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CEUS News

2016

Full house in the new semester of classes (Sept. 25) More than 60 students attended the first day of class in the CEUS Education Program, taking English and Spanish literacy classes. More students are expected to sign up for the classes, which run through the beginning of December. The program offers Level 1, 2, 3, and 4, and a conversation class,  in English and two levels of Spanish. Students enjoyed tasy food in the cafeteria made by volunteers. Thanks to all the teachers and volunteers who make the program happen. See photos here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Spanish TV news bulletin focuses on CEUS programs (Sept. 21) Univision  41, one of two main Spanish channels in the New York area, visited the offices of Centro Comunitario CEUS to film a segment for its eaerly evening news program. The segment focused on CEUS' work in the community, especially the Spanish literacy and ESL classes, and the legal services program that provides low cost immigration legal services for immigrants. See the clip here.  

TPS assistance provided to Salvadorans, Hondurans in new extension (July 10) CEUS has begun providing legal assistance for immigrants eligible to renew their work permits under the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program. As in past years, we expect to help several hundreds people to extend their permits, with each case reviewed by our attorney. The CEUS office will be attending TPS cases on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesday and Fridays, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The final deadline for filing a TPS case is Sept. 6.  For more information call: (201) 617-2466.  

Graduation celebration in the Spanish literacy program (July 24) The CEUS Education Program had a strong Spring semester with more than 70 English students attending classes and at least 20 in the Spanish literacy program, for native Spanish speakers who did not have the opportunity at home to learn to read and write in their native language. We took the opportunity to celebrate the great achivement of the Spanish literacy students who completed the semester with a small party. All students were presented with certificates of achievement. We salute their courage in taking such a challenging step and their commitment to their studies. See photos of the event here: 1, 2, 3, 4.  

2015

Students flock to the Fall education program (Sept. 27) About 60 people registered for the first day of the CEUS Englis As A Second Language and Spanish literacy classes. CEUS volunteers served Salvadoran-style chickan sandwiches in a busy day that marks the beginning of the 10 week fall semester. Thanks to our nine colunteer teachers, our biggest group for a while, and to the volunteer coordinators.  See photos here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.  

The first CEUS Inspire Awards Gala(April 17) About 100 people attended the Inspire Awards gala in a very successful night honoring some great immigrant activists and success stories. We honored the following people: Martha Bahamn, vice president for development, Hispanic Federation; Merijoel Durn, presenter WXTV Univision 41, "Al Despertar"; Hector Fuentes, organizer LIUNA- Local 55; Dr. Eduardo Garita, dentist, The Dental Depot; Elissa Steglich, director of the Legal Service Program of American Friends Service Committee. The highlights included great food, some inspiring speeches, traditional Guatemalan Mariba music followed by stiring Mexican Mariachi music. See a photo slideshow with snippets of speeches here. Thanks to all who attended, to the donors and the sponsors, who made it such a successful and memorable evening, including: Atabey Consulting Group, Campos Strategies Group, Irodz Associates, LIUNA, Royal Printing Services, Hollywood Liquors, Fonseca Consulting Group, Laborers Local 472, Meize Restaurant, SEIU 32BJ, The Dental Depot.

Annual Mother's Day Celebration (May 16) the CEUS women's empowerment group "Entre Nosotras" celebrated Mother's Day with an exciting event of good food, a traditional Salvadoran dance and music in the hall of St. Rocco's Church next to CEUS.  We would like to thank everyone who made it such a emotional event, including: master of ceremonies Carlos Farfan, Jose Flores aka DJ Farahon, who livened up the party with music, and Luz Hernandez  and Angelica Salmon, who donated raffle prizes. Special thanks to local businesses Trader Joe's at Edgewater for donating over 50 bouquets of flowers and El Artesano at 4101 Bergenline Ave, Union City for donating delicious Cuban food.  See photos of the event here: 1, 2, 3, 4.  

The Women's group will be starting to meet monthly and we will plan our first summer outing. Stay tuned for more information!

CEUS offers services after Salvadoran TPS Extension Approved (Jan. 9) The Secretary of Homeland Security has extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for eligible nationals of El Salvador for an additional 18 months, effective March 10, 2015, through Sept. 9, 2016. This will enable thousands of Salvadorans to get work permits for another 18 months. As in past extensions, CEUS will provide immigration legal services to enable area Salvadorans to renew their work papers. See the U.S. Gov press release here. Salvadorans that want to renew their pemits with CEUS should call (201) 617-2466. We are open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, in the day, and Saturday morning.

2014

New year of English and Spanish classes begins (Sept. 28) The fall semester of our education program began with an additional class, Level 4, taking the number of classes to 6 English As A Second Language classes and 2 Spanish literacy classes. The program is run with eight volunteer teachers and four volunteer organizers. We also had the support of three volunteers in the CEUS cafeteria, providing food all day for the students. Thanks to all your wonderful help. See a slideshow of first day photos here.

Lobbying trip to Washington (July 9) More than two dozen CEUS members and clients traveled to the nation's capital to talk to congressional repesentatives about the traumas and damage inflicted on families who have suffered the deportation of a family member. CEUS members visited the offices of New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez y Congressman Albio Sires, and others, in a coordinated effort with other groups including the Newark office of American Friends Service Committee. See a slideshow of photos here

Open House Celebration (June 28) More than 125 people attended an "Open House" to mark the opening of the organization's new office in Union City and its increased ability to help the North Jersey immigrant population. The event was led was led by Union City Commissioner Tilo Rivas and Pastor Ernesto Espiritu of St. John's Church in West New York, and featured traditional Latino music, A dance party to cap the event in the evening went on late into the evening. Thank you to every one who contributed to making this such a wonderful event. See a slideshow of photos here. See a list of those who helped here, and the program here. 

CEUS moves into a new office  (Mar. 1) After fifteen years in our office on 45th Street, CEUS moved to a spacious new office four blocks away in Union City. Our new address is 4214 Kennedy Boulevard, and the move, although a lot of work, went largely without a problem. Our new offices, spread over two floors, includes three class rooms, four offices and a full kitchen - plenty of space to expand the English and Spanish literacy program, and ample space for the attorneys and employees of our Immigrant Legal Services program. We thank all the more than two dozen volunteers who helped move our organization on the weekend of Mar. 1, so that on the morning of Sunday Mar. 2 we were up and running to hold English and Spanish literacy classes.  See photos: exterior, movers, first day classes. For directions to the new office, see our "Directions" page.

2013

March in Jersey City to demand immigration reform  (April 6) Amid the heated debate over immigration reform, CEUS sents a group of supporters to participate with thousands of others in a rally for reform at Liberty State Park, jersey City, NJ. It was a gathering of high emotion that was attended by many New Jersey politicans, who showed their support for reform. The most common message among the speakers was that the US is a country of immigrants and it should give the opportunity to the 11 million people in this country without legal status and documentation that would allow thme to work and live life without the fear of deportation.  See the photos in a video here

Campaign against mining projects in El Salvador  (April 4) Dozens of people attended a meeting in the CEUS office to hear a presentation about the compaign against mining in Central America, specifically in El Salvador, which has caused environmental damage.  Sandra Osario, who works on the campaign, gave a presentation about what has happened, including some of the mining proposals that mining companeis want to carry out in El Salvador. Osorio also spoke of the efforts by Salvadoran communities to stop the mining plans. 

New officials elected for CEUS  (Feb. 23) About 30 CEUS members attended the meeting to elect the new board of directors. Elected tas officers were: Blanca Molina (president), Yesenia Argueta (treasurer) and Nircia Vasquez (secretary). Elected to the board were: Atilio Rodriguez, Agustin Pacheco, Ana Benitez, Daniel Zavala, Pavinder Monga y Rosalina Miranda. After the ballot, each of those elected took the oath to commit themselves to making the organization better and to grow it so that it becomes stronger and more solid. For sure, The new board will steer CEUS with a renewed sense of purpose and positive energy. See the photos: photo 1, photo 2, photo 3, photo 4, photo 5,

Strong registration in New Year ESL semester   (Feb. 3) The winter semester of the education program began on January 27, with more than 70 English As A Second language students registering and another and 12 signing up for the Spanish literacy classes. Thanks to the teachers for their commitment and dedication. We have three levels of English classes and 2 levels of Spanish. Registration remains open to new students who want to overcome and learn English. See the photos: photo 1, photo 2, photo 3, photo 4, photo 5, photo 6,

2012

A year in CEUS - hard work, volunteering and commitment  Check out the slide-show with music that celebrates what we did and acheived in 2012.  See it here

CEUS President honored for helping immigrants  CEUS founder Blanca Molina was given the prestigious Russ Berrie Award for Making a Difference on May 9 at Ramapo College of New Jersey in honor of her work helping the immigrant community. The Russell Berrie Foundation created the award to give "uncommon recognition for uncommon acts," and it is awarded to people who "have made a significant difference to the well being of society." Blanca and her work were also honored by  Asociacion Cultural Salvadorena Cuzcatlan at the second annual Pupusa Festival in West New York in August. See photos of the two events here: photo 1, photo 2, photo 3, photo 4, photo 5, photo 6, photo 7, photo 8

Trenza Cultural showcases Latino talent   (May 10) The cultural committee presented an evening of drama, food and music to celebrate Mother's Day. The presentations included a scene from La Casa de Alba, presented by Piedad Castano and Zulema Owens, singing by Alicia Martinez and a monologue  by Wanda Ferriera about the 1940s actress Maria Montez.  The winner of the raffle for a television was also picked at the event. See a slideshow of the photos here.

CEUS membership meeting  (April. 1) About 30 members of the CEUS Membership program attended a meeting to hear the latest news of the organization and to share their thoughts on the work of the center. See the photos here: 1, 2, 3, 4.

Remembering Msr. Romero  (Mar. 24) The annual commemoration by Centro Comunitario CEUS of the life, work and assassination of Msr. Oscar Romero was marked by a walk down Bergenline Avenue. We gathered outside Christ and St. Johns Church in West New York before taking the 45 minute walk and then finishing with an event of food, prayer and reflection at the CEUS office in Union City, NJ. About 70 people attended the event, on the 32nd anniversary of his death, led by Father Daniel Johansen. See the photo slideshow with music here and the flyer here.

"Entre Nosotras" celebrates women worldwide  (Mar. 10) The CEUS women's group, Entre Nosotras, organized a spirited event to mark International Women's Day, with two musical groups, great food and poetry. About 50 people attended the event in the CEUS offices.

OSHA workshop to protect immigrants at work  (Feb. 18 and Mar. 3) Fifteen members of the community attended a workshop and presentation by the U.S. Dept. of Labor/OSHA on safety at work and immigrants rights on the job. See the slideshow here.

English classes well attended  (January 29) More than 60 students signed up for the English As A Second Language classes, and another ten registered for the Spanish literacy classes. Thanks to the five volunteer teachers and to the program coordinators. See photos here: 1, 2, 3.

Flood of immigrants seek CEUS assistance with TPS cases (January 10) CEUS began filing the paperwork for hundreds of Salvadoran immigrants in the Temporary Protected Status temporary work permit program on Jan. 10. We will continue handling cases until the closure date, Mar. 9. Late last year, we also handled many Honduran TPS cases. This year, aside from our own attorney, Cecilia Rodriguez, we have the assistance of two volunteer attorneys, Marilyn Levy and Robert Hilliard. Anyone seeking to file TPS paperwork through CEUS should call us on (201) 617-2466 or email us at ceusnj@optonline.net.

2011

CEUS president Blana Molina honored  (December 3) The Salvadoran-Hispanic-American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey (CAMACOSALH NJ) honored Blanca at a dinner in Elizabeth along with four other Salvadorans who have made great contribitions to the Salvadoran community in New Jersey and elsewhere. Present were Elizabeth Mayor Christian Bollwage and Carlos Lopez of the Salvadoran Consulate in New Jersey. See photo of Blanca getting honored (here) and with the other honorees (here).

Presentation of play about the hard immigrant life  (November 19) CEUS played host to a play by the Group Teatro Experimental - TEC of Washington Heights in Manhattan called "Con un Machete se Llega a Roma" ("With a machete you can arrive in Rome," in English). This was the first time the CEUS center has been used to present a full-length theatrical work, and CEUS vice-president Nelson Hernandez and a team of helpers spent a considerable time preparing the center. The musical-comedy dealt with the problems and abuses faced by immigrants trying to make their way, and legalize their status, in the U.S., best by problems such as falling prey to crooks selling false work papers. Nelson also acted in the play, which was also presented at Second Theater Festival in El Comisionado Dominicano in Upper Manhattan and Casa Navarette Theater on Broadway, NY.  See the photos: 1, 2, 3.

CEUS bulletin, El Informador CEUS, released  (November 25) Read all the CEUS news of recent months in our periodic bulletin here.

CEUS member Jose Esquivel featured in The Record  (November 24) Former CEUS board member Jose Esquivel was featured in a story on the front page of The Record newspaper about immigrants who are especially thankful to be in the U.S. on Thanksgiving Day. Jose has just brought his wife and two children to New Jersey from El Salvador and enjoyed his first Thanksgiving with them. CEUS' legal team completed all the papers and visa work to bring them here. The story was written by Monsy Alvarado, a reporter for The Record who taught as a volunteer in the CEUS English As A Second Languagae program for several semesters. See the front page here and read the story here

Informing the community about U.S. immigration laws  (September 17) CEUS organized two presentations on U.S. immigration laws led by CEUS lawyer Cecilia Rodriguez. The first took place in the CEUS office in Union City with an audience of about 20 community members. To celebrate El Salvador's independence day, the event also featured perfomances by traditional Salvadoran folkloric group Pulgarsito Centroamerica. Later, Cecilia and CEUS executive director Blanca Molina gave a presentation on the immigration laws to a group Guatemalan community leaders in the basement of San Juan Bautista Church in Fairview. Check out the photos here.

Salvadorans celebrate the 200th anniversary of El Salvador's first cry of independence (September 14) A sizeable group of Salvadorans attended an event to honor El Salvador's day of independence by hoisting the country's flag in Union City.  The event, organized by the Union City Mayor's Office and presented by Community Affairs Commissioner, Lucio Fernandes, began with the national anthems of United States and El Salvador, followed by the reading of proclamations that honored various Salvadoran community leaders, including CEUS President Blanca Molina. The event also included dancing by Association Folklorico Cuscatlan and the Pulgarsito of Central America. See photos here and here.

