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Dodge City Daily Globe - Dodge City, KS
  • Dealing with diversity

  •      Lots of people talk about addressing Dodge City's diverse populations but few actually do anything.

         Maria Musick intends to make a difference in her community.


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  •      Lots of people talk about addressing Dodge City's diverse populations but few actually do anything.
         Maria Musick intends to make a difference in her community.
         With some time on her hands because of retirement and as chair person of the pastoral council at Our Lady Of Guadalupe, she asked herself, "What do I really care about?"
         The question started her thinking about her childhood.
         "I grew up in a small town with maybe two black families, then I got married and moved to a smaller town with maybe three Latino families. I love southwest Kansas because of the diversity — it makes our town more representative of our country, So I decided to spend the rest of my retirement working on this problem."
         She found an agency of the Catholic church that provides help to communities working on the problem.
         It's called Justice for Immigrants: A journey of hope.
         The goals of the organization are set forth in five principles:
         Persons have the right to find opportunities in their homeland.
         Persons have the right to migrate to support themselves and their families.
         Sovereign nations have a right to control their borders.
         Refugees and asylum seekers should be afforded protection.    
         The human rights and the human dignity of undocumented migrants should be respected.
         In conjunction with Justice for Immigrants, the Catholic Bishops of Mexico and the United States have issued a pastoral letter calling for comprehensive immigration reform, including global anti-poverty efforts, expanded opportunities to reunify families, broad-based "earned' legalization and restoration of due process. The letter also calls for a temporary worker program with the following elements:
         A path to permanent residency,
         Family unity,
         Job portability,
         Labor protections,
         Enforcement mechanisms for workers' rights,
         Wages and benefits which do not undercut domestic workers,
         and Labor-market test to ensure U.S. workers are not harmed.
    Making it work
         Musick began her efforts a year ago with research and formed a group which met for the first time last November.
         "We have a Hispanic mass at noon on Sundays and it has the fullest parking lot in town," Musick said in a recent interview.
         "We've been trying to bring people together and we've had some success."
         Musick says she's learned a basic rule: Don't tell people what they need, ask them.
         The group has formed a speakers bureau to be available for civic clubs and other groups interested in exploring the problem.
         "We pray for justice for immigrants and we hope to begin having prayer meetings," Musick said.
         The group is planning a town meeting and would like to invite interested citizens to join in their effort.
    Page 2 of 2 -      If you would like more information, or if you would like to volunteer to help, please e-mail her at Marismusick@yahoo.com.
     
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