By The Rev. Drew Williams
I have a good friend named Bruce. When he retired a few years back he promised his wife that he would attend to various landscaping and house repair projects. He told me it was quite a list and after a while he recognized the need for reinforcements. This came in the form of a team of immigrant workers under the supervision of Carlos Rivera, a hard-working young man, newly arrived in the U.S.
Bruce was impressed by a number of things about him. Carlos was a young man of great character and integrity who worked incredibly hard. It was also clear that life was challenging for Carlos and other immigrant workers who worked on Bruce’s house projects.
Bruce is not the kind of man to stand idly by when an issue needs to be addressed, and at a summer barbecue at his home he presented me with a leaflet for an initiative to help the immigrant population in the greater Stamford area. In 2011, Neighbors Link, now known as Building One Community: The Center for Immigrant Opportunity (“B1C”), opened its doors to become a welcoming point of entry for newcomers from all parts of the world. Immigrants who relied on a patchwork of services in a system that didn’t fully understand their needs — and those who went without any help at all — discovered a place that was created with them in mind. Since then, thousands of Stamford-area immigrants and non-immigrants have come together to build one stronger community.