In the aftermath of the fires, as the weather turns cold, thousands of individuals, many of them immigrants, are still struggling to survive. Some have lost their homes and many more have lost their jobs--they were the farmworkers in the fields that burned or the nannies, lawn care workers, or day laborers who earned their living in the houses and neighborhoods that no longer exist. Many of them are unwilling or unable to access "official" relief resources out of fear that they will be subject to immigration inspections, will not be able to communicate with relief workers, or will be humiliated. Instead, they are turning to the community organizations they know for help.
The San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium calls for continued donations to the Fire Fund managed by the Foundation for Change. The Fund is focused on vulnerable populations and makes grants every two weeks to the grassroots and community-based organizations that are getting these populations the supplies, services, and information they need. We anticipate that vulnerable communities will be in crisis survival mode for at least another two months.
Continued Call for Donations:
Donations can be made by going to the the Foundation for Change or through the SDIRC updated website at www.immigrantsandiego.org . Any and all contributions are appreciated!
Following the release of our report (available on our website), representatives of SDIRC met with the San Diego Police Chief to express our concerns about the treatment of vulnerable populations during the fires. The Chief informed us that the Mayor's office will be issuing a report by the end of the year to review alleged shortcomings and make recommendations for moving forward. The US Department of Justice, Special Investigations Unit, Office of Civil Rights has contacted us and is conducting its own preliminary inquiry of possible police misconduct.
In addition to the police, SDIRC representatives have communicated their concerns to the Sheriff's Office, Red Cross, and other entities engaged in emergency response and relief during the fires. The challenge now will be to pursue changes in our response system to ensure that in the next disaster, vulnerable populations are protected and secure.
On behalf of the more than 25 organizations that make up SDIRC, thank you for your support during the fires and for your continued support!
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