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Immigration ministry honors champions for justice

Posted: October 19 2018 at 10:53 AM
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About 160 people attended the annual Northern Illinois Justice For Our Neighbors (NIJFON) fundraiser on Oct. 14 to support their ongoing work to provide high quality, free legal services for immigrants. The event was held at the Two Brothers Roundhouse in Aurora with food, fellowship and a silent and live auction. 



This year, NIJFON honored and recognized Bishop Sally Dyck with the 2018 Champion of Justice Award. Since its founding, Bishop Dyck has been an ardent and generous supporter of NIJFON. She and her husband, Ken Ehrman, have generously provided financial resources to support JFON. In addition, her advocacy has also encouraged many Northern Illinois UM churches and individuals to support JFON.

“She’s been a champion for the underdog and leader and worker for justice,” NIJFON chair Judy Siaba said as she introduced Bishop Dyck and presented her with the award.

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Bishop Sally Dyck receives the Champions of Justice Award at the annual NIJFON fundraiser.

Bishop Dyck said it was a real honor to receive the award but thanked everyone for attending the fundraiser saying they are the champions for justice.

“You continue to give generously and work for justice in a variety of ways – sometimes to educate people about our broken immigration system and sometimes to actually go and be with people who are in the midst of trying to sort out their lives,” Dyck told those gathered. “I think this is one of the wonderful ministries of the Northern Illinois Conference and we need to help support it now more than ever.”

Highly acclaimed storyteller, Nestor “the Boss” Gomez, was the evening’s guest speaker and shared his story, struggles and journey of becoming a recent U.S.citizen. Nestor Gomez , an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala came to the U.S. in the mid-1980s with his brothers to be with his mother.

“I didn’t grow up wanting to be an immigrant or refugee,” Gomez said of his aspirations as a young boy in Guatemala. “I had dreams to be a reporter, teacher or lawyer.”

Gomez said for many years he blamed and resented his mother for his immigration experience but now realizes she was only fighting for and trying to provide a better life and opportunities for him and his siblings. “The day I became a U.S. citizen (a few months ago), I called my mom to give her the good news and also thank her for all her hard work. I know I would have not been better off in Guatemala as a reporter, teacher or lawyer because of the Government there.”

The NIJFON Board of Directors is extremely greatly for the generous donations from individuals and churches in the NIC which topped $17,500 from the event. For more information on NIJFON and how you can support this ministry visit nijfon.org.

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