June is National Immigrant Heritage Month, a time to honor and celebrate immigrants and their families. Many Berkshire immigrants are part of those that are on the front-lines working hard during this pandemic. Many foreign-born doctors, medical techs, nurses, etc. are taking care of people at hospitals, like Berkshire Medical Center and Fairview Hospital, and also nursing homes. And let's not forget the thousands who are essential workers at our grocery stores, restaurants and farms.

According to a Press Release From the Berkshire Immigrant Center:

HONORING BERKSHIRE IMMIGRANTS: Berkshire Immigrant Center Celebrates National Immigrant Heritage Month in June

PITTSFIELD, MA—On June 1, the Berkshire Immigrant Center (BIC) invites the community to honor the more than 10,000 immigrants in the Berkshires as we join an annual observance of national Immigrant Heritage Month and launch a $10,000 fundraising campaign for the Center.

“During Immigrant Heritage Month we proudly honor the many ways immigrants make the Berkshires a better place,” says BIC Executive Director Michelle Lopez.

Since March 20, BIC has raised more than $70,000 for a COVID-19 Relief Fund. Through this fund BIC has helped more than 140 of our most vulnerable clients and their families pay for basic needs like rent and utilities.

“We know that so many local people are hurting, both our clients and our supporters,” Lopez says, “yet even during this crisis people are asking us how they can help.” While 100 percent of emergency relief has been passed through to clients, donations to the Immigrant Heritage Month Campaign help ensure that BIC can serve the local immigrant community in crisis and beyond, including helping immigrants become US citizens. In this year of the US Census count, BIC has also worked diligently to make sure that immigrants are counted and that Berkshire communities thus receive every dollar of federal aid that they should get.

Tax-deductible donations of any amount are welcome online at berkshireic.org. Contributions can also be made by check made out to Berkshire Immigrant Center and mailed to BIC, 67 East Street, Pittsfield MA 01201.

The Center remains the only program in Berkshire County that focuses exclusively on meeting the unique challenges of a continuously growing immigrant and refugee population. In 2018 BIC was named “Best Small Nonprofit” in the state by Massachusetts Nonprofit Network.

Last year BIC served more than 700 clients in our offices, and hundreds more through workshops. We assist clients from more than 70 different countries to navigate the complex US immigration system, including help to reunite families, obtain work authorizations, visas, Green Cards, Temporary Protected Status, and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). We also offer free Citizenship Exam preparation classes, emergency financial assistance, interpretation and translation services, and monthly clinics with an attorney on non-immigration issues. Our goal is to ensure that everyone in the Berkshires feels welcome and able to thrive regardless of their country of birth.

To learn more please visit www.berkshireic.org, like & follow us on Facebook, or contact us any time at info@berkshireic.org. BIC is supported by generous donations from individuals and businesses, with additional support from foundations and organizations including the Barr Foundation, Williamstown Community Chest, First Congregational Church of Williamstown, Grace Church of Great Barrington, and the Jewish Women’s Foundation of the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires.

Every June, Immigrant Heritage Month provides people across the United States an opportunity to explore their own heritage, and #CelebrateImmigrants and the diversity that forms the unique American experience. For more on national Immigrant Heritage Month, visit http://welcome.us/.