200 N. Chatham Ave. Siler City, NC 27344     919-742-1448

News

Dubester honored by the West Chatham NAACP

Congratulations to our executive director, Ilana Dubester, for the Outstanding Citizen Award from the West Chatham NAACP at their Humanitarian Awards Banquet on December 8, 2018 in Siler City. Ilana and our whole team are proud of this recognition for our advocacy work in the community. Congratulations Ilana, we are lucky to have a fearless leader like you!

Award winners: Boy and Girls Club- Wrenn Center Siler City (3rd from left), Outstanding Citizen-Ilana Dubester (center) Hispanic Liaison of Chatham County, Outstanding Youth Leader-Melody Dark, Vice-Principal-Jordan Matthews High School (5th from left)

Thank you Fiesta Volunteers!

We celebrated our wonderful Fiesta 2018 volunteers with a dinner on December 3 at Peppercorn in Siler City.  The fabulous Chef Elena Gonzalez and Juan Carlos Estrada prepared a delicious taco dinner and pastel 3 leches for dessert.

A huge THANK YOU to our volunteers for contributing amazing ideas, energy, talents and time to organize a beautiful Hispanic Heritage Fiesta. Thank you also to Mountaire Farms for donating the chicken for our dinner.

If you’re interested in helping with Fiesta next year, call us at 919-742-1448 or email janet@evhnc.org. Happy Holidays!

New service ~ notary public every Tuesday

Our volunteer Todd Bishop is now a notary public! Todd is available on Tuesdays from 2 to 6pm at our office in Siler City. Thank you Todd for helping our community!

A Fabulous Hispanic Heritage Fiesta 2018

 Nearly 1,000 diverse participants enjoyed the Hispanic Heritage Fiesta in Siler City!

After rescheduling due to hurricane Florence, we lucked out with a warm and sunny Saturday afternoon.  Fiesta was only possible thanks to the generosity of our 36 sponsors and the incredible dedication of 86 volunteers. Many thanks to all our volunteers, exhibitors, artists and sponsors. Y’all are the heart of Fiesta!

Fiesta highlights:
  • Hosted 47 outreach booths from non-profits, government agencies, business sponsors, and arts & crafts vendors
  • 86 volunteers contributed 650 hours before and during Fiesta
  • 44 event sponsors
  • 25 new voters registered during Fiesta thanks to You Can Vote
  • Gorgeous Parade of Traditional Latin American & Quinceañera outfits
  • Health Fair with 8 information tables from private and non-profit service providers
  • Niñolandia offered face painting, live reptile exhibit, crafts, storytelling and games
  • And great food, of course!

We were honored to have Chatham Commissioner Karen Howard  share words of welcome and solidarity at our Fiesta opening. Thank you Commissioner Karen Howard!

Lots of photos on Facebook
Fiesta video on Facebook
Fiesta video on YouTube
Our raffle was a bit hit! We sold over 700 tickets to raise funds for The Liaison. Congratulations to the 4 raffle winners:
  • 1st prize ~ $200 in cash won by Noel Mooney of Greensboro
  • 2nd prize ~ “chocoflan” cake for 20 people donated by Chef Elena Gonzalez won by Maria Herrera of Siler City
  • 3rd prize ~ 4 day-passes to Shakori Hills Music Festival won by Ginny Lewis of Carrboro
  • 4th prize ~ large handmade hammock donated by Ana Huezo won by coach Paul Cuadros of Pittsboro
A big thank you to our amazing artists and performers
Live music :

Encuesta Norteña from Siler City

Esencia Venezolana

Clapping Hands Eukalali Band

Rafael Perez from Orchestra K’Che

Traditional folkloric dances:

Magetsi 4H Club of Sanford

Danza Azteca Tonathzin of Raleigh

Art Exhibit at the NC Arts Incubator gallery by:

Artist Jose Manuel Cruz

A special thanks to our Fiesta Planning Committee and to Elena Gonzalez and Juan Carlos Estrada for their extraordinary help and generosity.

