News

Advocacy Groups Participate in Positive Legislative Hearing for Expanded Access for Immigrant Students While Calling For less Restrictions

Advocacy Groups Participate in Positive Legislative Hearing for Expanded Access for Immigrant Students While Calling For less Restrictions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 22, 2021

CONTACT INFORMATION
James C. Woo
404.585.8446 x 104
jwoo@advancingjustice-atlanta.org

Atlanta, GA — On Friday, February 19th, Advancing Justice-Atlanta testified acknowledging the progress made towards tuition equity with the hearing of bipartisan supported House Bill 120, Georgia Resident In-State Tuition Act (HB 120). We appreciate Representative Kasey Carpenter’s efforts in bringing HB 120 before the House Higher Education Committee. The committee hearing included its share of distractions which Chairman Chuck Martin handled with care while reminding everyone of the purpose of today’s hearing and providing an opportunity for everyone to provide testimony. Though the bill still leaves out thousands of Georgians, Friday’s committee meeting shows that there is a shared goal towards providing equity for immigrant students.

During Friday’s hearing, a diverse group of supporters discussed and provided feedback on HB 120. There was nearly universal support for extending in-state tuition to DACA recipients among all those who testified. Testimony included impacted community members who bravely shared their stories.

As reflected in its initial version, HB 120 provides conditions for noncitizen students to receive in-state tuition in Georgia at non-research universities in the University System of Georgia. During Friday’s hearing, a substitute bill was shared that added further restrictions to the bill. Despite its intention to create equitable access, the new language makes DACA recipients and other deferred action recipients the only noncitizens eligible for in-state tuition. This excludes the vast majority of noncitizens in Georgia, including Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs), asylees, immigrants with TPS (Temporary Protected Status), and immigrants issued U-visas and T-visas, among others.

Further, the bill does not allow noncitizen students to apply for in-state tuition if they attend Georgia State University or Augusta University or if they are over the age of 30 at the time of application for admission. These are arbitrary and unnecessary restrictions that further prevent Georgia’’s noncitizen students from obtaining equitable access to higher education.

As members of the Georgia Immigrant Rights Alliance, the only immigrant-led statewide policy table in Georgia, we support expanding access to in-state tuition but are committed to pushing for wider and more inclusive expansion.  HB 120 is a step in the right direction, but it falls short for countless students and their families who need better access to higher education.

Sincerely,

Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta

Asian American Advocacy Fund

Athens Immigrant Rights Coalition

Council on American-Islamic Relations Georgia

Coalition of Lideres Latinos

Georgia Association of Latina Elected Officials

Georgia Shift

Laotian American Society

Latino Community Fund Georgia

Poder Latinx

Sur Legal Collaborative

U-Lead Athens

Women Watch Afrika

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Georgia Redistricting Alliance Calls for Transparency in Redistricting Process

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:

Adam Sweat, asweat@progeorgia.org

Karuna Ramachandran, kramachandran@advancingjustice-atlanta.org

Georgia Redistricting Alliance Calls for Transparency in Redistricting Process

Friday, February 5, 2021 (ATLANTA, GA)- Amidst a barrage of anti-voting bills dropped in both chambers of Georgia’s legislature, Georgia’s Senate and House have both introduced resolutions that propose an amendment to the state constitution to provide that legislative and congressional redistricting would be conducted by a nonpartisan, independent redistricting commission instead of Georgia’s general assembly. Senate Resolution 20 and House Resolution 55 (also cited as the Democracy Act) call for the creation of a “Citizens Redistricting Commission” that would be responsible for redistricting in Georgia. The resolutions also call for the creation of an online portal through which the public can access map proposals and submit their own maps for consideration as well.

“For years, we have advocated for redistricting to be conducted before the public eye. We have had to remain ever vigilant against voter suppression and we know that gerrymandering [the process of manipulating district lines to ensure a candidate’s success] is a very powerful form of voter suppression. When redistricting is conducted behind closed doors, we know we have a battle before us to protect and defend our communities,” says Helen Butler, Executive Director of The Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda.

In Georgia, redistricting is decided upon by the general assembly, which usually means that legislators in office get to use their power to ensure they will get re-elected, regardless of what voters want. Advocates with the Georgia Redistricting Alliance (GRA) – a coalition of organizations working towards fair, equitable, and transparent redistricting with a racial equity lens – have pushed for greater transparency with this process, which largely takes place behind closed doors.

According to Jerry Gonzalez, Executive Director of GALEO, “Having an independent, citizens redistricting commission in Georgia is one step towards equitable and transparent redistricting however the commission alone is not enough. Fair redistricting includes the voices of those disproportionately affected by racial and partisan gerrymandering of the past. And in order to have a voice, these communities need the education about and access to the process.”
Language access continues to be a concern for redistricting and voting rights advocates. “We can no longer conduct such critical processes in English-only. By doing so we exclude thousands of Georgians who deserve to have their voices heard,” shares Stephanie Cho, Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta.

