As I enter Paulette’s apartment, she introduces me to her Garden of Eden. Paulette is fascinated by floral design—she embellishes her residence in an arrangement of real and artificial flowers. Paulette’s apartment showcases her bright disposition and I instantly feel welcomed into her home. She hands me a can of Orange Fanta as I sit on the couch next to her piano. Paulette always had an affinity for playing music from what she tells me. I do not know what to expect from this interview, all I know is that I am instantly intrigued by her personality.
In January, AFSC staff and youth from across the South Region led protests and a national panel discussion to confront the issue of police violence and militarization in the United States.
Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday served as the launch date for SOAR (South Organizing Against Racism), which inspired youth-led events in over 15 cities including Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Greensboro, Miami and New Orleans.
Marie’s skinny body is exaggerated from her oversized dress, but her personality is anything but frail.
While she speaks, her voice fluctuates wildly in its tone; and while she talks, her face is brightly animated. Marie has much to say, but she does not have much time.
Like Yvette, she meets with me during her short break from work at the Swap Shop in Ft. Lauderdale. As I listen to her story, the rain pours down from the sky in buckets, and makes thunderous little claps on the roof above us.
Yvette meets with me during her lunch break in the middle of an intense Florida summer rainstorm to tell me about her journey as an American citizen. The decorum for an interview cannot be worse, but nonetheless, Yvette has plenty of patience to participate in my project. As lightning cracks all around us, and a chintzy version of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” plays repetitively on the loudspeakers, Yvette maintains her graciousness. We sit at a table in the Swap Shop—a flea market complex in Ft.
Within the last year, the AFSC Miami office began groundbreaking work towards helping gay immigrants married to American citizens obtain legal permanent status (LPR). Gay immigrant spouses can now apply for legal status because on June 26th, 2013 Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was repealed in the US Supreme Court case Windsor v. United States.
In November, just a week after the U.S. presidential election in which immigration issues played a prominent role, over 200 Miami-area residents gathered together to celebrate their new status as U.S. citizens.
Each student took the stage to shake the hand of their teacher, Paul-Andre Mondesir, AFSC’s Haitian community social advocate, who guided them through the complex path to becoming a citizen in the twice-weekly class he teaches in a tiny strip mall storefront.
The American Friends Immigrant Services Program (AFIS), based in Miami, has a number of volunteer opportunities available for energetic individuals throughout the southeast who are passionate about immigration and human rights and who are interested either in assisting in the office or in organizing educational events and activities in their communities. Additionally, AFIS also needs community-minded individuals to serve as volunteers on a number of committees. If you are interested in volunteering, write to LPerez-Reynozo@afsc.org.
Who we are
AFSC is a Quaker organization devoted to service, development, and peace programs throughout the world. Our work is based on the belief in the worth of every person, and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice. Learn more
Where we work
AFSC has offices around the world. To see a complete list see the Where We Work page.