Sapphire walks into our office yesterday seeking asylum. Through an interpreter, Sapphire shares with us that she is deaf and she is a lesbian and is fleeing persecution from her home country, Jamaica. Sapphire has been targeted because of her disability and sexual orientation. Over the past few years, Sapphire has been raped and battered; and her partner was murdered on a public street, as Sapphire desperately ran to safety.
Regarding the sparkling, tropical blue island of Jamaica, Human Rights Watch published an 86-page study last month in which it reported that: “LGBT Jamaicans are vulnerable to both physical and sexual violence and many live in constant fear …They are taunted, threatened, fired from their jobs, thrown out of their homes, or worse: beaten, stoned, raped, or killed.”
Sapphire is one of the many faces of an asylum seeker-of someone who turns to America-our beloved country- for safety.
We have just met Sapphire; and there will be more meetings. We will gather affidavits to support her claim; prepare a country conditions report; and medical professionals will examine Sapphire. We will file an asylum application, as we are Sapphire’s way toward a safer world.
If you are reflecting upon charitable giving before the end of this calendar year, kindly consider a gift to the New York Center for Law and Justice. Or join us next month when we celebrate the precious human rights that we enjoy here in America. The celebration takes place at Danese/Corey Gallery, in Chelsea, just beneath the High Line, on Tuesday, December 2nd. See you then.
All the best,