Planting Seeds of Justice and Harvesting Hope with the Berry Memorial UMC Matching Campaign

NIJFON has been blessed with a $25,000 gift from Berry Memorial UMC in Chicago.  This gift was given upon the sale of the historic home of Berry Memorial UMC. As Berry Memorial UMC seeks to plant the seeds of a new church home in Chicago, they also chose to plant seeds for justice through supporting the mission & vision of Northern Illinois JFON.   

We at NIJFON would like to challenge the 350+ UM congregations here in Northern Illinois JFON to support our shared work for God’s justice, through giving to NIJFON. We are setting a goal for all 350+ congregations to raise $25,000 to match the faithful donation that Berry Memorial UMC gave.  We are hoping & trusting that all together our UM congregations can support our vital mission to offer free, high quality immigration legal services to our immigrant, refugee and asylum seeking neighbors and selves.   

We understand that this has been a difficult year economically for many of our churches, and families, and invite each congregation to prayerfully give at the level they are able.   The work of JFON is more important than ever as there continues to be extreme challenges and difficulties in navigating the immigration process here in the United States.  Our JFON legal team has not stopped working for our mission, and our full JFON network continues to be engaged in education & advocacy during this critical time for the immigrants’ rights movement that Jesus is leading us to.   

Every dollar given to JFON is like a seed of justice that is planted.  We see those seeds of justice harvested when a family is reunited after so many years apart.  We see those seeds of justice flourish when an LGBTQIA asylum seeker is able to live their full life as their full self.   We see those seeds of justice blossom when a mother receiving a UVisa is able to move from the shadows of fear to shining her light brightly for herself & children.    

We know that the $25,000 given by Berry Memorial UMC are each seeds of justice that bloom in ways that we can see and take root in ways we cannot see as we continue our mission at NIJFON.  We invite you as a fellow Christian in the United Methodist tradition to help us plant even more seeds of justice as work for God’s ever coming kin-dom of liberation & justice.    

As a part of planting these seeds of justice, we will be offering liturgy & sermon helps for the 4 Sundays of Advent to celebrate the mission of JFON and encourage your congregation to give!  It will be published next week, and we invite you know to prayerfully consider which upcoming Sunday you can lift up the mission of JFON & continue to partner with us to plant seeds of justice and harvest hope in God’s movement for immigrants’ rights.

Are you ready for the challenge? Together we can raise $25,000 to match Berry Memorial’s $25,000.  Together we can continue to plant & harvest seeds of justice.

Please click here to see the video with the warm invitation from the Bishop to join in on this challenge!

In solidarity,

Claudia Marchan                                                  Harry Nicol,

Executive Director, NIJFON                                 Board Chair, NIJFON

Northern Illinois Justice for Our Neighbors (NIJFON) Seeking: Program Coordinator (Full-Time)

Program Coordinator Job Description July 2020

Time Requirement: Full time 40 hours per week, Immediate opening.

Job description: The Program Coordinator will work with the Executive Director and perform programmatic education and advocacy activities as well as outreach and community education workshops, referrals, accompaniment and reporting. The position is based in Chicago and will support outreach to the immigrant communities throughout Northern Illinois. Due to Covid-19 work is expected to be done virtually and taking the precautions to protect and provide safety above all.

Basic Requirements:

  • Fluent in English and Spanish.
  • Familiarity with Google Apps and Cloud-based storage and sharing.
  • Passionate about immigrants’ rights and the vision and mission of JFON
  • Job responsibilities:
    • Recruit, train and coordinate leadership who will conduct outreach, give immigrant education trainings, coordinate citizenship classes and connect immigrants to legal support services as well as related advocacy.
    • Coordinate all education efforts of the public: provide workshops and trainings in churches, schools, community colleges, community centers, libraries, place of work and other community spaces.
    • Make follow up calls to community members and respond to all communications related to the program.
    • Coordinate referral and accompaniment process
    • Communicate regularly with all leadership and volunteers; serve as point of contact.
    • Prepare all outreach and presentation materials for presentations
    • Maintain complete and accurate records of all calls, contacts, referrals, and all data for reporting purposes.
    • Manage all record keeping and reporting through salesforce software on a monthly basis and prepare all monthly reports.
    • Assist with volunteer recruitment for presentations and workshops throughout Northern IL. 
    • Link community members to key service providers: community-based organizations, faith networks, legal clinics, mental health providers and consulates. 


  • Respond to all phone or email contacts within 48 hours of receiving.
  • Confirm all scheduled trainings, and accompaniments with leadership.

Salary: Compensation based on experience, benefits package that includes health insurance. 

Location: 77 W. Washington St. Suite 1820, Chicago IL 60602 

Organization: Our vision is a world where immigrants, refugees, and other migrant populations are welcomed, supported and able to live without fear. We work toward our vision by fulfilling our mission to offer free, high quality immigration legal services; engage congregations and communities in education and advocacy; and build cross-cultural community. NIJFON serves immigrant communities throughout Northern IL, our office is located at 77 W. Washington St. in Chicago. 

