Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-12-11
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

'Safe Home' for LGBTQI asylum-seekers in Chicago
From a press release
2015-02-16

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


Chicago — "A new home — and a safe home," said Valentine as he turns on a lamp in the new apartment donated by Namasté United Church of Christ in Chicago's Portage Park neighborhood. Their ministry partnership is designed to aid lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex ( LGBTQI ) individuals who are seeking asylum in the U.S. because their lives are at risk in their homelands.

Valentine, from Nigeria, will be the house manager for the new four-person apartment created in the vacant sexton quarters of the local congregation's church building. In exchange for a rent-free apartment, the four residents — Valentine, Kachi, John, and Abraham — will be sharing Namasté UCC janitorial and light maintenance duties to care for the congregation's property.

"It's a win-win ministry," said Rev. Marilyn Pagan-Banks, pastor of Namasté UCC and executive director of Chicago's food justice ministry A Just Harvest. "For Namasté, it's the opportunity to be in global equality ministry even as we benefit from the care of our building and grounds."

Pagan-Banks and Namasté heard of the work of CLASP, Chicago's LGBT Asylum Support Program, and reached out to be in partnership. "We're so grateful for Namasté UCC going into this ministry with us," says Dennis Akpona Ojiyoma, co-founder of CLASP. "We're happy to find another local congregation welcoming to LGBTQI people, who are also fighting for justice in many areas," he says.

Namasté UCC joins Broadway United Methodist Church in supporting CLASP and its other partner, the Center for Integration and Courageous Living ( CiCLiv ), founded by another CLASP co-founder, John Ademola Adewoye. "Moving four men to Namasté frees up space for additional people in danger to come to the U.S.," he says. Adewoye has opened his own home to CiCLiv as a first-stop for those who are fleeing threats and persecution in Nigeria, Ghana, and Uganda, among other areas.

CLASP is one of the premier organizing efforts that grew out of the LGBT-Freedom & Asylum Network ( LGBT-FAN ), a nationwide group focused on mobilizing open and affirming congregations and movement leaders to help asylum seekers who face daunting obstacles after they arrive in the USA.

In over 75 countries can be imprisoned; in seven of those countries, the punishment can be death. "We feel a moral obligation to help provide safety," says Ojiyoma, who is the first of the CLASP family to "graduate," achieving asylum from Nigeria last year. CLASP, CiCLiv, and Namasté are working together to provide direct service ( food & shelter ) and community support ( transportation, social and spiritual activities, etc. ) in hopes that asylum seekers won't feel alone or afraid as they navigate the U.S. culture and immigration system.

CLASP is uniquely linked to the Chicago Coalition of Welcoming Churches and faith communities, and Reconciling United Methodist congregations to garner assistance for asylum seekers in the "limbo" period between claiming a need for asylum and the asylum interview with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement ( ICE ). During this period, the asylum seekers are not allowed to work, nor do they benefit from governmental support that is available to refugees.

CLASP has formed a Speakers' Bureau with Justice For Our Neighbors ( JFON ) to collaborate in providing speakers to help raise awareness about the need for immigration reform; and to educate about the differences in immigrant, refugee, and asylum status. JFON provides pro-bono legal services and helps immigrants to navigate the current system.

Donations of goods and cash from many individuals, from Broadway UMC and University Church UCC members, and from Heartland Alliance's partner Sharing Connections have made possible the move into Namasté. For those seeking to help support this project and the global LGBTQI community, you can support CLASP by donating online ( please designate your gift to "clasp" ) through Broadway United Methodist Church at www.broadwaychurchchicago.com/give .

If you're able to provide volunteer opportunities for asylum-seekers; if you are interested in donating gently-used clothing or goods ( floor lamps are currently needed ); if you are able to underwrite monthly internet, grocery, or laundry costs — please be in touch with Rev. Lois McCullen Parr at gizhilois@yahoo.com or Dennis Ojiyoma at dennygyus@gmail.com .

For background information, see www.lgbt-fan.org/ for LGBT-FAN; www.cicliv.org/ for the Center for Integration and Courageous Living; namasteuccil.com/about/ for Namasté UCC; jfonnic.org/ for JFON; and www.sharingconnections.org/ .


facebook twitter google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Complaint: ICE officers treated inhumanely trans migrant in failing health 2019-12-12 - Today Transgender Law Center ( TLC ) and the Law Office of R. Andrew Free announced they filed a Federal Tort Claim Act ...


Gay News

Velazquez, Craig and Maloney Press HHS on Removal of LGBTQ Protections 2019-12-12 - Washington, DC — More than one hundred members of the U.S. House of Representatives have written the Trump Administration's Department of Health and ...


Gay News

Lambda Legal: Van Dyke's Confirmation An Affront to LGBT Community 2019-12-11 - ( Washington, DC, December 11, 2019 ) — Today, Sasha Buchert, Senior Attorney at Lambda Legal, issued the following statement after the U.S. ...


Gay News

State rep candidate reveals connection to Gacy 2019-12-11 - Running for Illinois state representative, former comedian/radio host Patti Vasquez has revealed that the late serial killer John Wayne Gacy murdered her brother, ...


Gay News

Memoir profiles lesser-known sides of Edie Windsor 2019-12-11 - Mention the name Edie Windsor, and many LGBT residents would correctly associate her with the landmark litigation that ultimately paved the way for ...


Gay News

WORLD Marriages in Brazil, chemsex, couple attacked, Gus Kenworthy 2019-12-10 - The state Institute Brazilian Geography and Statistics said that same-sex marriages in Brazil grew 61.7 percent in 2018—a trend that grew from October, ...


Gay News

GOP offers answer to Equality Act; LGBTQs criticize measure 2019-12-06 - On Dec. 6, Republican Utah Rep. Chris Stewart unveiled the so-called Fairness for All Act—legislation that supposedly protects LGBTQ+ people against discrimination in ...


Gay News

Lambda Legal to 11th Circuit: Schools Must Provide Trans Students Equal Restroom Access 2019-12-05 - ( ATLANTA - Dec. 5, 2019 ) — Today, Lambda Legal asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit to affirm ...


Gay News

Johnson retires after Lightfoot fires him 2019-12-05 - Former Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson—fired for allegedly lying to Mayor Lori Lightfoot about his actions in the hours before he was ...


Gay News

Pritzker strengthens state's cannabis law 2019-12-04 - Surrounded by criminal-justice reform advocates and lawmakers at Cabrini Green Legal Aid, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker signed legislation Dec. 4 to strengthen what ...


 



Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.