Elizabethton pastor joining panel for Saturday DACA event

Published 4:32 pm Thursday, February 22, 2018

With only a few days to go for Congress to make a decision about “dreamers” in the country, a handful of community leaders are banding together to provide details about immigration policies and share the stories of local immigrants.

Sponsored by Indivisible Tri-Cities and the Carter County Democratic Women’s Club, the “DACA: Dreaming Together” is geared to help the public learn more about the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals program, dreams and what immigration means to the community. The event is scheduled to last from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Johnson City Public Library.

Four panelists are on the docket for the event: Dr. Felipe Fiuza with ETSU, student Jessica Miranda, Ricardo Tapia, Solange McDaniel and Father Tim Holder from St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Elizabethton. Wayne Winkler of WETS will serve as the moderator for the event.

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Holder has had a first-hand experience when working with the Hispanic community across the country. During his 20-year tenure in ministry, Holder served as a pastor in Alabama, New York and New Jersey working with the Linto before returning to Northeast Tennessee in the fall of 2015.

“I’m a 10th generation resident,” Holder said with a laugh. “But for so many Latino members of the community, they’re only first or second generation. There’s such an amazing community in our region and this event gives us a way to hear from some of our ‘dreamers’ and how they’ve made a life for themselves in this country.”

Holder added St. Thomas and other local churches, including Hopwood Memorial, partner to offer assistance to the Hispanic community, ranging from language assistance, referral services and items to help acclimate them into the community.

“We should be welcoming to our immigrants, they are the backbone of our country,” he said. “I would encourage anybody that wants to learn more to come out and attend the panel to hear some incredible stories.”

Holder added that anyone looking to get involved with the event or utilize resources offered by the church can call the facility at (423) 543-3081.