Gigi Pedraza, Executive Director of LCF-Georgia shares, “We commend resolution sponsors for making strides to reform Georgia’s redistricting process. Much work lies ahead to have meaningful and transformative changes that will ensure our communities are truly represented. The GRA is committed to strengthening our relationships with community members across the state so that together we can make this change a reality.”

To learn more about the Georgia Redistricting Alliance (GRA) and our member organizations, please visit
garedistrictingalliance.org .

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My Experience with a Virtual Internship

My Experience with a Virtual Internship

By Giselle Simental

My name is Giselle Simental. At this point, I have become a former GALEO intern.

2020 was a very challenging year for everyone but I feel that it was harder on students. Many had internships lined up and ready to go but had to be dismissed because of COVID-19. Everything went virtual and with that so did internships.

My internship with GALEO was virtual. It was very different process and involvement than my previous internships. The work I was doing was mostly behind the scenes. Nonetheless, my internship with GALEO was such an experience. From late nights working on graphics, to helping get the word out to vote, to even phone banking. This experience was one for the books. I had an amazing team. They all wanted nothing but the best for the organization and I believe that’s what allowed this whole virtual experience to be successful. We all had one goal in common and that was to spread accurate information and increase civic engagement in the Latinx Community during the general election and the senate runoff election in Georgia.

If you are having any doubts in applying to this internship, do yourself a favor and apply! It’s such a great opportunity to help your community become stronger. You will be the one making a difference. You might feel like you are not but trust me, GALEO will allow you to take on so much knowledge. Knowledge that you will use on a day-to-day basis. You will spread information that will help those that are not familiar with the political process. Little by little, without even realizing it, you’ll be making a difference in people’s lives too.

NOTE: The opinions expressed in this blog are the opinions of the author only. It is not to be assumed that the opinions are those of GALEO or the GALEO Latino Community Development Fund. For the official position on any issue for GALEO, please contact Jerry Gonzalez, CEO of GALEO at jerry@galeo.org.  

NOTA: Las opiniones expresadas en este blog son sólo las opiniones del autor. No es de suponer que las opiniones sean de GALEO o el GALEO Latino Community Development Fund. Para la posición oficial sobre cualquier tema de GALEO, por favor contacte a Jerry González, CEO de GALEO en jerry@galeo.org.

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The Georgia Runoffs: Record Breaking Beyond Numbers

The Georgia Runoffs: Record Breaking Beyond Numbers

By: Jennifer Manzano

(Image from The Nation)

The social media posts, yard signs, constant phone calls and text messages, and even canvassers at your door. “All eyes on Georgia” for this election season was more than a slogan but a temporary lifestyle for us Georgia natives. There was much at stake, so our nation, as well as community, made sure we knew it. Throughout the process, we didn’t simply meet expectations, but absolutely took over headlines, broke record numbers and, most importantly, changed historical outcomes.

Let’s talk numbers. With a spending of approximately $366 million through December, this has been the most expensive senate race EVER. The 2020 election cycle has been twice as costly as the last presidential election (Evers, Georgia Senate.). However, it is evident that the money went to good use. With approximately 5.4 million eligible voters in Georgia, an estimated 4.5 million actively voted in the runoff.  That means about 83 percent of voters who have this right, exercised it. With a national voter turnout average of 60 percent, this is incredible. To put it more into perspective, Georgia had approximately 2.05 million voters turn-out for the presidential election, meaning we got more than double the number of people to vote for our state’s runoff.

Though these numbers are impressive, this election has proven and done so much more. Because of previous voter turn-out, analysts don’t traditionally account for lower income and marginalized folks. These people are voters who feel that the government has failed them and have disengaged with the government.

This cycle, however, has sparked a new atmosphere with voting. Maybe it was because the candidates weren’t simply talking to their voters but marching alongside them. Personally, this has been the first time I have seen representation of myself in campaigns or have ever felt, seen, and truly heard by candidates and their team members. Regardless of the reason, this election did not feel like a duty, but a right people were excited to exercise. From the vast number of volunteers, free food at polls, and mini dance parties at election sites, the majority was elated and hopeful when voting.

This is the Georgia we have one day hoped to see. The one that was built on civil rights movements and immigrant’s hard work. One that is uniting, voting, and rising together. It would be foolish to say our work is complete, but one thing is for certain: expectations have been raised and the pressure is on. We have the power to reclaim the levers of power in our democracy and even reimagine what is possible for the south.

