2017-03-06 - 11:00 p.m.
Old friend I met doing volunteer work as a Canisius student posted this article on FB today. She was a young Citi Honors high school student at the time and herself went on to study Immigration law as I did.
I later spent time preparing Termination Review Petitions for a few asylum applicants staying at VIVE; as well as Change of Venue requests for individuals who had hearings in Immigration Courts in places like Texas that made there way up to Buffalo, NY. I assisted in intake interviews and also assisted refugees in preparation for their Canadian immigration interview at the border as they sought asylum. I witnessed the incredible work of a few remarkable attorneys (both U.S. and Canadian) at VIVE who really inspired me, (Deborah Greizer being one who was my hero as she was ALSO a violin player with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.) While in law school, I did an in depth analysis comparing and contrasting US and Canadian Immigration policy and acceptance rates of asylum applicants and found the surprising assessment that historically Canada had lower acceptance rates that the U.S. and a history called by some of zenophobia! (Not an outcome I anticipated at all when starting that research). The facts supported the conclusion that at that time in the late nineties it was easier to be granted asylum in the U.S. (in the aggregate when looking at all applicants numbers to both countries reversing a historic trend as the U.S. accepted a larger percentage of applicants than Canada did historically according to the research which surprised me). Many of those coming through Buffalo to Toronto had family there to sponsor so that was their personal best chance at a new life, regardless of the numbers. WOW have times changed! There was no sense of VIVE LA CASA being an "underground" organization then as it was so very respected by both the Immigration Courts in US and Canada and Canadian and US Customs and Border Patrol at that time for the beautiful, humanitarian force for good. The largest support at the time came from the Episcopal church, and Catholic nuns and lay members providing volunteer service. It was while a student at Canisius that through the Institute of Faith and Justice and Sister Pat Brown and Sister Patricia that we students first heard of VIVE. One of my favorite memories is of enjoying sharing our home of college students with young Somalian refugees that summer after graduation which preceded the legal work but made me convinced I wanted to do this work that I had first considered when visiting a Haitian refugee center in Fl years before. The Board of Immigration Appeals was happy to have me work with them where I witnessed further the beautiful compassionate and intelligent discernment of board members that did extensive research on country conditions with subject matter experts that truly understood what was going on in the world.
I have fond memories of my time spent there. Everything from the love of my soon to be ex husband who played a benefit concert for me, despite our actual separating at that time, in order for me to raise money to do the work over the summer. (HE played along side Al Tinney!) Westley later actually set up a network, server and wired the building for VIVE in one of the most beautiful acts of love he gave me. (He drove the eight hours from VA to spend a Sat setting them up at the time, a true labor of love in our early long distance dating. Well he may have had issues in our marriage but I realize he did set the bar high for my dating expectations ce la vie.. but tne trouble is that is the case with a narcissist dating: they treat the one they are dating like a QUEEN and will do ANYTHING For her but then the moment married see her as an extension only of self and have trouble seeing a distinction and respecting individuality. HOPE he has grown much over these years.... it is a good reminder that it did START OUT good. Oh yeah he did get to take a big tax write off for the value of that work which was also an incentive. (He never is one to undervalue the cost of his time) Ce la vie.. I am rambling. In part this all comes to mind as I wanted a date to join me one weekend but the 5.5 hrs is too far for him to come to see a show my son is in . Am I being unrealistic? OR does that just seem a bit selfish on his part that he is not willing to make that effort as he won't get enough of my attention and JUST my attention because it will be shared with my family (daughter in tow and going to see son's show). Heck my son IS a professional actor. This is not some middle school kid play that is just "cute". It will be bona fide kickin Shakespeare as good as any professional Broadway performance. Seriously. That is not an exaggeration as the grads of his conservatory are literally Broadway and Hollywood bound soon! I feel disappointed as we would have most of the day Sat before the show, Sat night and a good part of Sun together, granted in company with my daughter. But what the heck... I can only date with her in tow or go out locally for a short while as she does live with me full time. CE la vie... Its just disappointing. Going to see Soren's show is just something I WISH I had someone to share the moment with that would really APPRECHIATE it. Oh well... I will end with one last VIVE memory someone shared that I enjoyed finding: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPN6UU0hty4