January 2013 Newsletter

Posted on January 22, 2013

The Center for New North Carolinians Newsletter – January 2013

Building bridges among immigrant populations and existing communities throughout the state of North Carolina… 

Greetings!  After celebrating the closing of a wonderful year, we are full of anticipation as we plan for 2013.

The Center for New North Carolinians was a part of some amazing civic engagement in the past months, and we are also excited to share our upcoming events and programs in Greensboro.

In this Issue

  • Community Centers
  • “MLK Day” by Raleigh Bailey
  • Immigrant Health ACCESS Program
  • Piedmont Together
  • Thriving at Three
  • Greensboro Police Deputy Chief Visits the CNNC
  • Quick Takes
  • Announcements

Community Centers

As we look back at the previous year, we want to say a big “Thank You!” to all of our partnering agencies and volunteers who have helped to make this last semester successful. Our volunteers bring so much enthusiasm to their efforts! We recently had a young man anxiously approach a staff member because he was, “just really concerned that now that I have completed my hours of service, I won’t be connected to know the needs of the community and how I can help.” The staff member reassured him that he would be kept informed through the newsletter and was impressed by the connection he had made with the population he was serving. Another volunteer was so inspired by his experience that he changed his undergraduate major from business to social work. Clearly, volunteers do not just impact the community; the community shapes volunteers, in turn, producing concerned and passionate individuals.

Meanwhile, a particular project of the adult services at the Community Centers is making waves in neighborhoods. Crafty Conversations began as an opportunity for refugee and immigrant women to develop their handicraft skills while creating relationships and practicing English. It has evolved into a path to empowerment, where participants use handicraft skills to engage the American business model and contribute to the financial stability of their families. After much dedicated labor, handicrafts were submitted to four sale events in November at First Presbyterian Church, the Greensboro Children’s Museum, Ten Thousand Villages, and the Westover Church Home. Roughly 70% of the revenue comes back to these women, and at Ten Thousand Villages they turned a profit of $2,000 overall. The women were amazed and excited by what they had been able to accomplish.

“MLK Day” by Raleigh Bailey

Dr. Raleigh Bailey, CNNC Director

This month, our country celebrates the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the symbolic leader of the Civil Rights or Freedom Movement of the sixties. As a white, Southern college student during the sixties, I was surrounded by the turmoil of racial conflict, the challenges of change, questions of right and wrong, morality, family traditions, and expectations to obey the laws of segregation. At the same time my faith community was asking the question of “who is my neighbor?” Not an easy time.

I recently received a phone call from Susan Ladd, columnist for the Greensboro News and Record. She was interviewing people, asking what one word they associated with Martin Luther King, as she worked on a column highlighting MLK Day. It is hard to put into one word the impact of a movement that transformed America.

It is easy to think about the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed segregation, as a legacy of that movement. However, the movement influenced other events. In 1965, immigration laws were revised, striking the racist policies which focused on Europe as our source of immigrants. The 1965 Immigration Act opened doors to immigrants from other parts of the world, opening America to newcomers from Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Dr. King began to question the legitimacy of the Vietnam War, much to the dismay of some followers who feared this would weaken the Civil Rights movement. However, he had come to believe that nonviolence leads us to question the nature of war as well. Gradually the tide of opposition to the Vietnam War grew as more people were influenced by his thoughts and actions. The Freedom Movement also began to raise issues of economic justice, and America began to think about a war on poverty. Dr. King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, in the spring of 1968 as he supported a strike by African American sanitation workers who did not get the same pay as white workers and had to ride in the back of the city sanitation trucks. Our nation’s war on poverty grew out of a new awareness of economic injustice.

King crafted a vision of peace and justice for our nation through a combination of his understanding of the Christian social ethic with the strategies of nonviolent direct action developed by Mahatma Gandhi in the movement to liberate India from the confines of British colonialism. He supported that vision with direct action in response to the moral imperative he saw.

As we think now about his legacy, much attention is devoted to the “I Have a Dream” speech that he gave at the March on Washington in the summer of 1963. It was an elegant speech that mesmerized a nation struggling with racial conflict and directly led to the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. In AmeriCorps programs, his legacy is celebrated each year by focusing on his belief in service, that we are called to serve one another. However, his legacy is much more than dreams and beliefs in service.

He was committed to nonviolent direct action, which he called “Soul Power,” challenging unjust laws, and being willing to accept the consequences, even if it meant being beaten by those in opposition or being put in jail for breaking laws. He believed that breaking unjust laws that oppressed people and being willing to suffer with them in the process, would help society recognize unjust laws and gradually become persuaded to change those laws, ensuring a just and open society.

Forty-five years later we still face issues related to justice. In the field of immigration, we see many people of color marginalized, prevented from participating in normal activities of our country because of where they were born, what kinds of papers they have. Our country will wrestle with this issue. We again need to decide who our neighbor is. We may be called upon to take a stand, to come out of the closet and declare ourselves. We can guess where Dr. Martin Luther King would be on this issue. The more important question is: where will we be?

