APTOS—Hundreds of human services providers, elected officials and educators gathered at Cabrillo College Friday to attend the inaugural meeting of the Thriving Immigrants Collaborative (TIC), an initiative launched three years ago to help immigrants by focusing the efforts of industry professionals.
“We’re trying to coordinate the different resources in Santa Cruz County,” immigration attorney Ben Waller said.
Watsonville City Councilman Francisco Estrada called the meeting “long overdue.”
“Especially in Santa Cruz County, where we have a history of being an immigrant community, and a welcoming community for all,” he said.
Estrada said that the goal of the daylong session was to create strategies and develop common goals to better serve the immigrant community.
“So that everyone in Santa Cruz County has the opportunity to realize its full potential,” he said.
TIC is a project of the Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County, Inc.
Executive Director Maria Elena de la Garza said the meeting was a way to create a “pro-immigrant movement in Santa Cruz County, and in the region.”
“And I want to welcome you to that movement, by the fact that you are here in this chair today and no matter what system you represent, and no matter what grano de arena – what grain of sand – you hold, you are a piece of the puzzle,” she said.
“It doesn’t matter where you stand, you have a sphere of influence. You are a part of a system that I need you to know we need to do better with. Today is about being better and doing better for our immigrant families in Santa Cruz County.”