Join the Welcoming Movement


By Mike Gleason/Daily News staff

Posted Aug 15, 2012 @ 12:26 AM
MILFORD —The Freedom Life Church played host Tuesday night to a conversation about immigration and the way people from different cultures interact.

More than a dozen people showed up to take part in the discussion with those who organized the event. It was called "Cross-Cultural Coffee" and put on by the Massachusetts Immigration and Refugee Advocacy Coalition.

Cristina Aguilera, of the coalition, put together the event.

"We've been inviting different leaders from the community to start a conversation about how to make Milford more welcoming for everybody," she said. "We've reached out to local groups that work with immigrants and churches where the congregation is non-immigrant, so we can have a small, personal talk."

Aguilera said the conversation was a good way to talk about common experiences and problems.

"People can trace back their own experience with immigration, whether they're immigrants themselves or someone in their family was, and how they felt when they moved from one place to another," she said.

Representatives from health services, local churches and the Milford Library were in attendance, and spoke about the challenges in communication, the barriers between different groups in the area and the problem of providing needed services to immigrants.

Freedom Life Church Pastor Monsi Quinones said she was an immigrant herself and spoke about the fears that people can have about immigrants.

"Sometimes, people can become very emotional about fears, unknowns and their insecurities," she said.

Quinones said she felt it is important that the church host these types of discussions, which help put a human face on what can be abstract concepts.

Aguilera agreed.

"When you meet an individual, and learn who your neighbor is, you get to appreciate their contributions and the values you share in common," she said.

She said it was important to reach out to those who may not be pro-immigration.

"Human beings are resistant to change - that's our nature," she said.

Aguilera said she hoped the group could continue growing and meeting, so it could discuss the issue in productive ways.

Mike Gleason can be reached at 508-634-7546 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

For a live link: