Dear Friends and Neighbors,

We hope you are well and managing in the midst of our multiple challenges.

This UPDATE on our work comes while massive demonstrations and protests across the nation are demanding an end to four centuries of American racism. Ulster Immigrant Defense Network stands in active support of that goal. Our immigrant friends are among those most harmed by racism directed at people of color.

Progress will require not just thoughts and prayers. UIDN has declared its “…support [for] the systemic changes necessary to make real change happen.” (See our full statement here.)

In that spirit, let’s review UIDN’s work to date, and think ahead to the systemic challenges that will surely confront us in the near future.

Mobilizing Resources to Support Our Friends

The last two months have been especially challenging for Ulster County immigrants. We can be proud of the literally hundreds of UIDN volunteers and donors who rose, with little warning, to meet at least some of the newly emergent challenges.

UIDN was not alone in this work. State and county governments set up new programs and offices to coordinate emergency responses, and many longstanding social service agencies rolled up their sleeves. Our response has aimed to coordinate with these allied service organizations. Especially in our work on food and housing needs, we have sought out existing resources and helped our immigrant friends to access them whenever possible.

Recent Black Lives Matter demonstration in Kingston. (Photo by Daniel Van Pragh)

But often the human needs of immigrant families are not apparent or are not prioritized by state and local government, so we have raised funds to support urgent needs directly. In less than six months, we have raised $127,000. Personal donations from individuals – our neighbors – have accounted for 34% of that amount, or $43,000, and 66% came from grants, $84,000. That’s pretty good for an organization with no paid staff. All the resources go to help our immigrant friends.

But much of that revenue is already spent, to meet the rising needs that peaked in May and continued into June. In the coming months, the need for more resources will still be with us. To donate financially, do it here. If you have a full-sized bed or other household goods to donate, contact Leslie, lilacless2@yahoo.com. On the following pages are some reasons to continue and focus our efforts to raise funds and recruit volunteers.