Highlighting a few organization who have mobilized and played a great role in this election:

  • MiJente
  • Poder Latinx
  • GALEO
  • Georgia Votes
  • Latino Community Fund
  • Mi Familia Vota

Sources

https://sos.ga.gov/index.php/elections/georgia_breaks_all-time_voting_record

https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2021/01/georgia-senate-races-shatter-records/

NOTE: The opinions expressed in this blog are the opinions of the author only. It is not to be assumed that the opinions are those of GALEO or the GALEO Latino Community Development Fund. For the official position on any issue for GALEO, please contact Jerry Gonzalez, CEO of GALEO at jerry@galeo.org.  

NOTA: Las opiniones expresadas en este blog son sólo las opiniones del autor. No es de suponer que las opiniones sean de GALEO o el GALEO Latino Community Development Fund. Para la posición oficial sobre cualquier tema de GALEO, por favor contacte a Jerry González, CEO de GALEO en jerry@galeo.org.

 

 

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The Point of View of a Poultry Plant Worker’s Family Member During COVID-19

The Point of View of a Poultry Plant Worker’s Family Member During COVID-19

By Anonymous Member of GALEO Community

Hall County is known as the poultry capital of the state. Unfortunately, to this day the poultry industry in Hall County cares more about profits than its employees.

During the start of the pandemic, every business followed CDC regulations as well as the state lockdown. Poultry plants, on the other hand, took it upon themselves to increase production while putting their employees at a serious risk. On April 28,2020 Hall County emerged as north Georgia’s COVID-19 hot spot. During that time Hall confirmed 1,132 COVID-19 cases. Health officials stated that at least some of those patients came from the area’s chicken processing plants.

11Alive interviewed Vanesa Sarazua with the Gainesville-based Hispanic Alliance of Georgia, representing a community that drives much of the labor in chicken plants. Ms. Sarazua said in her interview “We didn’t have masks. Workers didn’t have masks. We didn’t have the luxury of staying home during this COVID crisis but had to hit the road running to go to work and continue to work throughout the crisis,” she said.

My mother is one of those workers. When the pandemic started, she was scared to go to work but knew she couldn’t take time off because bills needed to get paid. I went and stocked up on cleaning supplies. I made sure she had masks because her job did not and to this day is not providing PPE. To this day, the plant where she works expects every employee to buy their own PPE as well as to report to work every day.

The disbelief and anger I felt and still do feel seeing my mother risk her health because the company’s owner values profit more than the health of his employees, including that of my mother’s, is astronomical. To this day,  my mother could realistically end up in the hospital due to the health measures that are not being taken. My family can end up in the hospital if she unknowingly brings back home the virus.

What will it take for these poultry plants to take this pandemic seriously? To take the health of its workers seriously?  They can easily provide masks, hand sanitizers, soaps, etc. but choose every day not too. My local convenience store has FREE masks for customers. I see no argument as to why poultry plant workers have to provide their own PPE! It’s a shame how these companies handled this. It’s a blessing in disguise because now we see that these companies do not care about their employees one bit.

Works Cited

https://www.11alive.com/article/news/health/coronavirus/kemp-visits-poultry-plant/85-7d845d0b-121d-45f5-9839-b39b7a6110b0

Author: Doug Richards   Published: 5:58 PM EDT May 15, 2020

Article_15c1baae-8f3f-11ea-8d0c-07c1322a86b2.html

Hall County emerges as Georgia’s latest coronavirus hot spot

Barmel Lyons, Rebekka Schramm

Picture details: https://www.thepoultrysite.com/news/2020/06/us-experts-warn-that-poultry-workers-are-at-risk-of-covid-19-infections-despite-economic-reopening

NOTE: The opinions expressed in this blog are the opinions of the author only. It is not to be assumed that the opinions are those of GALEO or the GALEO Latino Community Development Fund. For the official position on any issue for GALEO, please contact Jerry Gonzalez, CEO of GALEO at jerry@galeo.org.  

NOTA: Las opiniones expresadas en este blog son sólo las opiniones del autor. No es de suponer que las opiniones sean de GALEO o el GALEO Latino Community Development Fund. Para la posición oficial sobre cualquier tema de GALEO, por favor contacte a Jerry González, CEO de GALEO en jerry@galeo.org.

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Georgia Redistricting Alliance Calls for Transparency in Redistricting Process

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:

Adam Sweatasweat@progeorgia.org

Karuna Ramachandran, kramachandran@advancingjustice-atlanta.org

Georgia Redistricting Alliance Calls for Transparency in Redistricting Process

Friday, February 5, 2021 (ATLANTA, GA) – Amidst a barrage of anti-voting bills dropped in both chambers of Georgia’s legislature, Georgia’s Senate and House have both introduced resolutions that propose an amendment to the state constitution to provide that legislative and congressional redistricting would be conducted by a nonpartisan, independent redistricting commission instead of Georgia’s general assembly. Senate Resolution 20 and House Resolution 55 (also cited as the Democracy Act) call for the creation of a “Citizens Redistricting Commission” that would be responsible for redistricting in Georgia. The resolutions also call for the creation of an online portal through which the public can access map proposals and submit their own maps for consideration as well.

