On Tuesday, January 24th, FaithWorks’ Directors Abbey Reed and Elijah Martinez spoke to the upper school student body of Menaul School about their respective programs. The students were engaged and interested in the work that FaithWorks does with both the unhoused community and the Immigrant community in Albuquerque.
The students and faculty asked insightful questions and participated by sharing their thoughts and pre-conceived notions about immigrants and people who are unhoused.
Elijah asked the audience to imagine walking from Albuquerque to Chicago to flee political and personal violence, only to be told that they must wait for months on the outskirts of Chicago until their numbers were called. He further asked them to imagine that when their number was called, that they were denied entrance into Chicago, sometimes without any reason being given. This imaginable example helped the students to understand the plight of some asylum seekers.
Abbey noted that one of the largest populations among our unhoused neighbors are those aged 18-25 years, who often have no familial safety net. They are often referred to as “the hidden homeless”. This resonated with the young folks in the audience who themselves are approaching that age group. Abbey made a specific ask of the students; to be kind to those they may encounter on our streets and to consider volunteering at a homeless shelter or foodbank.
FaithWorks is committed to changing the narrative around these two marginalized populations and both Directors challenged the students to question their ideas about who makes up the unhoused population in our City and who are the asylum seekers and refugees who have made Albuquerque their home. Educating our youth and asking them to think about these very complex social issues is important to the ongoing work that we do at FaithWorks and part of
our mission. Every opportunity we have to engage others in these important conversations helps us to further the goals of FaithWorks as a partner in our community.