Latino cultural arts evening a success (Aug. 13) More than 40 people attended the August Trenza Cultural event for an evening of poetry, music and dancing, the seond this year. Performers included writer Ruben Sanchez, poet Adriana Jacqueline Devers, singers Zulema Owens (acapella), Julio Cesar (baladeer) and Paloma River Mexican ranchera music). The Guetemalan traditional dance group El Tikal Guatemala also performed. See photos of the event and hear a song snippet here

Saul Solarzano, longtime activist for the Salvadoran community, dies  (Aug. 17) With great sadness, CEUS remembers the work of Saul Solorzano, who has for many years fought for immigrants in the Washington D.C. and nationwide. Saul  died Aug. 17 from head injuries in an accident in his home.  As head of CARECEN in Washington, he fought to gain residence for Central Immigrants after the end of the civil war,  often alongside CEUS members as part of the National Network of Salvadoran Americans. We honor his great work and will miss him. See picture of Saul here. Read articles about him here (English) and here (Spanish).

New Attorney for CEUS (July 8) CEUS welcomes Cecilia Rodriguez, our new attorney, who started July 8 in our immigration legal services program. Cecilia was the best candidate in a rigorous search conducted by CEUS members and ASFC attorney Elissa Steglich. Cecilia comes to CEUS with extensive experience practicing immigration law, including working for several private lawfirms and  non-profit agencies, such as Northern Westchester Shelter, Inc., Cecilia, (see photo here and on the CEUS staff page here), replaces Khalil Ismail, who left in May to devote more time to his own practice. She will work for CEUS on Wednesdays and Fridays. 

Youth leadership workshop (June) About a dozen young immigrants attended a month-long leadership training event organized by Centro Comunitario CEUS and American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). Attendees came to the CEUS offices for four successive Saturday sessions for a series of discussions on topics such as how government works, leadership skills, how to plan a campaign and how to work with the media. Those who finished the series were given a certificate. Thanks to instructors Stephen Caprario, an AFSC intern who helped create the program, Chia-Chia Wang of AFSC, Nelson Hernandez and Atilio Rodriguez of CEUS. Check out photos of the workshop and participants here.

Women's group gives a vibrant Mother's Day celebration (May 14) More than 50 people attended the event organized by the CEUS women's group, Entre Nosotras (among ourselves, in English), with food, dancing and music by cumbia group Los Alegres Campesinos. See a video of the band and event here. The raffle for the 32-inch flat screen televesion was also picked at the event, with group member Pilar Nuñez holding the winning ticket. See photo of Pilar here.

Strong registration in CEUS classes (May 1) More than 70 people registered for the Spring semester of the CEUS ESL and Spanish literacy classes. That was a larger attendance than for several semesters, assisted by a strong publicity effort. Thanks to everyone involved. See photos 1, 2 and 3.

Using the internet for social change (April 7) CEUS members attended a New York meeting of Latinos in Social Media (LATISM),  with long-time CEUS collaborator Reina Valenzuela leading a discussion on "Using Social Media for Social Good." See a video of CEUS member Hugh Morley discussing CEUS' approach to using the internet to organize the community - here. See a video of Reina discussing the importance of social media to the Latino community here. Read more about the event here.

Law students teach inmigrants their rights (Mar. 20) Six Seton Hall University law students gave a presentation to several classes in the CEUS English and Spanish literacy program about the rights of immigrants in the event that US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents come to their home. The students explained the issue with a theatrical presentation showing how ICE agents and police look for undocumented people at home, and showing what documents the agents must present in order to enter a resident's home. See photos 1 and 2. Read more here (in Spanish).

CEUS celebrates International Women's Day(Mar. 12) More than 50 people attended the event organized by the CEUS women's group, Entre Nosotras (Between Ourselves) to remember the key role women have played in history and social change. Attendees enjoyed presentations on women's rights  and the history of international women's day. Male volunteers served the food and musician members of CEUS gave a presentation. Poet Karla Correa read some of her fine work. See a slideshow of photos here.

CEUS elects new board of directors  (Feb. 11) CEUS members elected nine board members to serve two year terms. Elected were Blanca Molina, as President, Atilio Rodriguez, as Treasurer, Marie Moore, as Secretary and Nelson Hernandez, as vice president. Also elected to the board were Yesenia Argueta, Agustin Pacheco, Ana Benitez, Salvador Ardon and Mirna Mena Farfan. The election was overseen by former CEUS board member Felix Alegria, who led the group in a swearing-in ceremony after the vote. See a slideshow of photos here.

2010

Remembering the Maryknoll nuns killed in El Salvador 30 years ago (Dec. 4) More than 50 people attended a breakfast to commemorate the life and work of the four church workers assassinated in 1980. Led by Father Terence Moran, the event included readings and a pair of videos about the four, with music by guitarist/singer Jose Matias Guardado. See a slideshow of photos here.

Immigrant community celebrates Central American independence (Sept. 24) A group of CEUS members, mostly from the Salvadoran community, celebrated their country's indepence. They took part in a ceremony at Union City Hall led by Mayor Brian Stack, in which the flags of several Central American countries were raised and the national anthem played, bringing tears to the eyes of about 60 celebrants present. See photo here.

