Early on Thursday May 30th, eight OneAmerica Leaders from across Washington traveled to Pasadena, CA with three OneAmerica staff to participate in the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) Summit.
The FIRM Summit is a space for immigrant and refugee communities from across the US to continue building collective power to create an America where all of us can thrive.
Our leaders connected with other community activists and organizers to envision a long term community and together, they established a collective vision of the Roadmap to Freedom, a vision for a just future, while Lawrence Benito from Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights reminded them that “a dream without action is just a wish.”
OneAmerica leaders and staff attended workshops speaking about base building, national legislation to collaborate and lift up and how to work together to build power within our immigrant and refugee communities across the nation.
A large highlight of the trip was the opportunity to attend the first presidential candidate forum on immigration, Unity Freedom Forum, hosted by FIRM Action. Courageous community members stood up to tell their story and ask the candidates about their immigration policies. Candidates Gov. Jay Inslee, Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Julian Castro were present. Many candidates committed to immigration reform within the first 100 days of each presidencies and pledged to communicate with our community for advice.
OneAmerica leader, Jenni shared her story with Governor Jay Inslee and asked what he would do about immigrant and refugees who disproportionately experience climate change and have been pushed out of homes as a result. Gov. Inslee noticed her as an Inspirational Washingtonian and gave her a pin!
Our leaders and staff returned to Washington after 3 days, inspired by what they learned and who they met. Many of our leaders are ready to integrate what they have learned in their communities.
Reina learned that even though she is an immigrant she has rights! She understands that immigrants have the power to do many things, “a voice, and a vote, and uniting our community.” She stressed the importance of being informed, of learning, and to not give into the fear. She is excited to continue to gain more confidence as she pushes herself further in her leadership within her community.
Read more about FIRM and FIRM Action vision here.