January 2014 – JCAM is pleased to announce a key partnership for its Boston Jewish Immigration History Project at the Ohabei Shalom Chapel in East Boston! Joining with JCAM in this effort is the Massachusetts Immigrant & Refugee Advocacy (MIRA) Coalition, New England’s largest organization promoting the rights and integration of immigrants and refugees.
The JCAM-MIRA Coalition alliance is dedicated to enhancing today’s immigrant experience through resources that will be made available at the Ohabei Shalom Chapel which is in close proximity to the Woodlawn T station in East Boston, an easy and affordable transportation option for the immigrant community.
The partnership will create what will be called the East Boston Immigration Center.
“The availability of space will greatly assist the programs, campaigns, and overall mission of MIRA. In addition to the utility and accessibility of this space, the fact that its identity and location is rooted in, and celebrates, the immigrant experience makes this partnership all the more appropriate and beneficial for all parties,” said Eva Millona, Executive Director of the MIRA Coalition.
MIRA plans to use the chapel for training and informational sessions in its “Citizenship for New Americans” and “English for New Bostonians” programs. It also plans for a business and education resource center to hold small group sessions and one-on-one meetings. Further, it plans to hold monthly member meetings and its annual MIRA Coalition meeting at the chapel.
Here is a groundbreaking opportunity for Boston’s immigrant communities to learn, meet and grow while maintaining their rich heritage as they are integrated into realizing their impact in America’s future – goals to which MIRA is dedicated to advocating and facilitating.
MIRA’s use of the chapel for events, classes, meetings and forums will help to solidify its mission of immigrant advocacy and enhance its commitment to Boston’s immigrant communities.
JCAM, through its JCAM Charitable Foundation, has completed initial exterior work on the structure and is now raising funds for its full restoration. JCAM plans to feature permanent exhibits on the immigration history of Boston and surrounding neighborhoods.
Displays will be developed to explore the experiences of Jewish, Irish, Italian, and other immigrant groups through the late nineteenth century until the present day. “Our goal is to connect this history to recently established immigrant communities from Latin America, Asia and Africa to provide real-life examples of how struggle can lead to success, how sacrifice can lead to a better tomorrow, how despair can turn to hope, and how determination can overcome the many obstacles that come with a new way of life,” said Stan Kaplan, JCAM’s Executive Director.
About MIRA Coalition
The Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition serves the Commonwealth's one million foreign-born residents with policy analysis and advocacy, institutional organizing, training and leadership development, and strategic communications. The Coalition boast membership of more than 130 organizations, including community-based groups, social service organizations, ethnic associations, schools, refugee resettlement agencies, health centers, hospitals, religious institutions, unions and law firms, as well as thousands of individual members, contributors, and allies.