What Do 20 Years of Immigrant Power Look Like?

20 years feels like a long time. So much has happened since 2001: both extraordinary wins and tragic losses. 

On September 30th, we turned towards the good. We turned towards the successes. We turned toward our own community power. 

Missed the event? Never fear! You can watch the event on YouTube.

We celebrated our wins: the Washington DREAM Act to expand college access to undocumented students, $450 million in relief to undocumented families during the pandemic, pioneering dual-language learning and expanding early learning, keeping families together with the strongest sanctuary state policy in the nation, and groundbreaking victories in Yakima to protect the voting rights of immigrant communities. 

We envisioned a new world together, one where we’re all free.  

Encapsulating the moment, Hollis Wong-Wear performed a song called “Grace Lee” about the Chinese-American social justice leader.  

“Move past factories and fallacies 
Because if we grow our own 
we can hold our own, use our hands to 
build a world where we belong 
A revolution born within a song 
Grace Lee knew there was better ahead 
Grace Lee said to fling our vision open wide 
Change is inevitable 
We gotta reimagine everything”

-“Grace Lee,” a song by Hollis Wong-Wear 

Power isn’t given or owned. Power is built.

It is built, brick by brick, as we organize people in our community with a common self-interest. It is built when we step into leadership and take responsibility for driving our movement. It is built when we stand with our arms linked, demanding a reimagined future of freedom.  

Alex Roque, a youth leader, shared what working with OneAmerica has meant to her, a Filipino immigrant who felt firsthand the challenges of moving to a new country. 

“Working with OneAmerica helped me get free from the tunnel vision I faced. I feel powerful, I know I’m powerful. I feel that I have my own voice and influence, and I can focus on my future now, not just the day-to-day. The work that I do now is a homage to my family and everything that we went through.” 

Even with the challenges, the setbacks, and the disappointments, we are steadfast in our vision. 

Want to celebrate with us and help us reach our goal to raise $260,000?

Donate to fuel the movement into the next decade of immigrant power and collective change or bid on one of our items in our auction, open until 10/2 at 5pm. Delicious food, extravagant vacations, and craft brandy tastings, all to benefit immigrant justice.  

Just for a moment this weekend, consider your wins in our movement. Consider what you’ve achieved, what your community has achieved.  

Honor the changes you’ve put into the world. Honor the investments you’ve made in your own power. Most of all, honor yourself for the heart it has taken to stay in the movement. 

When you’ve done that, turn to our future and think about what we’ll be celebrating in another 20 years. A just immigration system and a pathway to citizenship for millions. Equitable education that values bilingualism and supports immigrant students. A democracy where all our voices are heard and we’re all represented. A future where we’re all free. 

A better world is possible. We can’t wait to see what we’ll achieve together and to continue celebrating our victories and 20th anniversary over the next year!

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