Dinner fundraiser event supports migrants

Albany church hosts dinner to support asylum seekers

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More than a thousand migrants have made their way to the Capital Region in the last year.

On Sunday, Nov. 19, a dinner fundraiser was held to help support them and not just financially.

The Capital District Border Watch served up a traditional Venezuelan dinner cooked by migrants living locally.

Karen Beetle, one of the organizers of the fundraiser, said this was all to celebrate asylum and show people why it’s important to support migrants.

“Nobody wants to be in a country that isn’t their own. They came here because conditions in their country wouldn’t allow them to be there. It’s difficult to find your way with a new language, new culture,” Beetle said.

All the funds raised will support food access for migrants living in hotels in the area.

The dozens who attended the fundraiser got to hear from two migrants and their journey from Venezuela to America.

They did not want to be identified and a translator spoke to the crowd on their behalf: “We left because of execution because we’re queer. That is not openly welcome in Venezuela at this time. We’re a couple. We did this journey together. This very long and treacherous journey with a lot of downs and a lot of necessity that has come out of the journey.”

The translator said the couple came through New York City and slept on cots at a church before getting lucky enough to get on a bus to come upstate.

“We laughed a lot. We cried. We had moments that were very difficult for us. One of the big ones is that we’re really homesick and we’re really nostalgic to be home. Of course, we made it here and we’re here today.”

Beetle said all migrants should be welcomed and everyone should advocate for the safety and protection of all those fleeing harm.

“We have a certain humanitarian responsibility to make sure people have food, shelter, health care, and the conditions to live a good health.”