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Immigrant women get empowered, create change

Thirty years ago, the Sisters of Mercy and the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word created our ministry, called ARISE (A Resource in Serving Equality). Located in the South Texas Rio Grande Valley colonias of Hidalgo County, we seek to promote the development and empowerment of the immigrant community, especially women, children and youth, through educational programs that strengthen their organized community and civic participation. ARISE is a place where the Gospel is lived daily and where Catholic social teaching is witnessed.  The woman who is welcomed at our doors is asked what change she wants to see in her community. Through the personal encounter of home visits, we create relationships with women leaders who organize for change. Women leaders raise awareness and champion concerns such as safety, lighting, voting rights, citizenship pathways, infrastructure and drainage, and education for themselves and their children.  Along with empowering women, we invest in engaging, empowering, and organizing youth. Our youth have played a key role in drawing attention to the issue of environmental racism, resulting in city officials agreeing to update a faulty waste water treatment plant. ARISE women believe, with spirit and compassion: “if there is a need, there is a way.” Adelante, ARISE!