“For years, we have advocated for redistricting to be conducted before the public eye. We have had to remain ever vigilant against voter suppression and we know that gerrymandering [the process of manipulating district lines to ensure a candidate’s success] is a very powerful form of voter suppression. When redistricting is conducted behind closed doors, we know we have a battle before us to protect and defend our communities,” says Helen Butler, Executive Director of The Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda.

In Georgia, redistricting is decided upon by the general assembly, which usually means that legislators in office get to use their power to ensure they will get re-elected, regardless of what voters want. Advocates with the Georgia Redistricting Alliance (GRA) – a coalition of organizations working towards fair, equitable, and transparent redistricting with a racial equity lens – have pushed for greater transparency with this process, which largely takes place behind closed doors.

According to Jerry Gonzalez, Executive Director of GALEO, “Having an independent, citizens redistricting commission in Georgia is one step towards equitable and transparent redistricting however the commission alone is not enough. Fair redistricting includes the voices of those disproportionately affected by racial and partisan gerrymandering of the past. And in order to have a voice, these communities need the education about and access to the process.”

Language access continues to be a concern for redistricting and voting rights advocates. “We can no longer conduct such critical processes in English-only. By doing so we exclude thousands of Georgians who deserve to have their voices heard,” shares Stephanie Cho, Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta.

Gigi Pedraza, Executive Director of LCF-Georgia shares, “We commend resolution sponsors for making strides to reform Georgia’s redistricting process. Much work lies ahead to have meaningful and transformative changes that will ensure our communities are truly represented. The GRA is committed to strengthening our relationships with community members across the state so that together we can make this change a reality.”

To learn more about the Georgia Redistricting Alliance (GRA) and our member organizations, please visit garedistrictingalliance.org.

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Georgia Votes Declares: Don’t Bother My Ballot

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Adam Sweat

asweat@progeorgia.org, 678-951-2172

Georgia Votes Declares: Don’t Bother My Ballot 

Wednesday, February 3, 2021 (ATLANTA, GA) – Yesterday, on the heels of a string of proposed legislation that aims to roll back Georgia voters’ access to the ballot, Georgia Votes held a press conference demanding fair and transparent election laws for the state.

“After what many would argue was the most successful election in Georgia history given the volume of voter turnout especially during a pandemic, we are now faced with the specter of regressive laws that seek to suppress the voices and votes of Georgia residents,” said Helen Butler, Executive Director of the Coalition for the People’s Agenda. “There has been no evidence to date of massive absentee voting fraud in Georgia or elsewhere in the 2020 election cycle,” she continued, “and there should be no rush to change a process based upon false narratives about absentee ballot fraud.”

Georgia Votes collaborative includes: All Voting is Local-Georgia, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta, Black Voters Matters, Coalition for the People’s Agenda, Common Cause Georgia, Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, LCF Georgia, League of Women Voters of Georgia, Georgia NAACP, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, The New Georgia Project, and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The collaborative rejected baseless claims of voter fraud and emphasized a need to expand, rather than suppress the voting rights of communities across the state.

“Georgia’s systems are set up to be secure and have multiple failsafes to prevent improper voting. Elections officials double-check absentee ballot applications and returned ballots against the voter rolls,” said Aunna Dennis, Executive Director of Common Cause. “Elections officials perform signature verification on both the application and the outside envelope of voted ballots. Voters with internet access are able to track their ballots online. The system is set up to be secure — and it works. The Cobb County audit proved that.”

The collaborative insists that there are alternative means for confirming the identity of voters who submit absentee ballot applications and ballots that are far less burdensome than any of the proposals set forth thus far.  With nearly a dozen new voter restriction laws introduced in the last week, Georgia Votes is on high alert and prepared to mobilize to make sure that Georgia state legislators know that voters want more – not fewer – options to participate in the democratic process.

“Copying photo IDs multiple times during an election cycle is an unreasonable and unnecessary burden on voters,” said Jerry Gonzalez, Chief Executive Officer of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials. “In a single election cycle, voters could be forced to make 10 or more copies of their photo ID to enclose with each application for an absentee ballot and with the ballot itself. This is just another attempt to curtail the rights of everyday Georgians and to make it harder for diverse, underrepresented and unserved members of our community to vote.”

This proposed legislation would place an undue burden on the communities of color that showed record turn out in Georgia’s 2020 election cycle.

AAPI voters, along with Black and Hispanic voters, proved instrumental to the historic voter turnout we’ve seen over the past year. “Bills such as SB 29 take a direct aim at the culture of civic engagement that we’ve been able to build in Georgia. This bill and bills like it are detrimental to voters of all kinds, not just because of race and color, but also because of socioeconomic status,” said LaVita Tuff, Policy Director for Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta. “If we dont push back on bills of this kind, we will continue to see a false narrative painted and stated against voters that are untrue, not sustainable, and will continue to threaten their civic engagement and civil rights. We cannot stand for it.”

