This Thanksgiving, I have been thinking about how grateful I am for the relationships I’ve formed with clients and all that they’ve taught me. One such client is Juana, who came to Taller de José looking for help as she applied for U-VISA immigration status, a special visa available to those who have been victims of violent crimes. We thus set up an accompaniment to complete the typical steps. We went to the police station and the Daley Center to obtain the necessary documents. With these documents, she was much closer to applying for citizenship.
About halfway through the accompaniment, she began to open up and share her personal story. She told us about how long she had felt afraid of her husband and what it was like to finally leave that abusive home. Her story was shocking, but I was inspired by her amazing recovery. As we talked, she told me of her plans to study and start supporting other women (or men) who are suffering domestic violence.
At the end of our accompaniment, she told us that she had viewed the U-VISA process as a giant in front of her. We had made her trip so easy and delightful. She thanked me for helping her navigate through the bureaucratic city offices, but I realized that I too was very thankful for her presence and character. By sharing her story, she had showed me an amazing internal strength that guided her to overcome very horrific struggles. She was a beacon of light for the vulnerable and I was so thankful for her.