This Op-Ed was written by Ned Delmore, Executive Director of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Seattle|King County. It is featured in the Seattle Times Opinion Section.
“I bet you didn’t know that on any given day of the week you will find Latino families in South King County, gathering in one of our thrift stores to be educated, counseled and protected from a very cold world. Centro Rendu was born out of love for our immigrant Latino communities that suffer from daily exploitation, indifference and hostility. It is named after one of our founders, Sister Rosalie Rendu (a firebrand), a radical Daughter of Charity who gave her life in service to the powerless and taught the poor how to fight for their dignity.
Centro Rendu serves 1,000-plus individuals and families, both legal and undocumented, every year. We are a repository of human stories. Daily we witness the remnants of the effects of immigration in the behaviors we see in-home visits and in our classrooms. We see families that experience untreated depression due to multiple losses of home, job, dignity and freedom. The severity of these losses over time can crush the human spirit. Every moment is survival, stalked by fear; mothers stay at home, living with acute anxiety of being detected and locked up, leaving their children to fend for themselves. Those who come to Centro Rendu often carry the weight of the world on their shoulders, displaying behaviors of trauma and disengagement with little or no trust.”