham Area Immigration Justice Task Force, which formed out of discussions by parishioners at the Needham Congregational Church.
Questions to be considered include: What do immigrants contribute to our community? How does immigration status impact students? What can be Needham’s role?
Speakers will present their perspectives on immigration, followed by an audience question-and-answer discussion. The evening’s speakers include:
- Eva Millona, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA). Albanian by birth, Ms. Millona was the Director of Policy and Advocacy and Deputy Director before becoming Executive Director of MIRA in December, 2008. She is a lawyer with a specialty in civil and criminal law. She is co-chair of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Refugees and Immigrants, and also serves on the US Commission on Civil Rights.
- Sandra Robinson, who grew up in Needham and is Executive Director of the Needham Community Council, has served the Council for 10 years. The Council is a nonprofit multi-service agency that provides an array of services, from ESL to a thrift store, a food pantry, rental of medical equipment, and non-medical emergency assistance.
- SIM students who are presently active in enrolling students who are applying for extended stay and work permits, pursuant to President Obama's executive order to postpone any deportations of them for at least two years.
Supporting organizations include the Congregational Church of Needham, First Parish in Needham Unitarian Universalist and the Needham Human Rights Committee.