I was recently introduced to Lucy Mashua, a woman from Kenya, by my friend, J Kendel, when I went to perform at the Women’s International Peace Conference in Dallas. I believe I posted her bio here on my blog around the same time…
To update you, here is some information about Lucy’s current situation from my friend, J Kendel….
Dear Friends of Sara,
Lucy is a victim of female genital mutilation and other torture and is in the U.S. seeking permanent asylum.
Lucy needs immediate help paying her (August) rent and needs money to send to her daughter who is in Narobi awaiting the funds to pay for treatment for malaria and pneumonia. In total, she needs $925.
Or you can mail a check to:
Lucy Mashua Fund
The Center for Life Enrichment
P.O. Box 181176
Dallas, TX 75218
(The Center for Life Enrichment is a 501c3 non-profit inclusive spiritual educational organization.)
I would not ask you to donate funds to Lucy if I had not done my homework. Dr. Manuel Balbona, Rev. Sharmin DeMoss and client care coordinator Rena Taylor at The Center for Survivors of Torture here in Dallas – http://www.cstnet.org – have verified that Lucy has come to the U.S. seeking asylum and are well-familiar with her case. Lucy’s immigration attorney, Roy Petty, is reported to be one of the best in his field, and the fact that Lucy is from Kenya (rather than, say, Iraq) bodes well for her.
Unlike millions of undocumented workers in our country, foreigners who make formal application for asylum are not allowed to work for several months during their application process.
That seems ridiculous to me, and I have not been able to determine the reason behind this rule, but I have confirmed its existence from several reliable sources. Instead of avoiding Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials, asylum seekers place themselves squarely in front of them and must deal bravely with ICE employees who can have them detained (i.e., incarcerated indefinitely) and/or deported at will.
Therefore, Lucy cannot just work for money “under the radar” of Immigration like so many others. She is being closely monitored and will be required to testify in hearings under oath several times, and, so, can’t afford to break any ICE rules that might jeopardize her ability to gain permanent asylum status.
Lucy has arrived at her current state of emergency as a result of being forced to survive in the U.S. by the generosity of others. I have pledged to help her find a more permanent solution to her ongoing need for funds for living expenses – through churches or other charitable organizations, etc. – but right now, she is in crisis and in danger of being evicted if she doesn’t have her rent money by Thursday, August 9.
I am including a bio Lucy has provided below. You can also read a Dallas Morning News article about her here: http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/city/southwest/stories/DN-gpfocus_31met.ART.South.Edition1.3df479e.html
By the way, Lucy is pretty fluent in English (thanks to Kenya having been a British colony) and is an impressive speaker. She is available to speak to organizations, who are then allowed to seek donations on her behalf from their members separately (as opposed to the organization paying a speaker’s fee directly to her), and that is one way groups may be able to help her survive long-term.
Please let me know if I can answer any more questions.
J Kendel Johnson
jkendel at jkendel.com
Article in Religion Section of Austin American Statesman
And then what happened?