The temperature was below 0 degrees that day in Chicago when Marisela and her compañera were to go to the Police Station on 35th and Michigan to search for her police records of the domestic abuse she had experienced over the years; but rain or shine, snow or freezing temperatures, Taller de José continues to walk with our clients. After going through the usual procedure of filling out forms and waiting for results we were called to the window. The staff member at the station said that no police files had ever been filed in her name at the Chicago Police Department. After much confusion and panic it was discovered that Marisela’s address was in Blue Island, Illinois, meaning that her records would be on file in that Chicago suburb.
At Taller de José, the compañera/os are no stranger to changes in plans and adapting to new obstacles, so Marisela and her compañera made their way to the Blue Island police station, 15 miles south of the Chicago Police Department. There, Marisela was able to locate several of the necessary records with her compañera’s assistance. These records are an essential part of her U-Visa application, a special immigration visa available to victims of violent crimes.
Several days later, Marisela called regarding a recent incident with her abuser, saying that she felt she needed an order of protection against him. It was essential that she receive this order of protection that same day, but unfortunately her compañera was unable to accompany her. Over the phone, her compañera reminded Marisela that she already knew where the police station was and that she had been able to communicate effectively with the staff members there. She told Marisela, “¡tú eres una mujer valerosa y tú puedes hacerlo!”– you are a courageous woman and you can do this! Empowered by this encouragement, Marisela returned to the police station where she successfully obtained an order of protection. When Marisela called to share the news, her compañera celebrated Marisela’s own strength and courage and reminded her that Taller de José will continue to walk this journey with her as she rebuilds her life.