Salvadorans apply for work visas (Sept. 3) The CEUS Legal Services Program filed 350 applications for members of the Salvadoran community for temporary work visas in July, August and September. The visa applications were submitted in the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program, and will allow the applicants to work legally for another 18 months. Many of the applicants were granted TPS visas after the two earthquakes that rocked El Salvador in 2001, and have applied through CEUS ever since.

Mayday rally against Arizona laws (May 1) Members of CEUS, American Friends Service Committee and other groups gathered in Newark to protest the harsh anti-immigrant law passed in Arizona, and demand a reform of U.S. immigration laws to give legal status to millions of undocumented residents. See a slideshow and video of the event here. CEUS members also rallied a week later outside the federal detention center in Elizabeth, where immigrants are held pending deportation, to demand immigration reform.

Cultural celebration of Mother's day (May 8) More than 60 people listened spellbound at the Trenza Cultural event as Venezuelan singer Graciela Barre talked of her life and sang, accompanied by her guitar. The evening, a mother's day celebration organized with the CEUS women's group, Entre Nostros, also featured painting by artist Cruz, of Union City. See the photo gallery here.

CEUS honored by Spanish-lanugage newspaper (April. 23) Hudson County-based newspaper Cambio honored CEUS and other community leaders for their work supporting area residents. Also honored was Hilda Cardenas, president of Helping Immigrants community organization of Union City.

See the photo gallery here. Also, check out the photos in the Cambio website of CEUS members with Union City Mayor Brian Stack here, and of Blanca Molina receiving the honor, here.

Women's group looks at self-esteem (April. 18) About 30 members of the CEUS women's group, Entre Nosotras, spent their monthly meeting learning about self-esteem and how it is shaped. They used their own experiences and role play to analyze the subject, causing much laughter and good cheer as they recognized the impact on their own lives. See the photo gallery here.

CEUS remembers Archbishop Romero (Mar. 27) On Mar. 27th, Comite En Union para Salvadorenos (CEUS) and several other groups commemorated the life and work of Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero, who was assassinated 30 years ago because of his work defending the poor and oppressed. See the photos and hear the sounds of the event on our special page dedicated to Romero, which includes news stories, video links and remembrances of his life.

National gathering to demand immigration reform (Mar. 21) Two buses full of North Jersey immigrants left the CEUS office in Union City at 5 a.m., headed for Washington D.C. We joined a crowd estimated at more than 150,000 to demand President Obama fulfill his pledge to give immigrants a passage to legalization. See the photos and hear the sounds of the event.

See CEUS members featured in a report of the event in the North Bergen Reporter, here, and El Diario de Hoy, a Salvadoran newspaper, here and here.

Celebration of International Women's Day (Mar. 13) About 50 people attended the annual celebration of International Women's Day organized by the CEUS women's group, Entre Nosotras. The event included a photo exhibition of important women in history and music by Carlos Donan and mariachi group Sol Internatonal. We also showed a video clip of Latina workers in Portland, Oregon, who organized themselves after authorities raided their employer, a Del Monte factory, and many of the women faced deportation. As is the tradition in the women's day event, male members of CEUS prepared the food. See the photos and hear the sounds of the event. And see the video, "Frozen Dreams," of the workers here.

Kids and Immigration (Feb. 22) Check out the photos of youngsters in our monthly event to teach immigrant children about the lives of immigrants. Photos here.

30th Anniversary Remembrance of Msr. Romero (Mar. 1) CEUS and a coalition of other groups are organizing a special event to mark the life and work of Salvadoran Archbishop Msr. Oscar Romero on the 30th anniversary of his assassination. The event will take place on Mar. 27 at St. Peter's College, with religious reflection and artistic presentation organized by the CEUS cultural committee. Please join us. A donation is suggested. See the flyer.

Poetry and culture for the New Year (Jan. 16) The CEUS cultural committee presented music by Ivan Ordonez y Patricio Gordillo and Ines del Castillo, who read from her book Los Prados de Mi Glosa. Luis Enrique Preciado read his poetry. See the photos.

CEUS featured in the Union City Reporter (Feb. 7) Reporter Lana Rose Diaz visited CEUS and wrote a front page story about our long history of working for the community, and our programs. Check out the story and photos here or a copy of the newspaper: page 1, page 2.

Two new employees for CEUS (Feb. 12) CEUS is pleased to announce the hiring of a new attorney and community organizer. Attorney Khalil Ismail will head the CEUS Immigration Legal Services program. He has extensive experience with immigration law, speaks Spanish and French, and has traveled widely, visiting El Salvador in the 1990s. He replaces Marguerite Marty, who left in December after working for CEUS for three years. We thank Marguerite for all her great work. We also welcome Leyda Flores who will work as the community organizer, especially in the CEUS women's group, "Entre Nosotras," and on immigration issues. Leyda has worked as a community organizer for many years, including with ACORN, the well known community activist group. See the press release about the hires and see their photos on our new staff page, here.

