This year has presented a significant opportunity for the immigrant rights movement. The national conversation on Comprehesive Immigration Reform shed a spotlight on immigrant rights and the momentum of the movement has grown stronger.
To respond to the opportunity and to continue our commitment, Social Justice Fund NW added two Giving Projects into this year; the winter Immigration Reform Giving Project and the summer Immigration Reform Giving project. The second and most recent Immigration Reform Giving Project came to a close last week. After only three short months, the Immigration Reform Giving Project (summer) raised $42,848 to support these amazing organizations:
Colectiva Legal del Pueblo (Burien, WA) – Our mission is to build the power of Latino and working class communities to achieve dignity and justice through advocacy, education, and legal services. We believe that justice should not be determined by wealth, citizenship, language or age. We are committed to (1) Representing low-income, people of color and disadvantaged individuals and communities who otherwise would not have legal representation. (2) Having a concrete impact that moves us towards eliminating structural inequality. (3) Bringing a multi-disciplinary approach to causes and matters even when it is difficult to do so. (4) Pursuing community empowerment by collaborating with community organizations and individuals to design strategies to address the issues they identify as most important to them. (5) Being a non-hierarchical collective organization that internally practices what we’re struggling for while being respectful of every person’s contribution. This grant will fund Comunidades en Resistencia (Communities in Resistance), focusing on building deportation defense strategies within the community, by organizing, educating and empowering the undocumented communities.
Community to Community Development (Bellingham, WA) – C2C is a place based, women-led grassroots organization working for a just society and healthy communities. We are committed to systemic change and to creating strategic alliances that strengthen local and global movements towards social, economic and environmental justice. This grant will fund organizing at the intersection of farmworker justice and immigration reform, developing leadership in the farmworker community, monitoring and analyzing current events, educating the solidarity community, creating a report on how the guestworker program plays out in our local region, preparing the farmworker leadership for the coming season, and working on state legislation addressing farmworker issues – which will be determined by the grassroots leaders and the ongoing campaign at Sakuma Berry Farms.
Montana Immigrant Justice Alliance (MIJA) (Bozeman, MT) – MIJA is a statewide non-profit organization working for immigrants rights. Montana has a rich history of immigration, but in recent years the contributions that immigrants have made to our State have sometimes been overshadowed by negative stereotypes and false myths. MIJA works to educate the public about our migrant communities, and provide services to empower these communities. This grant will support MIJA's work to empower the immigrant community through leadership development and education; to fight against the criminalization and systemic discrimination of immigrants; and to provide statewide leadership through coalition building on immigration issues.
Voz Workers' Rights Education Project and Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice (IMIrJ) (Portland, OR) – Voz is a worker-led organization that empowers immigrants and day laborers to gain control over their working conditions through leadership development, education and community organizing. Voz operates the MLK Jr. Worker Center in Portland, which connects hundreds of workers a week with local employers and jobs. IMIrJ is an interfaith coalition of individuals, faith leaders and congregations responding actively and publicly to the struggles of our immigrant brothers and sisters residing in the United States. IMIrJ is committed to working for a just and humane immigration reform, and the transformation of the social and economic systems that perpetuate the poverty and in immigrants’ home countries that drives much of the migration to the U.S. This grant will support a collaboration between the two organizations to build leadership and power in the immigrant community, by activating faith leaders (clergy and non-clergy) in Latino and non-Latino based congregations, with the overall goal of strengthening the immigrant/day labor rights voice to pressure decision-makers to make just immigration policies.
Earlier this year, the winter Immigration Reform Giving Project funded:
The Center for Intercultural Organizing (CIO) was originally established to combat widespread anti-Muslim sentiment after 9/11. Over the past decade, CIO has engaged thousands of individuals from diverse cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. CIO's role in the immigrant and refugee rights movement has been and always will be to bring a multi-ethnic perspective to the issues they undertake. As Comprehensive Immigration Reform policy is developed, CIO will engage the community using the following criteria: Is the policy truly comprehensive? Does the policy address refugees, unaccompanied minors and LGBT community members? Does the policy protect people's fundamental human rights and dignity?
Causa's mission is to foster a society that recognizes the contributions of immigrants and upholds the values of democracy, equality, and respect. Causa's goal for their Comprehensive Immigration Reform work is to build community power in isolated rural parts of the state to support advocacy efforts in Oregon US Congressional District 2 from My to August of 2013 while also continuing their core work of developing leaders within the community.
Idaho Community Action Network (ICAN) is a group of over 2,000 members state-wide with a purpose to educate and advocate on issues of social, racial, and economic justice and to eliminate poverty in Idaho. Their members speak with a unified voice on issues that directly impact their lives. Their goals towards Comprehensive Immigration Reform is to continue engaging the local community in the national campaign for immigrant rights, building a base of non-traditional allies, and strategically moving their congressional delegation.
The organizations that received funding from the Immigration Reform Giving Projects represent a variety of issues and strategies. While some are mobilizing for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, some are focusing on farmworker's rights, wage theft, and fighting against unjust deportation issues. The common thread is organizing for immigrant rights and stong immigrant communities. We're incredibly proud to have funded many organizations in the Northwest that have played a key role in the movement!