Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester in Lewes

Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester listened concerns from contituencies on Lewes

Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester held a listening session on the concerns of the diverse communities that are part of the Delaware Civil Rights Coalition (DCRC). The Congresswoman came to hear their concerns at the Unitarian Universalist Church on Lewes Georgetown Highway, Route 9, Lewes on Saturday, February 25, 2017 from 10:30 am to 12:00 noon.

The event started with all the participants arriving around 10:00 am, as a Silent Vigil was held at 10:15 am for 15 minutes to mark the spiritual legacy of the struggle of Martin Luther King Jr., Cesar Chávez, the women who fought to obtain voting rights, the Native American people and others. The Silent Vigil was meant to help to overcome the pain and suffering being felt across the nation by recent policies.

Paulette Rappa, 2016 37th District candidate for State Representative reference the Affordable Care Act and the structure of Title X: “The Affordable Care Act had a significant and measurable impact on improving the health and well-being of women. If it should be repealed, and at worse, not replaced expeditiously, women stand to lose, not only access to medical resources, but they will suffer financially as well. Pregnancy and mental disorders could be considered pre-existing conditions and grounds for permitting insurance providers to deny coverage.”

Usman Sandhu, the president of the Islamic Society of Central Delaware said: “The President’s travel ban and his immigration policies will do no good, but instead they will tear families apart and cause hardship for those who need our help. How can you sleep at night knowing that a 4 year-old child from Iraq, who needs a heart transplant, will only be allowed by Donald Trump’s administration to travel to America by himself without his
parents?”

Referring to the LGBTQ community, Don Peterson stated: “Our community is strong.  We have had 50 years of experience fighting for our rights.  We know how to do it.  And we will continue.  And we will fight not just for ourselves.  We stand in solidarity with women, African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Muslims, Jews, immigrants, and the disabled.  When any of us are threatened, we all are at risk.”

Pastor Aaron Appling from the Community Voices Coalition, said: “As a descendent from the Nanticoke nation along with her cousin nation Lene Lenape, both indigenous to Delaware, and after 500 years of persecution, genocide, oppression, and poverty we are still here, broken, yet still here.”

Charito Calvachi-Mateyko, the coordinator of the DCRC, said in regards to immigration: “Members of both political parties have said our current immigration policy is broken. But don't fix it on the backs of little children screaming as they are ripped away from their mothers to be deported. That is not humane. It is not America. No country does that.”

"Do not sign the Memorandum of Understanding that deputizes police officers as immigration officers; the police are our protectors, not our detractors. And protect the data obtained for Driving Privilege Cards –a legislation that have created public safety for all, and has increased state revenue,” she said.

Diaz Bonville spoke about education: “The graduation rates for minorities are very scary.  I/We feel schools still do not have enough African American teachers to represent the populations they serve as far as hiring minority teachers, administrators, and counselors.”

Photo caption:
Speakers at the event, left to right: Usman Sandhu, Paulette Rappa, Charito Calvachi-Mateyko, Rev. Paula Maiorano, Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester, Pastor Aaron Appling, Don Peterson and Diaz Bonville. Courtesy of the Unitarian Universalist of Southern Delaware, February 25, 2017, at the UUSD church at Route 9, Lewes, DE.

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