Community Groups

"One little person, giving all her time to peace, makes news. Many people, giving some of their time, can make history." -Peace Pilgrim

When OneAmerica member Rick Covington, a 24 year Navy Veteran, met Kevin Kong, a OneAmerica member from the Lao Community in Vancouver WA, they had no idea that their energy and passion for immigrant rights would start a chain reaction of organizing community groups throughout Washington State. They quickly realized that they shared the same unyielding passion for immigrant rights, fueled by the injustices they witnessed in their community and their belief in Justice for All, and decided that if they really wanted change, they would have to become active themselves. They immediately contacted a Hispanic family at their church who had been tragically torn apart by the Detention Center, and the three families came together to hold the first OneAmerica community group meeting in Vancouver, WA. That night they formed OneAmerica Metro, and became activists for the cause!

Now, OneAmerica has started OneAmerica Community Groups throughout Washington State and are organizing our communities around Comprehensive Immigration Reform and developing new leaders to advocate for changes and issues that affect their communities. Ordinary people are taking on leadership roles in community base groups in several Washington cities, including Tacoma, Mt. Vernon, Lynnwood, South Seattle, Tri-Cities, Yakima, and Vancouver. Other community groups are in the beginning stages in Eastern Oregon, Bellevue, and the East African Community. These groups can quickly be mobilized to respond to key priorities for immigrants, including immigrant integration, local issues, and Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

OneAmerica community leaders participate in roundtables, forums, and development trainings- focusing on public speaking, organizing and sharing their stories with legislators- and join other advocates in Olympia for Lobby Day. In December 2009 we had our first OneAmerica Leaders retreat, where over 35 leaders from different areas of the state and received training and skill building, and strategies for organizing their communities.

WHAT MAKES A ONEAMERICA COMMUNITY GROUP?

UNITY. PEOPLE COMING TOGETHER TO MAKE THEIR COLLECTIVE VOICE HEARD.
A community group is simply a group of proactive people that come together and form a voice advocating for immigrant rights. People form groups organically and work together in teams to make powerful changes that will affect their community and create a lasting structure to advocate for their needs, beliefs, and rights.

SKILL BUILDING AND GROWTH. TRAINING NEW LEADERS TO BE A VOICE FOR THE MOVEMENT.
OneAmerica works with community group leaders to train them in skills such as public speaking, telling their  own story, the political system, power mapping, and other skills to create change and hold meetings around Comprehensive Immigration Reform. We learn from each other and while organizers educate leaders to be voices for issues in their community, members learn from their own stories and  their collective voice.

COLLABORATION. WORKING COLABORATIVELY WITH ONEAMERICA ORGANIZING TEAM.
Community groups pair with the OneAmerica Organizing team to do activism and large scaled actions across the state in support of Comprehensive Immigration Reform. They hold meetings 1-2 times a month and work in unison to advocate for issues locally in their community and OneAmerica's goals to promote Immigrant rights and integration across the state.

DARING CREATIVITY. USING YOUR CREATIVITY TO CHANNEL NEW IDEAS AND INSPIRE CHANGE.
Leaders and groups are encouraged to use their creativity and think outside of the box! In order to win Immigration Reform this year and change mindsets for positive change,  it takes daring creativity, meaning many diverse people thinking in diverse ways to educate, act, and inspire others to join the cause.

EDUCATE. EDUCATING FOR CONSCIOUSNESS, CRITICAL THINKING, AND SOCIAL CHANGE.
Education is not only book smarts, it is seeing and understanding your own social situation in the world and that of others. Action and education are two steps to change, yet one cannot happen without the other. Community groups combine education with critical thinking and then engage in activism to create change. 

BE PART OF THE MOVEMENT FOR IMMIGRANT RIGHTS AND JUSTICE FOR ALL.

To Join a OneAmerica community group, start your own or find out more information about how to work collaboratively with one near you, please contact Maha Jahshan at maha@weareoneamerica.org or 206-452-8408.

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