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June 15, 2010 > 'Support, Don't Deport'

'Support, Don't Deport'

Submitted By Centerville Presbyterian Church

The last community event highlighting the family crisis facing Tatiana Miroshnik and Eugene Kotelnikov, her 16-year old son, and young American-born daughters, Tatiana and Nastasia, was a Candlelight Vigil at Washington High School in Fremont earlier this month, Wednesday, June 2. Despite being a school night, almost 200 students gathered to show support.

"At the candlelight vigil, I noticed everyone help each other re-light their candles when the wind extinguished them. This illustrates how we must help each other to keep this cause alive and burning brightly," said Rev. Bruce Green of Centerville Presbyterian Church, Fremont. "The clock is ticking and we need to maintain the momentum even through these last days of the school year when there is so much going on."

Tatiana and Eugene are counting the days until June 18, when they must leave the United States, as ordered by ICE. It will be the day after graduation ceremonies at Washington High School when Eugene completes his sophomore year. Despite finals and graduation, as many as 50 students rallied noisily over the last two weekends on the corner of Fremont Boulevard and Mowry Avenue, urging drivers to sound their horns in support. On Facebook, there was talk about a car-wash fundraiser but student energies are now devoted to selling $20-donation tickets for the "Support, Don't Deport" Benefit Concert on Wednesday, June 16, hosted by Centerville Presbyterian Church.

Several church members have fasted as a way to support the cause. Some elders have officially approached the office staff of Senators Feinstein and Boxer, without any response to date (visit the City Desk at to see an Open letter to Senator Feinstein). High School students have raised online petitions and conducted a letter-writing and email campaign to politicians. The Facebook group page, HELP STOP CRUEL DEPORTATION, has more than 1,700 members, primarily representing Eugene's peers. Reverend Green is sending timely updates through his new Twitter account,

With the guidance of church members, Tatiana retained an immigration lawyer specializing in last-minute interventions but is unable to meet the $15,000 fees, so the church is helping with a Benefit Concert.

"If 400 guests attend, we will cover more than half her legal expenses. I hope we have an overflow-crowd to send a clear message to our officials," states Green. "It seems our system is incapable of discerning good immigrants from bad ones. Instead they label immigrants as 'legal' or 'illegal' and force them into complex litigation and dependency on expensive lawyers."

Besides fundraising, the Benefit Concert aims to demonstrate that Tatiana and Eugene are good people, loved by their adopted community and just the kind of immigrants who have built the United States. Tatiana is good for our community and for America. Surely, it is America's turn to be good for her and her family?

"How does God bless America?" asks Rev. Green, "One way is to send us good immigrants like Tatiana and Eugene."

The "Support, Don't Deport" Benefit Concert will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 16 at Centerville Presbyterian Church, 4360 Central Avenue, Fremont. The suggested donation per ticket is $20. Advance tickets are available at the church office. Tickets will be available at the door. The concert will feature Tatiana's violin skills to the accompaniment of the church choir and special ensembles of other musicians. She will perform pieces ranging from classical works to Americana folk music.

In addition to the Benefit Concert, the church is receiving donations to help defray Tatiana and Eugene's legal costs. Checks can be made payable to "Centerville Presbyterian Church Deacons" with a memo or note attached that it is for Tatiana and Eugene. The church cannot receive such donations for tax exemption purposes but, to expedite online banking, it is now possible to route electronic transfers to the church deacon's fund account number 0663030703 through the Bank of America routing number 121000358.

For more information, visit Facebook group HELP STOP CRUEL DEPORTATION, receive Twitter updates from Rev. Green (, email enquires to or call Centerville Presbyterian Church on (510) 793-3575.

"Support, Don't Deport" Benefit Concert
Wednesday, June 16
7 p.m.
Centerville Presbyterian Church
4360 Central Avenue, Fremont
(510) 793-3575

Suggested donation per ticket is $20

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