Our awesome Fiesta sponsors! 

VIP

                  

Platinum

         

Gold

                 

    

Silver

          
     

New date for Fiesta! 9/29/2018

Due to the hurricane, the new date for the Hispanic Heritage Fiesta is Saturday, September 29, from 1 to 7 pm in downtown Siler City. Please help us spread the word! 

Stay safe during the storm – check out our Facebook page for more information about shelters and other resources. 

Fiesta is a celebration for the whole community with live music, traditional dances, kids’ games, over 40 booths from businesses and agencies, art exhibit by Jose Manuel Cruz. We’ll also have a fabulous parade of traditional and quinceañera outfits and delicious food! We hope to see you at Fiesta!

Johnson’s Mobile Home Park is Closed

The 28 families from Johnson’s Mobile Home Park moved out by the agreed deadline and received their final check from Mountaire Farms!

Tuesday, July 31, was the last day for Johnson’s Mobile Home Park in Siler City, which was home for over 60 adults and 50 children. The majority of the residents were Hispanic.

    

Mountaire Farms evicted 28 families after purchasing the property to expand their new chicken processing plant. Johnson’s housed 28 mobile homes, 27 were owned by the residents who had invested an average of $10,000 per family in the purchase and repairs.

     

Since August 2017, The Hispanic Liaison hosted dozens of meetings with the Hispanic residents to help them articulate their needs, understand their rights, and negotiate with Mountaire Farms for compensation for their losses and relocation expenses.

   

               

In March, following public meetings with town and county commissioners, the residents secured a settlement that included 9 months of rent abatement, an extended move out date to July 31 (the original eviction date was May 7), and $8,300 in financial compensation, totaling $10,190 in benefit to each of the 28 families. 

                                   

 

We are pleased to report that all the families received their final compensation check after moving out by the July 31 deadline. Where are the families now?
–  21 found places to live in Chatham County
–  7 moved to Randolph County
–  3 moved their mobile homes to a new lot
–  7 purchased used mobile homes
–  1 purchased a home
–  17 are renting homes, apartments or mobile homes

Jorge, a father of four said, “I’m grateful to The Hispanic Liaison for helping us come together as a community. By standing united, we were able to face a powerful corporation and secure a fair compensation for our families. This was a great example for our children that we can and should stand up for our rights”.

 

 

We are honored to have stood with the residents to seek a just compensation for their losses. For over 8 months, the residents were united in this struggle, which took a lot of courage and tenacity. This agreement was only possible because of their resolve to organize and the company’s willingness to negotiate with us.

 

Thanks to financial support from Chatham County and from the community, The Liaison was able to help the families look for housing, advise on rental and purchase contracts, secure permits for moving mobile homes, organize volunteers to help residents move, coordinate the signing of the agreements, and much more. We were also responsible for disbursing the checks to each family, which were issued in three installments.

 

We have a long list of people to thank for supporting this cause:  
  • Jack Holtzman and Kate Woomer-Deeters, our excellent attorneys from the NC Justice Center
  • Elizabeth Haddix, EVH board member and intrepid attorney from the Julius Chamber Center for Civil Rights and
  • Joan Underwood, owner of the Courtyard Cafe and Peppercorn in Siler City for her amazing generosity in allowing us to meet with the families in her beautiful space across from our office.
  • Chatham County Commissioners and Manager for their support, intervention and for allocating funds to EVH that allowed us  to help the families till the end.
  • The generous donors who contributed to EVH and to the families. You were crucial to our efforts!
  • The allies and supporters who attended the public meetings, helped with research, gave us advice, thank you! 
  • Our amazing volunteers ~ teens from our Orgullo Latinx Pride youth group who took care of the children at the meetings; moving day volunteers who came from near and far to help several residents settle into their new homes; our dedicated board members Hannia Benitez, Carlos Sanchez and Elea Ocampo for helping many times over.  We couldn’t have done this without y’all!
  • Emilio Vicente, our past staff member who was a essential in helping us organize and coordinate this effort.
  • Rosa Arroyo, our newest staff member who jumped into her new role as program assistant for the Johnson’s cause and has done a wonderful job!
  • The media for sharing the stories of the families and of this struggle
  • Mark Reif, Community Relations Manager for Mountaire Farms, who was kind and respectful throughout the negotiation process.
  • Most of all, the brave families from Johnson’s for their vote of confidence and  their generosity in donating funds and volunteer work The Liaison. We’re very grateful and proud of you!
Johnson’s Farewell Party @ Peppercorn ~ 6/23/18

