UNITED IN CRISIS
El Pueblo Unido
Through all the tumultuous highs and lows of 2020, your support for justice and solidarity with immigrant and working-class families has remained constant. That support has helped CASA members work through the challenges of 2020, and to find relief, community, and even some opportunities for joy during this global crisis. Thank you for being someone that CASA members can count on as a friend and ally.
COVID-19 and its economic impact has been devastating for immigrant families. CASA members and their families were uninsured, unemployed or underemployed, and under constant attack from anti-immigrant policies before COVID. These daily challenges were only exasperated by this unprecedented global pandemic. CASA members needed us to express our solidarity in the form of direct support and aid. And with your support, CASA was able to step up where our federal government failed, and provide over $2 million in aid through direct cash benefits and food distribution to thousands of immigrant and working-class families in need.
We are thankful and proud that while we quickly mobilized emergency direct aid, we never stopped building power in the immigrant community. Together we worked to ensure that immigrant voices are counted and heard. CASA reached out to nearly 625,000 households to encourage them to fill out the census, and we engaged over 205,000 voters through our nonpartisan voter engagement to register them and get them out to vote.
At the local, state, and federal level, CASA members defended their communities, and defeated xenophobic anti-immigrant attacks. For instance, in Virginia, because of years of amazing grassroots organizing of CASA members, Prince William County ended its 287g agreement with ICE – a long overdue measure of justice for the immigrant community. At the Federal level, alongside our partners across the country, we successfully defeated the Trump Administration’s attempt to end DACA at the Supreme court, and then won major court rulings ordering the administration to reinstate DACA and accept new applicants.
When 2020 first began, I saw a year that had the potential to be historic. As CASA’s 35th year of serving the community, 2020 held promise, and the potential to bring much needed change for immigrant and working-class families who faced constant attack. And while we could never have anticipated the challenges we have faced, we have endured and overcome them together as a community. This unity inspired this year’s annual report title: “United in Crisis.”
The courage and dedication of our members made these victories possible. And your support and solidarity made it possible for CASA to respond quickly to the needs of our community, adapt our critical and longstanding services like ESOL classes and job placement to the pandemic setting, and continue fighting for the rights of working-class and immigrant families. Thank you.
While you may be eager to move on from 2020 and the challenges it brought, our victories and achievements of 2020 deserve to be celebrated. So in that spirit, I proudly present to you CASA’s 2020 Annual report, “Un Pueblo Unido/United In Crisis” which highlights the amazing work that we accomplished together.
And as we look forward, we know there is much struggle ahead. But there is also promise, and there is also hope. Promise in the form of 110,000 immigrant and working class members standing strong together, and hope in the form of a community full of people like you standing strong alongside us. I know that you will never stop fighting for our community, and neither will we.
United, we can weather any crisis. United, we can show up in solidarity with our Black brothers and sisters for racial justice. United, we can continue to build power even in dire circumstances. United, we can continue to leverage that power to win the victories our communities need and deserve.
Executive Director, CASA
A New Place to Call Home
The start of 2020 saw the completion of a vision years in the making for CASA – the completion of our beautiful new Baltimore Welcome Center! The renovation of the Historic Belnord Theater in east Baltimore began in 2019 (though the process began years before), and we gushed in our 2019 annual report about how excited we were for the scheduled completion of construction in early 2020. We were so excited not only to begin work in this beautiful new facility right in the heart of CASA’s Baltimore turf, but also to celebrate the incredible support of all of the allies and institutions whose generosity, vision, and investment made this new center possible. Covid-19, however, had other plans. Construction on the new center completed in early March of 2020, just as the pandemic and accompanying lockdown were coming into full effect.
Sadly, this beautiful center on which so many people have invested their time, resources, and efforts, still awaits the proper grand opening party it deserves, and we look ahead to 2021 with anticipation and champagne bottles ready to pop as soon as it’s safe! But rest assured, just because we haven’t gotten to celebrate doesn’t mean this building has been empty! In reaction to the ravages of the pandemic on our community in Baltimore City and surrounding areas, CASA staff, led by our talented Baltimore Regional Director Lydia Walther Rodriguez, immediately turned this center into a community relief hub, using this beautiful facility to distribute emergency aid to our community.
Aid When it Mattered Most
At the beginning of April, we launched a large-scale contactless food delivery programming out of our Baltimore Center – through which 625 families comprising more than 4,500 residents received weekly doorstep deliveries which included 20 lb bags of groceries (dry and refrigerated) for adults in the household per week, 25 lbs. of fresh produce, adult premade hot meals – for families positive of COVID to sick to cook, and 3 prepared meals per day for each child/youth in the household.
When many in our community were able to resume day labor work, as some parts of the state began to open, our CASA Baltimore food operation transitioned from deliveries into a Saturday zero contact community vehicle drive up operation on July 25th, and through august 22nd has already served an additional 679 families comprising of 4,768 individuals families. To date our food operations have served 1,304 families comprising 9,268 individuals – in both delivering food and food drive up to our center. In addition to supplying all of the families with face masks, gloves and safety kits.
To date CASA Baltimore has distributed 11, 350 safety kits including mask, gloves, soap, and COVID protection flyers to families thanks to donations from Mask for masses, Baltimore county government, and local neighbor donations. Our Food and PPE operation has been fully successful due to the 170 volunteers that CASA Baltimore has organized into our operation.
Until the day we’re able to invite you to join us to welcome this center properly, we invite you to check out this virtual tour of our incredible new facility.
We simply could not have done this work without the support of the following partners: