BY JULIA MURPHY | August 14, 2018
On Tuesday, July 31, members of the Ignatian network in Cleveland, OH gathered at Market Garden Brewery in Ohio City for Solidarity on Tap. The program, sponsored by the Ignatian Solidarity Network, Jesuit Volunteer Corps, and Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest, is a simple gathering at a local pub for socializing and social justice, and takes place in cities around the country featuring different faith and justice-oriented speakers and topics each time.
Solidarity on Tap – Cleveland featured Kathryn (Katie) P. Russell, Esq—a graduate of John Carroll University, an alumna of the Casa de la Solidaridad program in San Salvador, El Salvador, and a former Jesuit Volunteer at YMCA International Services in Houston. Russell received her Juris Doctorate cum laude from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, and practices at Robert Brown, LLC, where she specializes in family-based immigration, employment-based immigration, removal defense, and citizenship. She has been honored with AVVO’s client choice award in 2015 and 2017.
Russell spoke about the difficulty of working with clients seeking legal status and citizenship in the context of the current harsh political climate concerning immigration. With the rise in deportations that has come with Trump’s “Zero-Tolerance Policy,” good news for Russell’s clients is hard to come by. Russell also spoke about the dire need for updates to be made to the immigration process itself, since much of its inefficiency and injustice is due to an outdated system.
Above all, Russell spoke about the importance of bringing humanity to the immigration conversation. In a moment of vulnerability, Russell shared her experience of being a new mother and thinking that she “would do anything” for her child. She related this to parents making the difficult decision to migrate to the United States—they would do anything to provide for their families. As a person of faith, compassion is the most important factor of immigration work for Russell. Answering a question about how she stays rooted when her work inevitably becomes sad or discouraging, Katie responded that this Catholic faith is what allows her to persevere.
Following the talk, folks lingered, discussed what could be improved in terms of our immigration system, and made new connections with other attendees in the Ignatian network.
Julia Murphy is a senior at Saint Louis University, where she is pursuing majors in English and Spanish and a minor in Urban Poverty Studies. She is passionate about working for justice, which stems from her upbringing as well as from her Jesuit education at SLU and with the Casa de la Mateada program in Córdoba, Argentina through Loyola Marymount University and the Universidad Católica de Córdoba, where she studied during the spring of 2017. She is from Cleveland, Ohio, where she is spent summer of 2018 as an intern with the Ignatian Solidarity Network.