                                                    

                                                    

                                                       

Background:

In November 2017, Mountaire Farms purchased Johnson’s Mobile Home Park, which is adjacent to their new plant. Mountaire mailed an eviction notice to the residents giving them until May 7, 2018 to move out without offering any compensation for the residents’ losses. Johnson’s housed 28 mobile homes, 27 residents owned their homes and invested an average of $10,000 per family in the purchase and repairs. The eviction placed these low-income families in a dire situation.

After months of negotiations with Mountaire, press conferences and presentations to Siler City and Chatham County commissioners, the residents reached a settlement worth $10,190 per family.

Liberation Not Deportation

Community Defense Fund ~ In April 2018,  four men who have lived in our community for over 15 years were arrested by ICE in Chatham County.  As part of this raid, more than 30 individuals were detained in Orange and Chatham Counties.

In Chatham, four men were detained – 2 Guatemalan brothers, a father from El Salvador and a Guatemalan man from Pittsboro.  Their wives and children were devastated.

The Liaison helped the 3 Siler City families secure legal representation. In May 2018, they were back with their families after being released on immigration bonds. Sadly,  the fourth man was not able to fight his case and was deported  to Guatemala. In response, we launched a COMMUNITY DEFENSE FUND to raise money  for legal representation.

Thanks to 246 donors, we were able to contribute nearly $10,000 toward the legal fees for families impacted by ICE detentions!

Manuel and family

Marco Antonio with wife & child, and his brother Hugo with his wife

The Liaison helps families impacted by ICE raids and deportations to access legal services and other resources; we also keep our community informed about their rights when faced by ICE agents .

If you know someone who has been detained, please call us ~ 919-742-1448

Legal Fair 2018 a great success!

We were honored to offer vital services and share critical information at our Legal Fair on Immigration on Saturday, April 28 in Siler City. The event was free and offered in English and Spanish.

Legal Fair by the numbers:
  • Hosted over 170 participants
  • Offered 45 free legal consultations and DACA rewewals with the help of 10 volunteer immigration attorneys
  • Awarded 3  partial scholarships for DACA renewals 
  • Offered 3 workshops with 10 presenters:
    • Dialog with Chatham County Sheriff Candidates with Sheriff Mike Roberson and Pittsboro Chief Percy Crutchfield
    • Immigration Laws and Your Rights  with Raul Pinto – NC Justice Center, Anna Cushman – Chapman Law Firm, Maria Peralta – member of Siembra NC
    • Emergency Planning and Powers of Attorney with Kate Woomer-Deters – NC Justice Center
  • 13 expo exhibitor tables from attorneys, the consulates of Mexico and Guatemala, businesses and non-profit agencies
A huge thanks to ALL who made  the Legal Fair possible:
  • 21 event sponsors!
  • 24 volunteers who contributed over 50 hours of service
  • 10 volunteer attorneys who offered 26 hours of free consulations:
    • Chris Barnes, Chris Banres Law
    • Thomas Bell, Goyal Law Office,PLLC
    • Evan Benz, The Law Office of Derrick J. Hensley, PLLC
    • David Brown, Apex Immigration Services (BIA certified)
    • Meghan Deutsch-Blanco, Deutsch-Blanco Law, PLLC
    • Hila Moss, U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
    • Raul Pinto, NC Justice Center
    • Jossie Rivera, Cano Rivera Law
  • Diana Hales, Chatham County Commissioner,  and Bryan Thompson, Siler City Town Manager for the event welcome
  • Walter Gomez our fabulous MC, session moderator and photographer
  • Vince Sanabria for wonderful photos
  • Felicia Arriaga for moderating the Sheriff’s candidates dialog
  • Our fantastic team of interpreters
  • The First United Methodist Church of Siler City for the use of their beautiful space
Many thanks to our VIP sponsors!

