Justice For Our Neighbors debuts charitable gala in 2022

Justice For Our Neighbors

Since 2019, Justice For Our Neighbors of the Delaware Valley has been providing pro bono immigration legal services to Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. Now, the three-year-old organization will be hosting its first gala to help fundraise for their cause.

Kicking off on Sept. 22 at Location 215 — a photography studio and event space at 990 Spring Garden St.— the event will feature stories of clients who have benefited from the service, performances, catered hors d’oeuvres, an open bar and a silent auction.

Live music at the event on Thursday will be provided by Dendê & Band, who hail as a Brazilian band and nonprofit promoting Afro-Brazilian culture, and Brewerytown Beats, and also Batala Philly, an all-percussion community band that plays Samba Reggae music from Salvador, Bahia, Brazil.

Tickets are available to the public for $100 online.

Everything the night features is made available to help continue the mission of the organization, a United Methodist-affiliated immigration ministry. According to a release, Justice For Our Neighbors began operating free immigration legal clinics throughout the region in 2021. So far, JFON-DV has offered advice and consultation to over 400 immigrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers.

The organization’s caseload spans 80 clients from 17 countries and 5 continents. They have needs ranging from visa applications to green card and naturalization applications, to family reunification petitions, to asylum and defense against deportation. And 95% of clients qualify for these services completely free of charge.

Interim Executive Director, Rev. Tom Lank said in a statement: “This work is so important because immigrants are often taken advantage of by unscrupulous people. They are vulnerable to extortion on their way to the U.S., vulnerable to wage theft once they are here, and vulnerable to fraud from people masquerading as lawyers as they try to adjust their status.”

Lank also went on to say the situations that some clients have been through, and why organizations such as Justice For Our Neighbors is so vitally needed: “Many of our clients have paid thousands of dollars to people who promised to help them but absconded with the money. When they go before an immigration judge, they do not have a right to a public defender like a citizen in criminal proceedings would. Justice For Our Neighbors stands in that gap to defend the rights of immigrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers against a system that would rather crush and exploit them.”

Justice For Our Neighbors of the Delaware Valley is part of a nationwide network of JFON affiliates ranging from Hawaii to New England and Washington to Florida, according to the release. For more information on the organization and its first gala, visit to jfondv.org or njfon.org

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