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They’re not immigrants

To The Editor:

The article written by Sabrina Vourvoulias regarding ICE raids on immigrants (“Four days of fear,” Oct. 4) was disrespectful to immigrants. Stop calling them immigrants. They are illegal undocumented criminals. My parents were immigrants. They came to this country legally with a sponsor, a job, a place to live, and did not receive one dime from the government to help them survive. My father enlisted in the Army, was wounded, a Purple Heart recipient, learned English, opened a business and still had to apply for citizenship to stay in this country. ICE is arresting illegal criminals.

Philadelphia’s Sanctuary City is a garbage dump for illegal criminals. Mayor Kenney wants these people here for votes, not out of the kindness of his heart. An example used of a crime committed was “only an expired VISA.” If a doctor’s license expired he would not be able to practice medicine. If your driver’s license expired your car would be impounded and you would be fined. But, it’s OK to have an expired VISA? This person knew the VISA was expired, but did nothing to renew it, because this is America and we forgive criminals for everything. The people getting arrested are not being “put in their place” as she stated, but are being legally arrested for crimes probably more egregious than an expired VISA.

Msgr. Hugh Shields, pastor at St. Thomas Parish, said “we are creating a climate not reflective of the values of this country.” What values? Hiding criminals who bring drugs into our cities, creating gangs, robberies, murders? People who get health care, food stamps, housing, education, all funded by hard-working American taxpayers. Why would they renew a VISA or become a citizen through the proper channels? America has accepted and protected them.

Americans can’t go to other countries and mix into society and become part of their community. They would be arrested or killed. We are being invaded by foreigners who think it’s their right to just move in without going through the legal processes. The laws of a country are what keep the country stable and safe. They are not abiding by those laws, and we are allowing them to believe it’s their right to live here illegally by protecting them in these Sanctuary Cities.

Fran Gallo
South Philadelphia

Does The Philly United Way have a Ferguson problem?

To the Editor:

Lately, I have been concerned with the direction of our regional United Way’s leadership. The United Way of Greater Philadelphia & Southern New Jersey does not have a single person of color on its executive leadership team. Not one. People of color represent just 7 percent of UWGPSNJ’s massive regional board of directors. With a mission to end generational poverty, you’d think the United Way would do better, and I know it can.

If UWGPSNJ’s mission is to eradicate generational poverty, and its biggest beneficiaries are a largely black and Latino population, why is it that there are no people of color represented in United Way’s leadership? This is what some nonprofit experts call the “Ferguson Effect” on nonprofits. I just never expected one of Philadelphia’s biggest philanthropic leaders to suffer from it.

While 36.1 percent of Philadelphia’s youth live in poverty, black children make up 20.4 percent of that number with Hispanic children coming in second at 9.4 percent. Approximately 2,900 children in Philadelphia are homeless, 78 percent of them are black. More than 66 percent of black children live in a single female-headed household while more than 58 percent of Hispanic children live in a single female-headed household. Research shows that a child living in a single female-headed family is nearly five times more likely to be poor than a child living in a married family. Seventy-two percent of the 10–18 year olds in the juvenile justice system are black. These are all issues that the United Way seeks to address when they ask us to donate generously.

Three years ago, Derwin Dubose wrote a piece for the Nonprofit Quarterly regarding the nonprofit sector’s general lack of representation and how “the glaring disparity in nonprofit leadership bears a striking similarity to Ferguson.” In Ferguson, two-thirds of the city’s population was black, while “whites served as mayor, five of six city councilors, six of seven school board members, and 50 of 52 police officers.”

At the United Way, the constituency it serves is predominantly black and Latino. Yet, UWGPSNJ lacks diversity on its executive leadership team, and just six of its 70 regional board members are people of color. I’m surprised as the UWGPSNJ states in its own core values that it has a “culture of inclusion” and “seeks talented staff from all backgrounds.” Yet recently, we watched UWGPSJ part ways with its only person of color in an executive leadership position, leaving the executive team 100 percent white. Despite its rhetoric about inclusion, UWGPSNJ is currently moving backward.

This is alarming because so many of the people the UWGPSNJ serve are black and Latino. People of color have been effectively relegated to being recipients of charity instead of being empowered to improve their own circumstances. The corporate and private donor class should not find this acceptable.

But all hope isn’t lost. There are two very important ways to get our local Philly United Way to turn it around. First, funders have to lead the way. Donors must demand nonprofit diversity even of the United Way. Secondly, UWGPSNJ must aggressively go beyond the rhetoric of inclusion and aggressively recruit people of color as candidates for its executive staff and membership to its board. UWGPSNJ is currently looking for a new CEO. Maybe it can start there.

Otis L. Bullock, Jr.
Attorney and Executive Director of Diversified Community Services

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