On Mothers Day, 2019

Across the U.S. and Central America this weekend, many honor the strength, wisdom and compassion of mothers who lead our families and our communities. This week, a group of us at the IIIC were fortunate enough to witness a really special moment that highlighted the love, human values, and power of motherhood that transcend country of origin, race or faith.

My colleague Helaine Goudreau shares a reflection…

This photo appears in the May 13, 2019 New Yorker with the headline “Mother’s Day.” Ana Juan is an artist who has contributed more than twenty covers to The New Yorker since 1995.

“I was delighted to attend an IIIC event this week in the beautiful home of a longtime supporter that brought together our staff, friends of the organization, and those interested in learning more about our work. At the beginning of the evening, I found myself in conversation with wonderful people, including IIIC immigration attorney Jackie Kelley.

As my husband and I consider growing our family, I listened with eager interest while Jackie described dropping off her 2-year-old son Ryan at daycare every morning before work. She shared the regular ritual of getting up bright and early, packing bags and eating a quick bite. For her family, this is followed by a short car ride and a sorrowful and teary goodbye between new mother and son. Even knowing a reunion awaits in a mere 8 hours, the pain of this daily goodbye sounded overwhelming.

Later on, we were all fortunate enough to listen while Jackie described an immigrant mother who she recently supported in gaining legal status. Manuela, a mother of three from Guatemala, sought asylum in the United States as a victim of extreme violence and domestic abuse. In order to receive critical medical care, to reach safety, and to build a more secure life, Manuela separated from her young children and came to Boston. With Jackie’s tremendous legal guidance, Manuela received indefinite legal status and a pathway towards a green card. Now, Jackie is working with Manuela to reunite with her children, and we are hoping beyond hope that we receive good news on their ability to join her in a few months. Manuela, a woman of great faith, believes wholeheartedly that the day will come when she will reunite and wrap her arms around her children once more. 

Two vastly different stories of separation – both with the common thread of the love, bravery, care and commitment that families undertake across the globe. As I heard the footsteps and cries of children playing upstairs, I was hit by the power of universal values that call us all to stand as one.”

Wishing you and yours a happy Mother’s Day weekend.


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