Gratitudes & Good News

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Congratulations to Michael Kaufman, on receiving CVNL’s Heart of Sonoma Volunteer of the Year Award!

For more about the award and Michael's accomplishments, and to read about the other individuals and organizations who were honored at the 4th Annual Heart of Sonoma awards ceremony:
https://cvnl.org/heart-of-sonoma-county/

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We are grateful for the generous donation of our community member, Marion Weinreb, who has offered to “pay the difference” for several of our low bono clients seeking legal permanent residence (also known as a “green card”). The work of VIDAS is especially meaningful to Marion because her parents were both holocaust survivors who endured the unthinkable trauma of forced displacement and lost many family members to Nazi violence.

Marion and her family have contributed creative spaces throughout our community, from pergolas to playgrounds, to honor their son, Max Jackson Weinreb, a break dancer, rap artist, and social justice advocate who was killed in 2014 at just 21 years old.

With this page, we acknowledge the enduring effects of humanity at its worst and heal together through the sharing of gratitude and good news for what is possible when humanity is at its best.

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Story Spotlight

VIDAS staff recently filed an application for asylum for a woman from Nicaragua who escaped political violence. We then quickly filed and received approval for humanitarian parole for her family and children. Everyone is now safely together in the United States as we await their court hearing. For more information about the situation in Nicaragua:
https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2023/03/nicaragua-crimes-against-humanity-being-committed-against-civilians

Help us secure safety for people fleeing violence from Nicaragua and around the world.

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Congratulations to our Founder and Legal Director, Richard Coshnear, on receiving CVNL’s Heart of Sonoma Lifetime Achievement Award!

For more about the award and Richard’s accomplishments, and to meet the many inspiring individuals and organizations who were honored at the 3rd Annual Heart of Sonoma awards ceremony:
https://cvnl.org/3rd-annual-heart-of-sonoma-recipients-announced/

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❝ Reflecting on VIDAS as a whole, I believe it is a ray of hope for the undocumented community at the Santa Rosa Junior College. I feel like it truly is a safe space on campus where immigration status does not define our potential or limit our aspirations. VIDAS is very uplifting and creates a lot of hope. It shows me that I am not alone and that there are people out there who are willing to help us undocumented individuals out.

❝ Thanks to the support of VIDAS, Barbara Ibarra, and Julie Cyphers I was able to obtain my residency and that completely changed my life. I no longer live with the fear of being deported at any moment or being separated from my children. Additionally, I now live with hope that someday I will be able to become a proud citizen. I am now blessed to have the opportunity to go and see my parents and family in Mexico.

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VIDAS offers free immigration legal services for SRJC students, staff, and faculty.

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❝ Thanks to the residency that I got through this program, I was able to go see my childrens' grandmother from their father's side who was diagnosed with cancer last November. Before obtaining my residency, I was able to go on parole and help my mother take care of my grandmother on her final days and say goodbye before she passed. 2 months after I returned, my grandmother passed away. I know that this program also helps with advance parole and I am so thankful for the help you have also given other peers with that process.

In closing, I express my heartfelt gratitude to the entire VIDAS team for their dedication and support. V.I.D.A.S. gave me hope and changed my life. I sincerely hope that this program continues to thrive and receive funding, ensuring that it continues to make a positive impact on the lives of undocumented individuals like myself and our peers. Blessing for the program. ❞

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Madeleine Rose & Ed (Lalo) Berger

❝ As retired teachers and lifelong activists, we have marched, carried signs, lobbied, and donated in support of human rights. When we can no longer act on our feet, we want to continue to contribute. VIDAS stands out to us because it provides crucial and compassionate services to our community.

We are grateful for the opportunity to leave a legacy that endures and inspires. ❞

Madeleine Rose &
Ed (Lalo) Berger

❝ As retired teachers and lifelong activists, we have marched, carried signs, lobbied, and donated in support of human rights. When we can no longer act on our feet, we want to continue to contribute. VIDAS stands out to us because it provides crucial and compassionate services to our community.

We are grateful for the opportunity to leave a legacy that endures and inspires. ❞