Haitian TPS offered (Feb. 12) The CEUS Immigration Legal Services program is completing TPS applications for Haitians. The U.S. government granted TPS to undocumented Haitian immigrants after the earthquake in that country. If you know anyone who needs to apply, please tell them about program. Read the flyer here.

AID from CEUS delivered to Hurricane Ida victims (Jan. 28) Food packets funded by CEUS were delivered on Jan. 15 and 18 to 188 families affected by the hurricane in in El Salvador. The packets, which included beans, flour, sugar, soap and toilet paper, went to needy families in San Pedro Perulapán y San Martín. The families were picked based on several criteria, including those headed by single mothers, who had lost a family member in the hurricane or who had lost crops. CEUS collected $3,000 for hurricane victims in November and December and sent the money to FUNDESA, a respected non-profit organization, with whom we have worked in the past. See the final report from FUNDESA and photos of the packet distribution here.

CEUS is continuing to raise funds to support the hurricane victims. Please consider making a donation.You can find more information about our campaign, and make a donation, on our campaign page here.

Youngsters learn about immigration (Jan. 20) A dozen children of immigrants gathered under a CEUS program called "Families United, Happy Faces." The youngsters drew pictures and wrote letters to President Barack Obama asking him to remember his promise to bring about immigration law reform that will also not require families to be separated. The meeting was organized with New Labor in an effort to teach the youngsters about immigration and at the same time enable them to contribute to the campaign for immigration reform that gives dignity and justice to immigrants. Check out the photos here. The group will meet again on February 19. See here for details.

Xmas celebration and the raffle (Dec. 26) CEUS honored the students and teachers in the English and Spanish literacy programs at the annual Xmas celebration. More than 60 people enjoyed a night of food, music and dancing at the CEUS office. Congratulations to 11-year-old Leny Romero of Union City, who held the winning raffle ticket - selected at the party - for the laptop computer. See a photo slideshow of the party here.

Poetry and the music of Mercedes Sosa (Nov. 14) More than 40 people attended a Trenza Cultural event, with Dominican poet Juan Nicolas Tineo. Musician Patricio Gordillo and a partner played music by Mercedes Sosa, in memory of her death on Oct.4. See a slideshow of the event, with words byJuan Nicolas Tineo here.

Justice for immigrants walk (Dec. 11) On a cold and windy day, CEUS members took part in a walk to celebrate International Human Rights Day. The walk started at the federal immigration office in Newark and concluded seven miles away at the detention center in Elizabeth. More than 60 people took part to show solidarity with the 300 detainees living in difficult conditions in the detention center simply because they were undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. See a slide show of the walk here.

See a news report of the walk here. and an interview with reporter Liz Llorente about the walk and immigration reform here

CEUS launches campaign to help victims of the hurricane in El Salvador (Nov. 22) CEUS mounted an all day collection walk on Bergenline Avenue in Union City to raise funds. A dozen people took part in the event, the proceeds of which will go to two disaster-struck communities in El Salvador. Please go to our disaster pages here for details of the tragedy, what CEUS is doing and how you can help. See a slide show of the collection walk here, with sound.

CEUS visits Washington D.C. to demand immigration reform (Oct. 13) Members of CEUS traveled to Washington to take part in a gathering to seek immigration reform demonstration, and to speak to legislators. The same day, Congressman Luis Gutierrez, of Chicago, presented a plan to introduce an immigration reform law, possibly before the end of 2009. It was an inspiring and motivating event for all, with many communities uniting to demand permanent legal status in the U.S. CEUS took a group of 35 people, many of whom took the day off work to take part. Press here aqui , to see a slide show of photos of the event, with music by Mercedes Sosa, in memory of her life and death.

Books, action, study (Oct. 11) The fall semester of the CEUS education program began October 4, with seven classes of English As a Language and Spanish literacy for immigrants who are unable to read and write well in their own language. The semester lasts 10 weeks, and ends December 13. See photos here.

Free at last .... Central American Independence day celebration (September 20) More than 40 people attended a celebration of Central American Independence Day, including members of the Honduran, Salvadoran, Guatemalan and Mexican communities. Attendees of the cultural event enjoyed "atolada," a Salvadoran dessert, and enjoyed a presentation on the latest issues in the immigration debate. See photos

CEUS Gala 2009 Slide Show with Sound (Oct. 13) See the slide show with snippets of speeches from the event: English version and Spanish version. (Please turn on your sound system to hear it).

Learning to organize (Aug. 30) A dozen people attended a workshop in the CEUS offices to train community members in the principals of community organization. The event was led by Diana Mejia. Slide show here.

CEUS Gala 2009 (May 9) More than 125 people came to celebrate CEUS's 16th Anniversary Gala at the Hilton Newark Airport in Elizabeth. See the gala pages: English version and Spanish version.