The full press conference can be viewed here.

About Georgia Votes
Georgia Votes is a bold, trusted, and diverse collaborative that champions an equitable and inclusive democracy, for and with traditionally underrepresented communities. Georgia Votes supports and coordinates the civic engagement programs of our diverse partner organizations, and develops the infrastructure, executes the joint strategies, and employs new tools and technology to assure a government that is more responsive to the needs of our constituencies.

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GALEO Announces the 14th Annual Cesar Chavez Essay Contest. Great Prizes Included! Deadline: February 28, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contacts:

Jerry Gonzalez, GALEO,  jerry@galeo.org, 678.691.1086, for media inquiries.

Polo Vargas, GALEO, polo@galeo.org, 770.558.2236, for contest questions.

(Norcross, Georgia) – January 29, 2021 –

The GALEO Leadership Council has announced details for the 14th Annual Cesar Chavez Essay Contest. The intention of the contest is to increase awareness of the continual plight of farm workers and their contributions to America while honoring civil rights legend Cesar Chavez.

Chavez’s leadership was critical to organizing farm workers and founding what is today known as the United Farm Workers union. Chavez remains one of the foremost Latino leaders in American history. His birthday is recognized as a state holiday in California, Colorado and Texas, and GALEO supports the movement to create a national holiday in honor of Chavez.

High school students and adults residing in the state of Georgia are encouraged to participate and submit their essays for consideration in one of three categories. Categories include:

  • Adult category (essays submitted in Spanish or English)
  • High school student category (essays submitted in Spanish or English)
  • ESOL high school student category (essays submitted in English by ESOL students)

Deadline for submissions is February 28, 2021.

All eligible entries received by the deadline will be judged equally on the following criteria: clarity of message, creativity, accuracy of content, potential to draw attention to policies which improve the lives of farm workers, and conventions of writing an essay.

First, second, and third place winners from each category will receive prizes accordingly:

  • 1st Place Winners – $200 Amazon Gift Card
  • 2nd Place Winners – $75 Gift Card
  • 3rd Place Winners – $50 Gift Card

Visit bit.ly/galeochavez2021 for official rules, regulations, and registration, as well as to submit your essay electronically.

If you choose to mail your essay instead, please print out, fill out the registration form, and mail the registration form with your essay. You can find the printable registration form here:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1wP53prf2p4NidQx57dvEj8PlY8Tk6Dwi/view?usp=sharing

“Cesar Chavez is an American hero, and we want Georgians to learn more about his legacy,” said Jerry Gonzalez, CEO of GALEO. “This contest helps educate students and adults alike and brings attention to the importance of farmworkers in our state,” he added.

The Cesar Chavez Essay contest is coordinated and led by the GALEO Leadership Council. The GALEO Leadership Council is comprised of alumni of the GALEO Institute for Leadership and GALEO members statewide.

MAKE SURE TO INCLUDE THE OFFICIAL ENTRY FORM that must accompany any essay.

These are the essay topics (Choose One):

  1. Why are farm workers important in Georgia?
  2. Cesar Chavez & Rev. Martin L. King, Jr. both believed in peaceful nonviolent protests. Why was this ideology important to the civil rights movement?
  3. How has Cesar Chavez influenced your life and what impact will his work have on your future?
  4. Why should we have a national holiday honoring Cesar Chavez?
  5. How did Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta both ensure that the United Farm Workers union was a success story?

 

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RELEASE: Experts and Advocates Discuss Legalization of Undocumented Essential Workers in Economic Recovery as More Than 500 Organizations Call on Congress To Act

Center for American Progress Logo

For Immediate Release
January 22, 2021

Contact
Claudia Montecinos
cmontecinos@americanprogress.org

 

RELEASE: Experts and Advocates Discuss Legalization of Undocumented Essential Workers in Economic Recovery as More Than 500 Organizations Call on Congress To Act

Washington, D.C. — As President Joe Biden and Congress begin work on a coronavirus relief and economic recovery package, a diverse group of more than 500 national, state, and local organizations representing a broad range of interests and constituencies wrote to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). The signatories requested that Congress use all necessary legislative tools to include in such legislation permanent protection and a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, particularly Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, and the estimated 5 million undocumented workers who have been on the front lines during this pandemic, as well as their families.

The letter was released during a press call featuring experts and advocates who articulated why including a path to citizenship for these individuals is a critical tool to ensure that the recovery is as bold, dynamic, inclusive, and equitable as it needs to be to meet the many challenges the country is facing today.

