This past Saturday was my last day at Centro Presente. These nine weeks went by so fast, I remember my first day like it was yesterday!!!!. As an intern in the Legal department, some of my responsibilities were to organize events to inform the immigrant community about the current issues that affect the community as well as to organize educational training on basic rights for undocumented immigrants. As time passed, I helped with administrative responsibilities such as doing translations of documents and assisting people when they came in into the office to receive assistance. With these responsibilities, I have the opportunity to gain knowledge in Latino immigrant community as well as how to organize events which I did not have any experience before. I learned that it takes a lot of time to prepare an event but it feels great when I see the outcomes at the end.
During my time at Centro, I also joined some of the protests that the Worker Rights Organizer from Centro Present, who along with allies of Centro organized pickets outside of restaurants that belong to employers who did not pay their workers what they worked for. I am very happy that Centro is helping these workers to get the money that they have earned with their hard work. I am very sad to know that these kinds of things happen in a country like United States where there are so many laws that protect workers. I think it may be because employers take advantages of employees that they may think that do not know their rights, thank god for organization like Centro that are paying attention to these cases and are doing their best to help workers against exploitation
As I finished my internship, I want to learn more about the issues that many immigrants are facing in the United States. I feel that my summer experience was only a glimpse of what the issues that many immigrants are facing in this country. I would like to gain more knowledge and be able to help more those whom I am able to help.
For students interest in an internship with my host organization, I advice them to get ready to learn a lot about the different issues that immigrants face in the United States. Be ready to meet different people as the Latino community is composed of many different people which make the experience even more worth experiencing.
As I return to Brandeis, I plan to join the Brandeis Immigrant Education Initiative, a recently created student-organized to create awareness on Brandeis campus about current immigration issues. I want to share my summer experience with my fellow-Brandeis people and give my ideas so that we can create more awareness and help the immigrant communities to fight for their rights. During this internship, I realized that there are a lot of injustices in this world and a lot has to be done to live in a more just place. I learned about the issues in many different perspective which made me realized that we need to work to get social justice.
– Ivonne Moreno ’13
I can’t believe it’s been four weeks already since I started my internship at Centro Presente. Time has gone by so fast!!! In these four weeks, however, I have learned so much and participated in so many activities that I feel I have exceeded my expectation for this internship. During these four weeks, we have been working in many different events. One of these events was to inform people about the deferred action that President Obama gave to the Dreamers. The rest of the events have been more concentrated to inform people about the Secure Communities Program implemented in Massachusetts since May 15, 2012.
Two weeks ago, we went to the State House to present the statewide commission to monitor the implementation of Secure Communities. At this event, we had people from many different organizations in Massachusetts who support the creation of this commission. We had the presence of Somerville Representative Denise Provost, who told the stories of so many children who are being separated from their families because of secure communities and how there is need to stop the implementation of this program in our state. This past Friday, we went to Waltham where we talked to people about the effects of this program and how people can protect from it.
My days at Centro Presente have been different every day, something that I really enjoy. Some days I spend time doing translations and planning events including creating the fliers, contacting people to reserve the place, and calling allies and members to invite them to the events. Other days, I spend time organizing the events that we have for the week. Occasionally, I am in charge of the reception where I answer the phone and help the people who have appointments for the day.
Something that I feel very proud of is the time I have been teaching English to adults in Centro Presente. Teaching is something that I thought I would never be able to do, however, when I was asked by the organizer of classes at Centro Presente to teach, I did not hesitate to say yes. This experience has taught me how hard a teacher’s job is since they have to spend so much time outside of teaching time to prepare classes. I think teachers deserve more value than what society gives them.
Reflecting on the goals that I set for this summer, I feel that I have been able to accomplish them thus far. Working with people and listening to their stories, I have been able to give them a different perspective. I think that because I have taken Psychology and Sociology courses, I am more able to listen to people and to find way to assist them in the best way that I find suitable. Another goal that I have been able to accomplish is to acquire more work experience. Being a full-time intern at Centro Presente has been a way for me to learn what it is like to be in a work setting; experience that I did not have before so I am very thankful to the WOW committee for this opportunity.
I. Moreno, ’13
Hi! My name is Ivonne Moreno and I am an intern at Centro Presente located in Somerville, MA. Centro Presente is a member-driven, state-wide, Latin American Immigrant organization dedicated to the self- sufficiency of the Latin American immigrant community of Massachusetts. Centro Presente struggles for immigrant rights and for economic and social justice. Through the integration of community organizing, leadership development and basic services such as youth programs, adult education, and legal services, Centro Presente strives to give its member voice and build community power.
During this summer, I will be working in the legal department at Centro Presente, which provides legal services, educational trainings on immigrants’ rights to the Latino Community and works closely with politicians, religious groups and other community organization. This first week, we have been focusing on organizing the next educational training called “Citizenship Fair”, the main goal of which is to educate Latino immigrants that qualify for citizenship about the process of becoming a US citizen and the importance of voting. My main responsibility has been getting in touch with immigrants who have come to the Centro and have said to be interested in becoming citizens and invite them to come to the next citizenship fair and how to sign up for the upcoming class to take the citizenship test.
One important event that has a big impact at Centro Presente has been President Obama’s announcement on June 15th
giving opportunity to undocumented young people who qualify to obtain a two year permit to stay in the US legally and obtain a work permit to be able to work called deferred action. This announcement has been a joy and an achievement for the immigrant community and especially for those young people who have been in the United States since they were kids and have been unable to get jobs and go to college because of their immigrant status. This week, we have been receiving a lot of calls from people asking about the deferred action and how they can apply if they qualify. In the weekly meeting staff, the Centro decided to do something like a forum and invite the community to give them all the information we have on the deferred action. I think it is very important to do since they are people who are trying to take advantage of this situation by asking people for money to apply for this permit when there is not even an application process and the ICE has 60 days to organize the application process.
In the weekly staff meeting, I was introduced to the people who work at the Centro Presente and the work they do. I was really impressed by the work they do and how passionate they are about fighting for the rights of the undocumented community. From this short period that I have been at Centro Presente, I feel that I will gain a deep understanding of the US immigration system as well as the many issues that undocumented people face in the United States. It has been great to also have a different working experience that I did not have the opportunity to get before.
– Ivonne Moreno ’13