Christmas of Hope and Freedom

The Christmas of Hope and Freedom campaign aims to send four children plus adult chaperones to visit their fathers, Manuel Zhanin and Manuel Arpi, who are being held in detention in Alabama. These Westchester residents have been detained for more than a year. They were inhumanely removed from their families. Their children have not seen them for months. Giving them the chance to visit their fathers would be better than any other gift they could receive - and we need you to make this happen.

SURJ Westchester has agreed to help support this effort and help raise $10,000 to make this 3 day trip possible. We are happy to now be joined in support by the Greenburgh Human Rights Committee, the Westchester Coalition for Police Reform and the First Unitarian Society of Westchester.

Please see the details below from an HVCC media release. 

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We are asking your support in bringing hope and freedom to two honest Westchester immigrant brothers who have been cruelly detained for over a year. Manuel Arpi and Manuel Zhinin, were ripped out of their homes and community, taken away by immigration agents and are now being detained in Alabama far from their families.

Since being taken to Alabama, their families and children have been unable to visit their fathers and in this holiday season we hope to count on your support and solidarity to help change that.

Every day the children of these immigrant brothers ask for their parents and at this time of the year the absence becomes more painful. They do not expect or want gifts - they want to see and hug their parents.

HVCC, together with the families of the detainees and allied organizations, is organizing a series of actions to:

• Denounce the transfer and imprisonment of immigrants away from their families.
• Help the children and family members of both men travel from New York to Alabama for a family visit from December 20 –December 22, 2018 and to ensure the trip is safeguarded.
• Request the men be told of their rights and treated with dignity as now they are currently detained in cold and difficult circumstances.
• Demand that both men be transferred back to New York as they are Westchester residents.
• Create the opportunity for Manuel Arpi and Manuel Zhinin to appear before a judge or be released so that they can defend their cases in freedom

Fundraising events are being planned and press events are to be announced shortly.

Meanwhile you can help by immediately contacting the following offices on behalf of Manuel Arpi and ManuelZhinin. (Please see next page for more information about their cases.)

- Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo - 518-474-8390

- NYS Office for New Americans hotline 800-566-7636 /

- US Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand – Albany 518-431-0120 / Washington 202-224-4451

- Westchester County Executive George Latimer – 914 995-2900

Manuel Arpi

Contact: Marcia Ordonez (914) 309-6682

Case Overview:

Manuel Zhinin

Contact: Maria Chiqui (914) 384-4794

Case Overview:


The Mayors of Peekskill and Sleepy Hollow have already expressed and given their full support for the trip.

PROPOSAL – Family Visit – New York – Alabama 12/20-12/22/18

(Approximately $10,000 must be raised for the trip)

Children of 2 families will travel

Companions: 5 adults

We hope to have someone with Alabama local authority and a member of the religious community to accompany us and support the visit.

There will be a press conference upon leaving and before entering the detention center

There will be a vigil in Westchester to support the children’s journey.

Etowah County Detention Center 827 Forrest Avenue, Gadsden, ALABAMA 35901

Visitor Information: 256-549-5410

Donations (0)

  • Mary Farley  
    • $50 
    • 12 mos
  • Karilee Shames 
    • $50 
    • 12 mos
  • Jenny & Kiran Batheja 
    • $50 
    • 12 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $500 
    • 12 mos
  • Claire Horikawa 
    • $50 
    • 13 mos
See all

Fundraising team: SURJ Westchester (2)

Elizabeth Castaldo 
Raised $2,549 from 23 donations
Peekskill, NY
Hudson Valley Community Coalition 
Registered nonprofit
Donations are 100% tax deductible.
Learn more
Mary Saliani 
Team member
Raised $275 from 6 donations
This team raised $2,891 from 51 other donations.
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