After the press call, Tom Jawetz, vice president of Immigration Policy at the Center for American Progress, said:

For the coronavirus relief and economic recovery package to rise to the multiple challenges facing the country today—for it to be sufficiently dynamic and equitable—it must include permanent protection and a path to citizenship for undocumented essential workers and their families, as well as Dreamers and TPS holders, who have long contributed to this country and who continue to show up when we need them most. Congress must use every tool at its disposal—including the budget reconciliation process—to lay the groundwork for a recovery that is resilient and just.

Felicia Wong, president and CEO at the Roosevelt Institute, said:

When COVID-19 struck, more than 5 million undocumented essential workers kept our economy going at great risk to themselves and their families. Enough is enough. We must build an inclusive economy that works for all; we must make sure that essential workers have legal protections. It is not just the right thing to do; it’s the smart thing to do. It’s good for the economy.

The deputy vice president for Policy and Advocacy at UnidosUS, Clarissa Martínez-de-Castro, added:

We cannot have the health and economic recovery that we need for the nation if we don’t include all those who are caring for our country. We have an opportunity to do just that, and it includes citizens and immigrants alike. Immigrant workers have been standing up for us, and now it is our time to stand up for them. We are doing just that by fighting for the inclusion and protection of these workers in relief and economic recovery legislation and using every legislative tool, including a budget reconciliation. The Biden administration priorities of addressing COVID 19, racial justice, and economic recovery, all in the context of unifying the country around shared values, require us and Congress to move forward boldly.

Montserrat Garibay, secretary-treasurer at the Texas AFL-CIO, said:

When our country extends rights and protections to more workers, we all benefit. When more people are forced to work in fear and without rights, we are all at greater risk. So, we all have a stake in the immigration fight. It directly affects our ability to lift labor standards, keep all workers safe, and build worker power.

Dr. Diana Andino, a neurology specialist and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient, said:

I am one of the estimated 29,000 DACA recipients who are health care workers. During my time in medical school, I dealt with the fear and anxiety of not having a legal status. I managed to push through, and this in some way prepared me to navigate some of the hardest moments and challenges of a global health pandemic. I am hopeful that we can heal together as a nation, but in order to do so, I hope that this country recognizes the people who are taking care of us. I am on the front lines, and I want to have the peace of mind of a permanent legal status so that I can continue caring for my patients and community.

Click here to read the letter and see the list of signatories.

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Claudia Montecinos at cmontecinos@americanprogress.org.

###

The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just and free America that ensures opportunity for all. We believe that Americans are bound together by a common commitment to these values and we aspire to ensure that our national policies reflect these values. We work to find progressive and pragmatic solutions to significant domestic and international problems and develop policy proposals that foster a government that is “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

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The Elections are Over! Now What? / ¡Las elecciones han terminado! ¿Y ahora qué?

(Image taken from “The Election is Over – Now What?”)

The Elections are Over! Now What?

Laura Jimenez

Georgians, we finally made it to the finish line of this election season. From the primary elections, to primary runoffs, to the general election, and finally to the January 5th runoff, we have endured the longest election cycle in the country this year. Even before the elections, we have, as a nation, begun seriously grappling with issues of race and social justice that have taken over our media consumption in unprecedented ways.

The year was a beautiful manifestation of what empowering the voice of the people can look like, regardless of the opinions held. 2020 has shown many of us the value of civic and political engagement, staying informed, and using our power as a single person to create a world that more of us would be proud of. Needless to say, though, all of these powerful lessons came at a high cost. After months of receiving countless pamphlets in the mail, signing petitions, scrolling through thousands of news articles, and standing in line at the polls, most of us are exhausted. Civic engagement burnout is real and it’s happening to us at alarming rates. Wanting to disconnect from it all after a year of so much participation, voluntary or involuntary, is normal.

However, there are issues and movements that survive this election season that will continue to require our attention. So then, how do we balance this need to disconnect with this duty to stay connected? Here are some tips from a person who constantly needs to remind herself that there’s life outside of civic engagement and politics.

First and foremost, a habit that might be necessary but most difficult to employ is to intentionally set times to inform yourself. Knowing the issues is important, don’t get me wrong. The fact that it consumes so many areas of your life, however, is the reason civic engagement fatigue is so pervasive. This should decrease significantly as the news about the runoff begins to quiet down, but continuing to limit your news intake to tolerable levels is important.

One way to do this might be to control the sources you receive information from (Aleman, 2020). For me, one of the hardest pills to swallow is that my engagement burnout is typically self-inflicted. I consume more Twitter and Facebook politics than I’m proud of, and I know that this is the case for many people. From reading through and participating in heated discourse in the comments to sorting through misinformation, staying informed about politics through social media is exhausting and seldom fruitful.

Commit yourself to finding information in places that don’t raise your blood pressure in the way that social media does. There are plenty of secondary sources that provide more objective information that keeps you educated and helps you develop opinions that are substantiated by fact. In addition to this, social media is a place where you can easily surround yourself with sources that continue to support your beliefs. By actively having to seek better sources, you open yourself to the possibility of not only understanding your stances on the issues, but the stances of others as well. It’s a win-win, both for your knowledge of the world around you and for your personal mental health.