Immigrant Health ACCESS Program (IHAP)

CNNC staff and volunteers represented a large percentage of the interpreters helping with the Missions of Mercy dental clinic at the Greensboro Coliseum. According to Fox 8 Local News, approximately 200 volunteers and 38 dentists gave of their time and expertise to help individuals who cannot afford dental care. Dr. Blalock, an instrumental mover in this endeavor, stated, “We’ve always seen the working poor, we’ve always seen the unemployed, but now we’re seeing a segment in our population that had good jobs and had food, dental benefits, and now all of a sudden they’re jobless.” This is the third year the Immigrant Health ACCESS Project staff has helped with the dental clinic.

As IHAP looks forward to the new year, they plan to take a broader approach to programming than they have in the past.  Specific emphasis will be placed on advocacy and reaching groups that have been underserved and overlooked. A major project connected with IHAP is the Montagnard Health Disparities Project that uses health-trained professionals from this community to assist with services.

Piedmont Together

Sustainable Communities of the Piedmont, now Piedmont Together, is an initiative to discover and create “choices, opportunities, and solutions” for the Piedmont region. In the latest progress report, Piedmont Together defines its main goal as “strengthening our region by strengthening each city and town in our region. This will be done by taking a comprehensive look at jobs, housing, and transportation – how they can function together and how they relate to creating healthy communities, our development pattern, valuing green infrastructure, and preparing for weather extremes.”

CNNC’s Kathy Hinshaw is spearheading the effort to include the Spanish-speaking population in this project. She has begun coordinating and facilitating fair housing focus groups in eight counties identified for their high concentrations of ethnic communities: Alamance, Davidson, Davie, Forsythe, Guilford, Montgomery, Randolph and Surrey.  Hinshaw has already conducted her first focus group in Alamance County at the Centro La Comunidad in Burlington.

Thriving at Three

Over 150 participants spread Christmas cheer Tuesday night, December 4th, at the Thriving at Three Christmas party at the Church of the Covenant. In addition to festive foods and décor, Santa attended with a present for each child (naughty or nice)! Parents enjoyed a beautiful performance of songs, starring the children.

A partnership with the Undergraduate Admissions Office at UNCG made the night even more special. The Admissions Office contacted the Thriving at Three program director to see if they could come together to celebrate the holiday season with participants. First, 20 volunteers did crafts with the children at the Christmas party. Then, the Admissions office provided an abundance of Christmas presents for two families who, because of need, would not have had any presents. What a tremendous example of the spirit of giving!

Greensboro Police Deputy Chief Holder visits CNNC

Deputy Chief Holder of the Greensboro Police visited CNNC this past month to hear from staff and increase understanding of the needs and resources of the refugee and immigrant community. She is invested in hearing about the challenges that community members have been facing and offered a fuller perspective on how Law Enforcement works and our rights as citizens.

Mutual feelings of frustration were expressed about policy and the need for legislative changes. Officer Holder emphasized that if anyone has a concern or complaint, whether it is about feeling discriminated against or even wanting a pothole filled, the number to call is Professional Standards at 336-373-CITY. Professional Standards has a responsibility to investigate issues that are reported. The meeting was a great opportunity to give a voice to serious problems and continue to pursue viable and lasting solutions.

Quick Takes in the Months of December and January!

CNNC celebrated its new space with an open house party for UNCG departments and community partners.

AmeriCorps is proud to report that at the end of the first half of their programming year, they have 100% retention of members.

H’Tuyet of IHAP will be welcomed to the table for a discussion with the Child Initiative Response Multidisciplinary Team of Guilford County.

The Interpreter ACCESS Project conducted their first public interpreter training. The talented training team brings expertise from the Montagnard, Latino, Arabic, and Laotian cultures. Another training will be scheduled for the spring so keep an eye out for upcoming announcements!


AmeriCorps is now recruiting for new volunteer members as well as additional partner agencies. If you would like to participate or know of anyone or any agency that would like to be involved, please contact [email protected]. Information will also be posted at cnnc.uncg.edu.

The Community Centers are always accepting winter coats to give to those who do not have one. If you would like to donate a coat, please contact Maha Elobeid at [email protected] or 336-256-1480.

New programming starts this month for the Community Centers and Thriving at Three.

Glenwood Library, a partner agency of CNNC, begins an English as a Second Language class Wednesday, January 16, from 6pm-7pm. There is no cost to attend. Please call 336-297-5000 to make a reservation.

If you are interested in volunteering for the Center for New North Carolinians, please contact Frannie Varker at 336-256-1067 or email her at [email protected].

Thank you so much for your continued interest and involvement. Special thanks to our friends in UNCG’s Office of Research and Economic Development.

Did you know…?
Anyone can call Professional Standards (336-373-CITY) if they feel discriminated against by Law Enforcement, and it will be investigated.

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