Hector Project

The Hector Project

"A Voice in the Silence" is a documentary finalist in the Adobe Youth Voices 2014 competition. CLICK HERE to vote for the documentary and watch others- voting ends June 2014
The members of the deaf community in Southern California share an experience of great hardship and tremendous resilience. They all tell their own version of escaping a hard life in their home country and forging ahead in a new society that, although unfamiliar, acknowledges their humanity. From Mexico to the Philippines these individuals have experienced severe isolation, discrimination, physical and sexual assault. They have been denied access to formal education and in many instances access to sign language because their deafness was seen as sickness, as punishment, as hopeless. This stripped these individuals of any sense of humanity and social efficacy.

The individuals of our deaf immigrant community that are with us today have escaped the damaging environments they were born into. Today they are improving their lives and themselves while coping with the scars of the past which manifest as PTSD, low education, language deficits and more. As more and more members of the community finally have the means to correct their legal immigration status they face new challenges that come with it.
Although members of the community now have access to all the support programs offered to those in need, they find themselves lacking the experience, the knowledge, and a sense that they have rights and are worth helping. This mental barrier prevents many of these deserving individuals from getting the help they need to become full-fledged participants in our society and this is the barrier we have been working to shatter through the work that we do with the Hector Project.

The Hector Project focuses on providing services to members of the deaf immigrant community and their family members. This deaf immigrant community includes those in undocumented, asylum or refugee status. The Hector Project’s goal is to guide members of the deaf immigrant community through the process of becoming a participant in their local communities and fostering the sense of self-worth and self-confidence that leads to social efficacy. Specifically, The Hector Project aids community members in staying current with their Employment Authorization filings, finding jobs, and connecting to other programs that provide need-based services. The Hector Project also aims to raise awareness of this ‘invisible population’ of deaf immigrants who, being both deaf and undocumented, are historically voiceless and exploited living among us in but unknown to the general populace.
  • The Riverside Police Department visited to answer questions and concerns (2013)

  • Event speakers were translated into American Sign Language and Mexican Sign Language to suit the needs of all attendees

  • The Riverside Model Deaf Community Committee recognized key figures in the deaf community

  • Sponsors donated food and goods as free raffle prizes for attendees

  • Hadley was issued an award of recognition from the MDCC, Assemblyman Jose Medina and Congressman Mark Takano

  • Friends and family of attendees were invited to volunteer at the LEAD event

  • Event photos were free to all attendees

In 2012, The Immigration Law Offices of Hadley Bajramovic (ILOHB) partnered with California Baptist University's Center for Deaf Studies to host the first annual “L.E.A.D. Event” – a day dedicated to improving the quality of life for those in the underserved deaf immigrant community. L.E.A.D. stands for "Leaders in Efficacy and Advocacy for the Deaf".

The L.E.A.D. event was designed as a response to the overwhelming needs uncovered while representing many of these deaf individuals in immigration cases before the federal court. The purpose of the event is in two fold; to ensure that everyone has a better understanding of their immigration process, and to connect the Community to deaf friendly services and community partners. Over 200 members of the deaf immigrant community attended in 2012 and 2013.
This year even more deaf immigrants have earned legal immigration status and face the challenges and opportunities that come along with it. ILOHB and the Hector Project aim to step up to meet the needs of the community we serve.

We invite you to participate, either through donation, volunteerism or resource connections. Contact Cinthia@immigrationhadley.com for further information about how you can get involved.