Speaking of mental health, do you remember what your mental health was like before 2020 brought a pandemic, lockdowns, and a rowdy election cycle? Sometimes, I don’t either. A simple thing that might be necessary to return to as this new year begins is indulging in the things that spark joy for us. Sure, we need to stay informed to know how we can be agents of change in our communities. We can still do that though, while finally learning how to make those garlic and chives bread rolls we saw a tutorial for months ago. We can still engage civically while giving ourselves time to disconnect over a video of astronauts critiquing space movies. We must remember what it’s like to be ourselves despite the things around us that demand our attention. Learning how to set these boundaries for yourself will allow you to stay energized for the things that matter while maintaining a healthy balance with the things that make your life happier (Aleman, 2020).

As I have learned how to prioritize my mental health while staying engaged civically and politically, I have found that one of the most beneficial practices was practicing proactivity, not reactivity. This has been easiest for me to accomplish in the realm of local engagement. When we read news about politics, it is difficult to find where it is you fit into the equation. Sometimes, your single vote seems insignificant in the sea of millions of votes. This feels especially true when the primary source of engagement comes from reacting to news that gets updated on what feels like a minute-to-minute basis.

What I discovered, from my time at GALEO especially, was that if I devote my time doing versus reacting to what is done, I feel much more accomplished. Being able to see the fruits of my work and know that what I am doing is making a difference has changed the game for me entirely. Focusing on how my actions and my vote directly affects the community around me is invigorating and gives you clear, defined goals. I cannot recommend this enough. Pick an issue you’re passionate about, and put yourself in a position to actively and intentionally do something about it. That might look like joining and volunteering for a special interest group, joining a campaign during the next election cycle, or even taking advantage of resources provided by GALEO. Tie your service and engagement to your passions, and I can assure you that there is very little that will wear you out.

As my time as an intern at GALEO comes to a close, I take these lessons with me to my future ventures. As exhausting as this year was for all of us, I am excited to continue the work that needs to be done in our communities while remembering to be kind to myself. Inciting change requires energy, momentum, and a lot of balance. I hope that these tips are gentle reminders that allow us to more successfully embark on journeys that lead to better versions of ourselves and of our communities.

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¡Las elecciones han terminado! ¿Y ahora qué?

Laura Jiménez

Georgianos, finalmente llegamos a la línea de meta de esta temporada electoral. Desde las elecciones primarias, las eliminatorias primarias, las elecciones generales y, finalmente, la segunda vuelta del 5 de enero, hemos soportado el ciclo electoral más largo del país este año. Incluso antes de las elecciones, como nación, hemos comenzado a pensar seriamente en cuestiones de raza y justicia social que se han apoderado de nuestro consumo de entretenimiento de manera sin precedentes.

El año fue una hermosa manifestación del poder de la voz de la gente, independientemente de las opiniones mantenidas. El 2020 nos ha mostrado a muchos de nosotros el valor del compromiso cívico y político, manteniéndonos informados y usando nuestro poder como una sola persona para crear un mundo del que más de nosotros estaríamos orgullosos. No hace falta decir, sin embargo, que todas estas poderosas lecciones tuvieron un alto costo. Después de meses de recibir innumerables panfletos en el correo, firmar peticiones, recorrer miles de artículos de noticias, y estar en fila en las urnas, la mayoría de nosotros estamos agotados. El desgaste cívico es real y nos está pasando a un ritmo alarmante. Querer desconectarse de todo después de un año de tanta participación, voluntaria o involuntaria, es normal.

Sin embargo, hay cuestiones y movimientos que sobreviven esta temporada electoral que seguirán requiriendo nuestra atención. Entonces, ¿cómo equilibramos esta necesidad de desconectarnos con este deber de permanecer conectados? Aquí hay algunos consejos de una persona que constantemente necesita recordarse a sí misma que hay vida fuera del compromiso cívico y la política.

En primer lugar, un hábito que podría ser necesario pero más difícil de emplear es fijar intencionalmente los tiempos para informarse. Tener conocimiento de los problemas sociales es importante, no me malinterpreten. El hecho de que consuma tantas áreas de su vida, sin embargo, es la razón del desgaste cívico. Esto debería disminuir significativamente a medida que las noticias sobre la segunda vuelta comienzan a calmarse, pero continuar limitando su ingesta de noticias a niveles tolerables es importante.

Una forma de hacerlo podría ser controlar las fuentes de las que recibes información (Aleman, 2020). Para mí, mi agotamiento cívico es típicamente auto-infligido. Yo consumo más política de Twitter y Facebook de lo que estoy orgullosa, y sé que este es el caso de muchas personas. Desde leer y participar en una acalorada discusión en los comentarios hasta leer mucha desinformación, mantenerse informado sobre la política a través de las redes sociales es agotador y rara vez fructífero.

