The Roanoker - May/June 2019 - 93

Local Colors Festival

and South African, is a lead attorney at Poarch,
also with three young children. "It's different when
kids are involved," she says. "I can handle about
anything myself, but don't mess with my kids!"
Chief of Police Tim Jones says his department
takes a same-for-all approach in connection
with the immigrant community. "The position,
training, and policies of the police department are
that everybody, regardless of citizenship status, is
provided the same due process of law." He says,
"If a law is broken or there is a criminal complaint
like an arrest warrant issued, an arrest will be made.
Should the arrest process reveal that an individual
is wanted by ICE, we in law enforcement are
required to make that notification."
He also points out some of the ways they are
trying to work with the communities they serve.
"Our agency has a domestic violence specialist of
Hispanic heritage on staff to help with community
engagement efforts and we have about eight officers
of Latino or Hispanic heritage on the force."
The Lea Youth Outdoor Basketball League
(LYOB), a collaboration among the police,
TheRoanoker.com

community organizations, Roanoke Parks and Rec and the Mayor, provides
a venue for kids and families to interact with officers outside of the law
enforcement environment. The program allows officers to build better relations
and provide better service to the community.
For many immigrants seeking a community, churches and temples are a
good start. Commonwealth Catholic Charities has a long list of services, many
of them focused on children. There are panel discussions, held at places like
The Jefferson Center and Roanoke College, where community leaders can
be asked questions and provide information.
Other events revolving around cultural diversity include Local Colors,
happening May 18th in Roanoke's Elmwood Park. As a celebration of the
international community and a way to introduce those unfamiliar to other
cultures, it includes conversation, music, dance and ethnic food.
The struggles for immigrants are real. Understanding improves when
people talk to each other, even when those conversations are uncomfortable
or difficult.
"My husband and I live many hours away from our closest family members,"
says Thompson. "It is difficult being far away from family, but the Roanoke
Valley has been home to us for almost seven years and it's where we are going
to stay. Like every city and town, Roanoke has its strengths and weaknesses,
but I truly believe that its strengths far outweigh its weaknesses. While there
is still work to do, we've come a long way and I'm proud of this place where
my (biracial) kids will forever get to claim as their birthplace." I
MAY/JUNE 2019

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The Roanoker - May/June 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Roanoker - May/June 2019

The Roanoker - May/June 2019 - Intro
The Roanoker - May/June 2019 - Cover1
The Roanoker - May/June 2019 - Cover2
The Roanoker - May/June 2019 - 3
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The Roanoker - May/June 2019 - Cover3
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