For Planning Purposes: October 28, 2020
Contact: Heather Cabral | 202-550-6880 | firstname.lastname@example.org
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WASHINGTON – Earlier today, LA RED, Faith in Action’s campaign dedicated to immigrant justice, hosted an online briefing to share the research garnered from Our Stories, Our Futures:The Voices of Immigrant Communities, the organization’s first-ever listening campaign, focused on building community and identifying concerns and priorities for immigrant families in the LA RED network.
Click here to access the full report.
Over the summer, the listening campaign conducted 100 small group listening sessions in 13 states and the District of Columbia. Sixteen grassroots organizations spoke with 715 immigrant members with non-permanent immigration status, either undocumented, from mixed-status families, people with precarious status such as DACA, TPS, or visas, about their experiences as immigrants in the United States in the last three years and their hopes, dreams, and visions for the future.
“A participatory action research project with over 700 immigrant respondents across 13 states is unprecedented,” said Dr. Alexandra Piñeros Shields, executive director of the Faith in Action federation Essex County Community Organization (ECCO) and a Senior Lecturer at Brandeis University who led the analysis of the results and wrote the report. “The results provide a vivid picture of the inhumane impact of the Trump administration’s immigration policies against immigrants. I hope lawmakers heed the call of impacted communities and take bold and immediate action to realize this vision shared by immigrant people in the report.”
“For me the listening campaign meant opening the doors for more people to share their stories,” said Cirenio Cervantes, a community leader with Faith in Florida. “Normally, these stories stay in the shadows, but the listening campaign allowed us to bring people’s experiences to light and uplift their hopes and dreams. I hope this encourages others to share their own life experiences so that policymakers can hear us.”
Among the many ideas and experiences shared, three core themes stood out across the board:
- Participants felt an extreme sense of fear, damaging trauma, and pervasive racism. Participants consistently identified the agents of this fear to be Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the police, with some naming Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
- Participants longed for freedom and belonging in the United States – a world where all are free to travel, work, study, and plan ahead for their families with peace and free from fear.
- Participants expressed deep longing for a world in which their families were permanently together and safe. Protecting their families from forcible separation by the U.S. government law enforcement systems and laws was mentioned multiple times in every single listening session across the country.
“Our Listening Campaign is a project of sharing knowledge directly from persons directly impacted in order to pave the way for effective change, as opposed to making decisions based on what we think immigrant families want,” said Richard Morales, director of LA RED. “LA RED’s work has always been rooted in going to the heart of the matter, which is based in direct communication with impacted communities on how we build a world where all can thrive with dignity. Because of this campaign LA RED has demonstrated its ability to bring a broad base of individuals who have been disenfranchised at all levels of our democracy into the power-building act of knowledge creation.”
Created in 2015, LA RED is a program of Faith in Action focused on immigrant rights, indigenous rights, education, and advocacy. LA RED is committed to the protection and security of immigrant communities through various means of resistance, including deportation defense, sanctuary advocacy and fighting for the rights of all immigrants including undocumented workers and families, DREAMers, and TPS holders.
Faith in Action, formerly known as PICO National Network, is the largest grassroots, faith-based organizing network in the United States. The nonpartisan organization works with 1,000 religious congregations in more than 200 cities and towns through its 46 local and state federations. For more information, visit www.faithinaction.org.
Faith in Action is a 501c(3). Faith in Action and its affiliates are non-partisan and are not aligned explicitly or implicitly with any candidate or party. We do not endorse or support candidates for office.