Theresa Markila

Theresa Markila

NCJW has been an advocate for immigrant rights since its founding. NCJW volunteers worked on Ellis Island to welcome and offer guidance to new arrivals to our country from the early 1900s until the facility closed in 1954. In that tradition, we welcomed Theresa Markila, an activist and organizer, and the volunteer coordinator at the Morristown-based Wind of the Spirit Immigrant Resource Center, as the special guest speaker for our October Open Board Meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 10, at 7 p.m.

The meeting was held at a private home in Dover. The meeting was free and open to all members. We were also voting on a new dues structure.

Wind of the Spirit is a faith-based organization for all immigrants and non-immigrants who are moved by the tradition of hospitality. Says Theresa, “We strive to create an environment free of discrimination. At our core, we are motivated to act by the challenges that immigrants in the United States continue to face. Wind of the Spirit works with immigrant communities to ensure their access to information that will strengthen their leadership abilities and will also allow them to realize their power as social and political actors.”

The organization’s mission encompasses the following:

  • Organize and train the community for social change.

  • Help immigrants and non-immigrants so that they can meet and enrich each other.

  • Educate members of the immigrant community about their rights and responsibilities.

  • Promote activities to celebrate the cultural diversity of the community in New Jersey.

  • Advocate for human rights and the dignity of all people, regardless of their immigration status.

  • Establish a deeper understanding of global conditions that relate to immigration.

  • Work together in solidarity for a world of justice and peace.

Theresa Markila, an immigrant herself (from Canada), knows the intersections of multiple issues and champions holistic, long-term organization and vision. She speaks to college, church, community, and other groups to raise awareness and support on immigration and other issues.