In 2018-2019 there are so many memories to reflect on. While there are many stories to tell, the one theme that comes to my heart this season is that of celebrating the deep relationships that our community has built over the past several years. I am reminded of how so many gathered together over a process of a year to visit and question ways that our community could become closer. One ALAS friend and past City Councilmember, Rick Kwoalcyzk always shared the phrase of "we are one community", This year has been a powerful demonstration of our community coming together as one. We have stood side by side through struggles of ICE fears, have listened to those that have made difficult journeys- leaving families behind to find their way to our community. We have seen neighbors, friends and leaders open their doors to welcome one another in ways represented by offering warm meals, listening with care, advocating, witnessing and accompanying in many ways. Our children have seen smiles of those who once were strangers, now amigos. We have lost loved ones in our community this year that have been mentors, friends and allies and at the same time we have sighed knowing the love that still is felt. Today as I reflect on what I am grateful for this year- ALAS is so blessed to be part of seeing us all come together to grow as one familia While there is still work to be done, it is important to celebrate the steps we have taken in 2018.
Belinda is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in California and Founder of A.L.A.S. She also is Faculty at the University of San Francisco, where she teaches in the Counseling Department. She has a doctorate in International and Multicultural Education. Her research is focused on the psychological trauma experienced by many in the immigration system as well as understanding healing spaces in the Latino community.