Begun in 2011, based on the model of National Justice for Our Neighbors, Northern Illinois JFON has flourished since inception, and we are seeking a Program Coordinator to continue to provide the highest quality of service to our clients and to work on education and advocacy efforts while we increase our capacity to meet the growing need for our services. 

Application: Submit Cover Letter, Resume and 2 References to the Personnel Committee at


Neither from here, nor from there: The struggle continues

“During the week that marked eight years since President Barack Obama announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA),” writes Claudia Marchan, executive director for Northern Illinois Justice for Our Neighbors, and herself a DACA recipient, “the Supreme Court ruled against the Trump Administration to end DACA and allows DACA to stay!

“This is a huge win for the immigrant community, but it is not the end of the struggle,” she continues. reminding us that DACA is a temporary status. “As we reflect on this gratifying and surprising victory from the Supreme Court, I share with you the story of one DACA recipient; I share with you my story.”

They are ni de aquí ni de alláneither from here, nor from there.

During the week that marked eight years since President Barack Obama announced Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) – a program that allows undocumented immigrant youth to apply for deferred action from deportation and obtain a work permit in the U.S – the Supreme Court ruled against the Trump Administration to end DACA and allowed DACA to stay!

This is a huge win for the immigrant community, but it is not the end of the struggle.  As we reflect on this gratifying and surprising victory from the Supreme Court, I share with you the story of one DACA recipient; I share with you my story . . . 

Growing up, I rarely felt different. I was reunited with my mom at the age of four and met my family, which included a new baby sister and a dad. The promise of family was what my mom reminded me of as I struggled to leave my grandmother’s side that day in August. Although my mom called me frequently to remind me that she would return, it was hard to leave Mama Socorro. 

I didn’t feel different because my mom reminded me every single day why she had to make the decision to leave. She was in search of a better life for the two of us. You see, she had struggled her whole life to get her education, shelter, and food.  Her dad, my grandfather, who passed away at the age of 35 when my mom was 14, sent her off to go to school in another town at the age of 12. When my mom tells us this story, she says “he didn’t have a formal education, he rode a horse, and ‘stole’ your grandmother at the age of 16, but somehow he knew that my future was not there in the rancho.”

I tell you this because this is where I come from, this is part of my story. The story of the struggle, pain, anger, and resilience of my mother is also my story. My mother immigrated to the United States at a time where she found immigration relief for herself. Not knowing the language and being afraid of what may happen to me as we were miles apart and separated by a border, she, unfortunately, couldn’t find immigration relief for me.

Today, I am “DACAmented,” and leading an immigration legal services nonprofit. I spend each day thinking not only of my struggles and pain but also of how these struggles and pain are present in close to 700,000 other “DACAmented” peers across the country. I know the opportunities we have had and of the opportunities that have been denied for those who were left out of DACA. I worry about the mixed status families and undocumented families that are denied safety and have been left out of all emergency funding during a world crisis.  I think about all the immigrants in detention centers that have been separated from their families, denied asylum, and exposed to a deadly pandemic. 

And now, I get to celebrate the close to 700,000  students, mothers, fathers, teachers, nurses, engineers, attorneys, accountants, scientists, community leaders, and especially those risking their lives every single day in front line jobs who can sleep better knowing that DACA is safe. Many of these DACAmented immigrants have risked their lives in front line jobs every single day throughout this pandemic while worrying about losing DACA protections every single night.

Throughout this pandemic, close to 700,000 of us have had to continue facing a world crisis with the threat of losing our status in this country. This reality left has left us short of living the American Dream and, instead, stuck in a nightmare. Today, we can celebrate waking up from this nightmare and, again, can have the opportunity to share in the American Dream. 

Growing up, I rarely felt different. But I really am different. I have grown up in a country that continues to push me to the side, deny me of my rights, and seeks to send me back to my country of birth. The truth is that yes, I am different, and, frankly, I am “ni de aqui, ni de alla” – neither from here nor from there. I have lived in the United States for 33 of my 37 years of life. I went to kindergarten here, got my bachelor’s degree here, got my master’s degree here, got married here, had my children here, celebrated my mom’s 60th birthday here. This is where I fought the government for unjustly putting my dad in a detention center. I was born in Mexico and, since Mama Socorro passed away, the Mexico that I vaguely remember is not the same without her. 

 The Supreme Court decision today that blocks the Trump Administration from ending DACA is a huge win, but it is not the end of our struggle. DACA recipients and all undocumented immigrants need and deserve a pathway to citizenship. We need to embrace, welcome, and help immigrants live safely in the United States. As I saw the decision come in, my heart was beating fast, and tears of joy streamed down my face. For today we have won, but I invite you to demand and continue to work on comprehensive immigration reform for our immigrant communities and for a fair and just immigration system.

I invite you to join me in this fight.