NEAT Stories

Local Leadership during COVID: Gregorio’s Story

Like so many immigrants in the community, Gregorio found himself without work when COVID-19 hit. His NEAT team from Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto (UUCPA) asked their congregation to offer him work opportunities until his regular work resumed. They also recorded Gregorio telling his story and shared parts of the video to introduce him to the congregation during the minister’s sermon on the root causes of climate change on immigration. He shared the effect on his family of drought and severe storms in Central America caused by climate disruption, and the forced need to migrate to survive.

Since Gregorio and his daughter live in an RV, the team also supported Gregorio by joining with community groups to pressure the City to open a designated Safe Parking area. The City finally opened such a place, and Gregorio was among the first to be able to move there. This way, he no longer has to move his vehicle every 72-hours to avoid $100 fines. He also acquired solar panels, so they now have electricity to operate the microwave and the refrigerator in the RV.

Gregorio has taken on a leadership role with the Reach Potential Movement, distributing food donations to fellow RV residents in the Safe Parking area. He was even featured in a San Jose Mercury News article.

This is what accompaniment is all about: working with recently arrived immigrants to lift up their stories and connect them to resources, so that they, in turn, can accompany those around them.

Gregorio distributing donations during COVID to his community living in R.V.’s
Accompaniment NEAT Stories

Accompanying family here and abroad: Marvin and Indira

Marvin, Indira and their family together at our 2020 NEAT Potluck Celebration

With Nueva Esperanza (NEAT) accompaniment by Congregation B’nai Tikvah and Temple Isaiah of Contra Costa County, Marvin, Indira, and their family have reached their goals to enroll their daughter in school, find legal assistance, and start employment.

Recently, Marvin’s sister was diagnosed with cancer and he asked the congregations accompanying him if they could help fundraise for her treatment. Please read their GoFundMe to hear their story and share to raise funds!

Help Glenda Aguilera Espinoza fight her cancer in Nicaragua. The government of Nicaragua is cracking down on any dissent from its citizens. Anyone speaking out against government repression can face violent punishment and even death. Glenda’s brother and his family have fled Nicaragua and have been granted entry to the United States to pursue an asylum claim. But the family that remains in Nicaragua is very poor and the family now in the United States is barely getting by and so has little extra money to send home to help Glenda with her cancer treatment… [read more]

Learn more about Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity’s Nueva Esperanza Accompaniment Team program.

Accompaniment NEAT Stories

From COVID-19 in Detention to Accompaniment in the Bay Area: Sergio and Mission Peak UU Congregation in Fremont

Sergio and his family together in Nicaragua

Sergio Lopez is a young Nicaraguan man who is seeking asylum in the U.S. In Nicaragua he was persecuted by government military forces for peacefully demonstrating against Ortega’s crackdowns on working people.

In Nicaragua, and subsequently in Mexico where he fled and found work, he was robbed, kidnapped, harassed and tortured, both by government police and gang members.

He finally decided to come to the US, to seek asylum and was detained while crossing the border… [read more]

Learn more about Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity’s Nueva Esperanza Accompaniment Team program.