September 20th - MLOV joined community partner Trabajadores Unidos (Workers United) along with a number of other immigrant-serving groups in DC in the District's only candidates forum on immigrant issues.
The Forum was moderated by Brenda Perez Amador, one of MLOV's Lead Student Organizers (a prior member of SMART, the Student Multiethnic Action Research Team) and Salvador Sarmiento of the DC Immigrant Rights Coalition.
Brenda and Salvador began by reading out a Petition by Trabajadores Unidos that was also circulated among attendees at the Forum, calling for the creation of an "Immigrant Task Force" to be created by those elected to office. See video of the reading of the Petition to the right.
Candidates started with opening statements, after which Brenda and Salvador asked the Candidates a series of questions that had been submitted by DC-based social justice groups working with immigrant communities, focusing on Workers Rights & Wage Theft, Education and Teacher Training, Parental Engagement, Health, Immigration & Immigrant Inclusion and Housing. Following this moderated Q&A period, community members were invited to come to the microphone and ask questions of the candidates.
The Forum was attended by many of the candidates running for City Council Member At-Large, including:
Michael D. Brown (Independent) - DC Shadow Senator, Communications Consultant & '10 Candidate
Graylan Hagler (Independent) - Pastor & Civil Rights Activist
Brian Hart (Independent) - ANC Commissioner & Attorney
Khalid Pitts (Independent) - Wine Bar/Market Owner & Ex-Labor Organizer
Kishan Putta (Independent) - Health Policy Consultant & Ex-Journalist
Elissa Silverman (Independent) - Budget Analyst, Ex-Newspaper Reporter & Progressive Activist
Courtney Snowden (Independent) - Lobbyist, Ex-Congressional Aide & LGBT Activist
Robert White (Independent) - Attorney & Ex-Congressional Aide
The Forum was also attended by both of the candidates running for Ward 1 representative on the City Council:
Brianne Nadeau - Community Activist, Democratic Party leader
Ernest Johnson - Real Estate broker, former Mayoral candidate
Unfortunately, only two of the candidates running for Mayor attended the only Forum addressing immigrant issues:
Faith (DC Statehood Green) - Actress, Musician & Frequent Candidate
Nestor Djonkam (Independent) - Democratic Activist, Engineer & '06/'10 Candidate
The Forum was co-organized by the following community groups, many of whom also comprise the DC Language Access Coalition: Trabajadores Unidos, Many Languages One Voice, Ayuda, Carecen, Day Labor Exchange, DC Jobs With Justice, Frente Farabundo Marti de Liberacion Nacional, Madre Tierra, Metropolitan Washington Council AFL-CIO, National Day Laborer Organizing Network, Red Nacional de Salvadoreños en el Exterior, SEIU Local 32BJ and the Washington Peace Center.
Simultaneous interpretation was provided at the Forum in Spanish and Amharic.
Election day is November 4th. You can register ahead of time or at the polls -- in order to find your polling station, enter your address here!
Click on the picture above to watch coverage of Candidates Forum from Univision.
Interviews begin around minute 2.