Informing immigrants of their rights (December 14) CEUS marked the 60th anniversary of the universal declaration of human rights by advising immigrants of their rights in case of a raid by immigration authorities. Several raids have taken place on Bergenline, Union City, in recent weeks. So CEUS volunteers handed out flyers and talked to community members about what to do if they are picked up. Earlier in the week, CEUS sponsored an event in Newark organized by American Friends Service Committee and a dozen other organizations to celebrate the human rights declaration. (See video and photos of the events here)

Xmas party celebration (December 20) CEUS volunteers, members, board members and other supporters packed the group offices in Union City for the annual Christmas celebration. Students of the English As A Second Language classes received certificates of achievement and CEUS honored the volunteer teachers. Good food and dancing was had by all. (See photos here)

Poetry, music and art at the Pena Cultural (November 15) The CEUS cultural committee , which promotes Latin American culture and arts, celebrated the first anniversary of its bi-monthly events with a full night of performances. Salvadoran poet Santiago Miranda read from his book, Nostalgia in the Darkness, and Ecuadoran poet Mirian Guerra also read poetry. Yesenia Cortinas, an artist with origins in the Dominican Republic, displayed her work, and guitarist Jorge Chiquillo of Colombia ended the evening with a rousing performance. (See photo here)

Goodbye Jorge "Tururu" Renderos (November 22) With great sadness, the Salvadoran community of Long Island commemorated the death of Jorge Renderos in October of cancer. Jorge was a great friend to some members of CEUS and of the Salvadoran community. He was a wonderful singer and guitar player and was always ready to play at a community event. His life was remembered at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Freeport, Long Island in an event billed as "An evening of faith, solidarity and music with his friends and colleagues in the struggle." We miss you, Jorge! (See photo here)

CEUS organizes a TPS application Marathon (November 20) In October, CEUS began renewing work permits for community members under the Temporary Protected Status (TPS). CEUS urges eligible members of the Central American community to move swiftly to exercise their right to renew their TPS work permits. For Guatemalans and Hondurans the deadline for filing is November 30. The deadline for Salvadorans is December 30. Only existing TPS permit holders can register. To ensure that everybody files on time CEUS is holding two TPS Application Marathons, when we will renew permits all day - on December 6 and 13, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. For further information, call the CEUS office: (201) 617-2466.

Winner of the air ticket raffle! (November 15) Congratulations to Jaime Sandoval, a long-time supporter of CEUS, who won the two discount coupons for use on Continental Airline flights. Jaime's smile stretched from ear to ear when he picked up his prize. He said he expects to use the tickets to take his mother, a former student in the CEUS education program, on a trip home to El Salvador. Have a great trip Jaime and thanks to Continental Airlines for donating the coupons and for supporting CEUS!

Day of Outreach - in North Hudson park and to the Mexican community (September 21) CEUS mounted an outreach effort in North Hudson's Braddock Park to inform the community about CEUS' work, especially the English As A Second Language classes that began a week later. In the afternoon, CEUS held its first meeting with the Mexican immigrant community, in conjunction with the Mexican Consulate in New York. Also present was attorney Rafael Figueroa, who gave a presentation about the legal rights of immigrants.(See photos here).

New cafeteria thanks to Home Depot (September 14) CEUS completed a new cafeteria at Centro Comunitario CEUS, largely funded by a donation of $2,000 from Home Depot. Most of the work was done by CEUS volunteers and collaborators. We thank everyone who contributed to the effort. (See the before and after photos here).

CEUS TPS campaign (September 7) CEUS held a community meeting to inform the community of efforts to push for an extension in the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program of temporary work visas. CEUS joined with other groups in a rally in support of the campaign. Shortly after, U.S. authorities announced the extension of the program. (See photos here).

Celebration of Independence Day in Central America (September 14) The Trenza Cultural showcased the culture of various countries, including traditional costumes from Panama, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and El Salvador. Reina Valenzuela presented an exhibition of etchings of jazz greats by Salvadoran artist Donan, and showed video clips of some of the musicians. Paul Baker, an Englishman living in Nicaragua, played songs from that country and El Salvador, among them songs by Victor Jara (See photos here).

CEUS planning session (August 9) The CEUS board of directors met for a half day retreat to plan for the next six months.(See photos 1, 2.

Trenza Cultural - Summer feast of Poetry and Art (July 14): CEUS members enjoyed an evening of poetry and the art of Rosario Hernandez, before an open microphone session (See photos here).

Building strong communities (May 10) CEUS volunteers and members, including Monica Sierra, Atilio Rodríguez, Daniel Zavala, Jan Gutierrez and Blanca Molina, attended the “Building Strong Communities” conference on May 10at Rutgers University in Newark. Organized by American Friends Service Committee, the conference brought community leaders together for workshops and training on how to strengthen communities, tackling subjects such as popular education methods, political advocacy and how to work with the media.