Comprométete a encontrar información en lugares que no eleven tu presión arterial de la manera en que lo hacen las redes sociales. Hay un montón de fuentes secundarias que proporcionan información más objetiva que te mantiene educado y te ayuda a desarrollar opiniones que se fundamentan en hechos. Además de esto, las redes sociales son un lugar donde puedes rodearte fácilmente de fuentes que continúan apoyando tus creencias. Al tener que activamente buscar mejores fuentes, te abres a la posibilidad no solo de entender tus propias posturas sobre los temas importantes, sino también las posturas de los demas. Todo el mundo gana, tanto por su conocimiento del mundo que le rodea como o su salud mental personal

Hablando de salud mental, ¿recuerdas cómo era tu salud mental antes de 2020 trajo una pandemia, encierros, y un ciclo electoral caótico? A veces, yo tampoco. Una cosa simple que podría ser necesaria para restaurar nuestra salud mental es disfrutar de las cosas que nos traen alegría. Claro, necesitamos estar informados para saber cómo podemos ser agentes de cambio en nuestras comunidades. Todavía podemos hacer eso, pero tal vez también finalmente puedas aprender a hacer los rollos de pan de ajo y cebollino que viste en un tutorial hace meses. Todavía podemos participar cívicamente mientras nos damos tiempo para desconectar sobre un video de astronautas criticando películas hechas acerca del espacio. Debemos recordar lo que es ser nosotros mismos a pesar de las cosas que nos rodean que demandan nuestra atención. Aprender a establecer estos límites por ti mismo te permitirá mantenerte energizado para las cosas que importan mientras mantienes un equilibrio saludable con las cosas que hacen tu vida más feliz (Aleman, 2020).

A medida que he aprendido a priorizar mi salud mental mientras me mantengo comprometida cívica y políticamente, he encontrado que una de las prácticas más beneficiosas era practicar la proactividad, no la reactividad. Esto ha sido más fácil de lograr en el ámbito del compromiso local. Cuando leemos noticias sobre la política, es difícil encontrar dónde encajas en la ecuación. A veces, tu voto parece insignificante en el mar de millones de votos. Esto se siente especialmente cierto cuando la principal fuente de compromiso proviene de reaccionar a noticias que se actualizan constantemente.

Lo que descubrí, especialmente en mi tiempo en GALEO, fue que si dedico mi tiempo a hacer en cambio de reaccionar, me siento mucho más realizada. Ser capaz de ver los frutos de mi trabajo y saber que lo que estoy haciendo está haciendo una diferencia ha cambiado el compromiso cívico para mí por completo. Centrarse en cómo mis acciones y mi voto afectan directamente a la comunidad que me rodea es vigorizante y te da metas claras y definidas. No puedo recomendar esto lo suficiente. Elige un tema que te apasione y ponte en posición de hacer algo al respecto de manera activa e intencional. Eso podría significar unirse y ser voluntario para un grupo de interés especial, unirse a una campaña durante el próximo ciclo electoral, o incluso aprovechar los recursos proporcionados por GALEO. Ata tu servicio y compromiso a tus pasiones, y puedo asegurarte que hay muy poco que te canse.

A medida que mi tiempo como pasante en GALEO llega a su fin, llevo estas lecciones conmigo a mis futuras aventuras. Aunque este año fue agotador para todos nosotros, me emociona continuar el trabajo que se necesita hacer en nuestras comunidades mientras recuerdo que mi salud mental también debe ser priorizada. Incitar al cambio requiere energía, impulso y mucho equilibrio. Espero que estos consejos sean recordatorios suaves que nos permitan embarcarnos con más éxito en viajes que nos lleven a mejores versiones de nosotros mismos y de nuestras comunidades.

Works Cited

Aleman, L. (2020, June 24). 4 Steps to Dealing with Political Burnout. Retrieved January 03,

2021, from https://thriveglobal.com/stories/4-steps-to-dealing-with-political-burnout/

The Election is Over – Now What? (2020, October 30). Retrieved January 14, 2021, from https://www.columbiajewish.org/events/14751/

NOTE: The opinions expressed in this blog are the opinions of the author only. It is not to be assumed that the opinions are those of GALEO or the GALEO Latino Community Development Fund. For the official position on any issue for GALEO, please contact Jerry Gonzalez, CEO of GALEO at jerry@galeo.org.  

NOTA: Las opiniones expresadas en este blog son sólo las opiniones del autor. No es de suponer que las opiniones sean de GALEO o el GALEO Latino Community Development Fund. Para la posición oficial sobre cualquier tema de GALEO, por favor contacte a Jerry González, CEO de GALEO en jerry@galeo.org.

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