Liberation Not Deportation

Chatham Immigration Defense Fund

We are sad to report that 3 family men were arrested by ICE* in Siler City in the early hours of Wednesday 4/11. They have lived in our community for over 15 years. Two brothers are from Guatemala and the third man is from El Salvador. They are the sole providers for their wives and 8 US citizen children.

None were on the list of people that ICE was looking for. They were approached by ICE on the street and were asked to show “their papers”.  The families are devastated.

We are helping the families through this crisis and have started to raise funds for legal fees and other needs for the families. All men now have legal representation, which is fundamental and costly.

ICE is still in our area and we fear that more people have been detained. They have arrested at least 30 individuals across the Triangle.

If you know someone who has been detained, please call us at 919-742-1448 for help.

*ICE = Immigration Customs and Enforcement

Please spread the word about our Legal Fair on Immigration on Saturday 4/28 !  

Can the families count on you? Here are ways to contribute:
Donate via our website

Donate via our Facebook Fundraiser
Mail checks to: 

Hispanic Liaison
ICE defense fund
200 N. Chatham Ave.
Siler City, NC 27344

Yes, we can!

We are pleased to announce that the families of Johnson’s Mobile Home Park have reached an agreement with Mountaire Farms on Monday, March 26! Scroll down for ways to help the families and support the cause.

Mountaire agreed to compensate mobile home residents at $8,300 per unit, payable in installments.  The residents will have until July 31 to move out and don’t have to pay lot rent, amounting to $1,890 in savings for those who stay through July.

The families are very grateful for the show of solidarity from the community and relieved that this aspect of their situation is now resolved.

This agreement was only possible due to the residents’ resolve to organize and the outpour of public support. We commend Mountaire Farms for listening to the families’ concerns, and for doing the right thing by increasing the compensation offer from $5,000 to $8,300.

Jonas N., a single mother and homeowner at Johnson’s said, “I want to thank Mountaire for helping our families. I’m also grateful to everyone who showed their support, especially The Hispanic Liaison who encouraged and helped us to stand up for ourselves.”

Jorge L., a homeowner and father of four, said “We are very grateful to The Hispanic Liaison for helping us to come together as a community. By standing united, we were able to face a powerful corporation and reach an agreement for fair compensation for our families”.  

The Liaison started meeting with the residents in August 2017. From the beginning, the residents have been united and determined to advocate for fair compensation for their families. They faced this crisis together with dignity and courage making all decisions collectively about the negotiations and strategies. We are proud of their courage to face Mountaire, the media, the public and our elected officials; something none of them had done before.

The Liaison is continuing to help the families to complete the agreements to receive their compensation, open bank accounts, find housing and move by July 31.

Do you want to help the community? Here are some of the ways:

Donate to the cause we need your help to continue empowering the community to stand up for their rights and to assist these families to look for housing. We also welcome donations by check.

Let us know about affordable rentals, call us at 919-742-1448 ~ the families wish to stay in Siler City and need help finding places to live.

Sign up to volunteer  to help residents move out of their homes ~ there are elderly folks and single moms who don’t have access to trucks and need help to move their belongings.

Stay informed, sign up for our email list ~ learn about our plans to ensure that these and other low-income families have access to affordable and decent housing. We promise not to fill your inbox and never share your information with anyone.

Thank you to all who joined us and the families at the public meetings, spoke out on their behalf or helped in other ways. The residents were moved by your solidarity and grateful to know that they are not alone. We are very grateful to the NC Justice Center  for their partnership and on-going legal assistance.

Thank you! 
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