Friday, December 25, 2009

Writer Betsy Phillips and Nashville Hispanic Chamber are among city's many "wise men" this season

I frequently commemorate holidays on this web site by posting a Bible passage, so posting the cartoon above that cracks a joke about the gift-giving of the magi seems like a 180 from that, and possibly offensive to some. But today is Christmas, material gifts were given on the first Christmas, materials gifts will be given to my children and family today (including some last night), and material gifts were given earlier this month to kids in families with immigration problems in news that was so outstanding that I believe today - Christmas - is the right time for a follow-up.

To recap, earlier this month, I posted about a Tennessean story describing kids being turned away from Christmas toy charity programs because of the immigration status of their parents, and about the subsequent outpouring of Nashville generosity to find toys for those kids.

This follow-up is to mention the efforts of local writer Betsy Phillips and also the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, who demonstrated wisdom in their generosity this Christmas season. Their efforts reveal the wisdom and generosity of many others, also named below.

Betsy Phillips (lifting up Houston reversals, Tom Grimaldi, Catholic Charities, Metro Social Services, El Crucero, and the West Nashville United Methodist Church)

Nashville writer Betsy Phillips blogs as "Aunt B." at Tiny Cat Pants and in her own name at the Nashville Scene's Pith in the Wind. Phillips' multiple posts on the toys-not-for-those-tots controversy reached her sizable audience, from her initial post on the national story before it became a Nashville story:
But, in what I count as a Christmas Miracle, both the Salvation Army and the Houston Fire Department seem to have recently “clarified” their policy and children in the same circumstances as Jesus was will no longer be turned away. her Sunday School lesson for the charities turning kids away, on the Nashville Scene blog:
It does take an act of God to get people to act decently toward each other. her praise for Tom Grimaldi and others who were the focus of the Tennessean story on the people who contacted the newspaper to give gifts:
These are the folks next year who should get to be the Grand Marshalls of the city’s Christmas Parade. her call to the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition for ideas on where people could send toys to these kids:
I have talked to TIRRC about whether they know of charities that don’t discriminate based on immigration status. They will be getting back to me. I will share what I know when I know it. her reporting back on agencies giving gifts to children regardless of immigration status:
Catholic Charities
Metro Social Services
El Crucero
The Lay Pastor for Integrative Ministries at the West Nashville United Methodist Church (they also could use some volunteer help this weekend, if you’re bilingual).
As these posts demonstrate, Phillips readily and generously employs her passionate writing to shed light not only on the plights of immigrants but also on the boneheadedness or kindheartedness of their hosts, whichever the case may be.

Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

The Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce also organized a toy drive for children regardless of immigration status. The event attracted the rare bipartisan support of the Middle Tennessee Hispanic Democrats and the Republican National Hispanic Assembly of Tennessee, and news of the drive was picked up by NewsChannel5. That report was then picked up by the national blog LatinaLista.

Over 200 children enjoyed toys, hot chocolate, food, singing, and time with Santa. The chamber posted photos of the event here.

"Merry Christmas to all."

Photo by Terry Hart. Licensed under Creative Commons.

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