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Safe in America: LGBTQI+ Asylum Seeker Shot in Chicago Gun Violence

Jaime* is a young woman who identifies as a lesbian. She fled her African country desperate to escape the criminalization and the violence she was experiencing, almost daily, at the hands of known community and police authorities. There was nowhere to receive government help or justice, because she, the victim, by virtue of her sexuality is seen as an abomination, a demon and a criminal. She could not get a visa to America or other safe country, and so she managed, with the help of a sympathetic friend, to fly to a South American country.

As a lesbian, without resources, community or language, Jaime was not safe there either, and so courageously embarked upon an extraordinary journey that took many months, through several countries, before she miraculously made it to the U.S. Southern Border, where she declared herself to U.S. Customs and Border officials.

Jaime was held in detention for a few months until organizations came to her aid. She was released and sent by immigration authorities to Chicago, where she is now housed. AHRC and other organizations had provided services to get to this point. We were able last week to help her find an attorney willing to consider her asylum case, pro bono. We still await that outcome.

And so Jaime was given the best we all had to offer in very difficult and limiting circumstances.

Then this happened -

Jaime stepped out to an appointment. She was walking down the street when a passing car, started shooting at a person on the sidewalk who was running in Jaime's direction. Jaime got shot. By a bullet in the leg/foot joint.

When she called me, from the ambulance, screaming "I've been shot, I've been shot." I cannot even describe what went through my head in that moment…

She was stabilized in the ambulance with a leg wound and in deep shock. Jaime was taken to a Chicago trauma center where she received excellent treatment and is not back at her shelter. Still alone, without family, and deeply traumatized.

I am now hoping that we the community can show Jaime a new life. One of comfort and safety. That we can help her heal - much more than her leg wounds. Her heart, her trauma, her fear, her pain. It is way more than physical. Her place of refuge SHOT her!

She has NO-ONE! No country yet to call home (asylum will take years).

It will be another 8 months before she is allowed a work permit and her accommodations will expire. And now she can barely move and will need care.

All funds to this CAMPAIGN link will go directly to her, after the required fundraise fees.

Please help us turn this around for Jaime.

SPECIAL FUND SET UP HERE: With many thanks,

Melanie MELANIE NATHAN Executive Director African Human Rights Coalition *Name changed for safety and privacy.


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