Nuestra Comunidad: Immigrant legal aid helps domestic violence victims

“I come as One, I stand as Ten Thousand.” Famed poet Maya Angelou wrote those words many years ago, but they still ring true today, especially for a new organization in Atlanta known as ‘Mil Mujeres,’ which recently held a press conference for local Hispanic media.

The non-profit organization’s objective is to offer legal services to low-income immigrant Hispanics and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. The goal is to help immigrants who have undergone these circumstances and qualify to apply for the U Visa or Violence Against Women Act self-petition.

Mil Mujeres has several locations throughout the United States, with its Atlanta chapter taking first steps toward designation in 2014. Since then, a series of planning and effort has led to the organization’s recent introduction to the community.

“The best thing about working here is seeing how we help other people,” said Ángel Alonso, director of the Atlanta office of Mil Mujeres. “Our commitment, the organization’s commitment, is to work in favor of victims of violence and domestic violence. It doesn’t matter if you are undocumented or if you don’t have papers. We are here to help you.”

Mil Mujeres began in 2007 in Washington D.C., through the efforts of an immigration lawyer who saw the need to create an entity that could help victims of violence and domestic violence with the application process for a U Visa, among other humanitarian services.

Since then, almost 1,000 women have received assistance from this organization, thus the significance behind its name.

The Atlanta office, led by Alonso, may be small, but “we have a pretty large team in Washington that helps us to process the cases,” he explained.

“We also help men and the gay community. Our focus is to offer legal services to the low-income Hispanic community,” added Alonso.

For community leader Teodoro Maus, the initiative is an important effort that will require continued support in order to succeed.

“We must learn to work together. With the consulates, with those who work in the media and with other organizations. We must always be committed to supporting organizations like this one, which offer help to our people,” said Maus.

“If you are a victim of domestic violence and don’t have papers, you don’t need to be afraid to report your case,” said Alonso.

Information about Mil Mujeres: 404-902-6045