Trenza Cultural - Mother's Day Celebration (May 10): CEUS celebrated Mother's Day with art and music. The shaped tin art of Nelly Hernandez and paintings of Oleo de Vilma Segundo de Roberts were on display. And the evening closed with music from Jose Matias Guardado and Carlos Doñan. (See photos here).

CEUS helps out with legal workshop (May 7) Seven CEUS members – Paula Vasquez, Atilio Rodriguez, Christina Rodríguez, Ana Salgado, Gerardo Aguedo, Jose L. Perez and Maria C. Luna - took part in an informative workshop on legal issues organized by the Hudson County Court system. More than 150 people attended the event, at which CEUS President Blanca Molina gave a presentation on immigration issues and the programs CEUS offers the immigrant community.

Celebration of International Women's Day (Mar. 16): CEUS women's group, Entre Nosotras, and the Pena Cultural committee presented a night of food and culture. Performers included Karla Corea and the dueling Spanish guitars of Jorge Chiquillo y Luis Novoa. Male members of CEUS cooked and served dinner. (See photos here).

Pena Cultural (Jan. 8): Adriana Hernandez performed in an busy night of Hispanic culture, which included poet Karla Corea, music from guitarist/singer Jose Matias Guardado and tap dance from Carlos Donan. (See photos here).

Laptop Winner Picked (Dec. 15): Volunteer Julia Ester Rodriguez of Cliffside Park was the lucky winner of the annual Xmas raffle. Julia Ester, who helped decorate the CEUS office for the Xmas party, took home a Dell Laptop and a printer. (See photo here).

CEUS Xmas Party (Dec. 15): The CEUS annual Christmas bash drew more than 100 people for an evening of food, dancing and merriment. CEUS honored teachers and saluted those students who completed the semester by giving them a certificates. Guitarist Jose Matias Guardado entertained the crowd before leaving the floor to the dancers (See photos here).

Reading by Salvadoran poet Otoniel Guevara (Nov. 10): About 30 people heard Salvadoran poet Otoniel Guevara speak of his life and work in an event at the CEUS office. The reading was part of the "Peña Cultural" series organized by the Memoria Colectiva. Guevara read from some of his seven books of poetry and answered questions from the audience. (See photos here and a poem video).

Walk to support Peruvian earthquake victims (Oct. 21): CEUS and other community and church organizations walked down Bergenline to raise consciousness of the plight of those affected by the disaster in Peru.  Union City Mayor Brian Stack and West New York Mayor Sal Vega led the walkers, who collected donations for the victims from shoppers (See photo here).

Safety program graduates honored (Oct. 20):  The head of the regional division of the federal Occupation Safety and Health Administration attended a party at the CEUS office to celebrate the graduation of 20 community members from the safety course. CEUS also honored participants in the CEUS fall leadership training course. (See  photo here)

Poetry night at CEUS (Oct. 19):Reina Valenzuela presented an evening of poetry from El Salvador and other Latin countries in which the works were read by audience participants. (See photos here)

CEUS Clases Begin (Oct. 7): More than 50 students registered in the first two weekends of the fall education program, taking classes in English  As A Second Language and Spanish literacy.  There are still spaces available and interested students can still register. (See schedule below and photo here)

CEUS members gain citizenship (Sept. 26): Two long time CEUS members, and graduates of the group English classes, have become citizens. Saul Mendez became a citizen this month after taking the test with English skills learned over many years attending CEUS clases. Filomena Chicas, who attended both English and Spanish literacy classes at CEUS, also passed the citizenship test recently. They are both fine examples to the community of what can be achieved through dedication and persistence. (photo here)

Two legal victories (Sept. 28): CEUS has recently won two difficult cases for immigrants who had unsuccessfully sought legal status for more than a decade. One involved a Salvadoran and the other a Guatemalan. Both men came to CEUS after their legal efforts failed elsewhere and CEUS secured their residency through the NACARA program. (photos here)

Safety Training Course: (Sept. 23) Twenty community members attended a full day of training at the CEUS office presented by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The training covered topics including how to handle chemicals, fire safety and how to avoid dangerous situations at work. (photos here)

Registration for TPS: CEUS is assisting immigrants in the TPS program to file their re-application papers. We invite all Salvadorans, Hondurans and Nicaraguans in the program to apply with us. CEUS will be filling applications Mondays and Fridays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., through October (see photo).

Leadership training:  On Sunday August 26 CEUS started the first part of the leadership training program led by Diana Mejia of American Friends Service Committee. There will be seven more session. Anyone interested should call Blanca Molina at (201) 617-2466. The sessions are free and everyone is welcome. (Photos here)

Classes: The CEUS English as a Second Language and Spanish literacy programs will begin on Sunday September 30. The cost is $50 for the ten week semester. All of the classes will take place on Sundays in the CEUS center. For more information call: (201) 617-2466.

The Spanish class will take place at 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays.

Schedule for the English classes:

Level 1 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
  4 p.m. - 1 p.m.
Level 2 4 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Level  3 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Conversation Class (Level 2 y 3 students) 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.