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.
SMART jump-started the 2012-2013 school year with its first meeting on Friday, September 28. Cardozo Senior High School, Coolidge Senior High School and Wilson Senior High School were represented by 30 students and educators. French and Spanish interpreters were present, but the languages heard across the room included Amharic, Spanish, French, Mandarin, Cantonese and Zambian dialects. The Lead Student Organizers (LSOs), Rahwa Mebrahtom, Tedla Mekonnen, Shen Qu and Lisa Zhao facilitated the entire meeting and each of its activities.
On Sunday, October 7th, MLOV will be hosting a Guest Talk and Teach-in with Leonila Romero González, as part of a Witness for Peace 2012 Roots of Migration Mid-Atlantic Tour speaking tour.
Leonila, of the Dimension Pastoral de la Movilidad Humana (Catholic Migrant Ministry) for Mexico and of Las Patronas, works monitoring immigration through Mexico, advocating for migrants, and providing them with humanitarian aid as they make their harrowing travels North. Join us for:
Migrants' Passage and Their Hopes on Their Journey:
Guest Talk and Teach-in with Leonila Romero
Time: 7:00 - 9:00pm
Date: October 7th
Location: MLOV Office at La Casa Community Center
3166 Mount Pleasant Street
About the speaker: Leonila Romero González is the Assistant at the Dimensión Pastoral de la Movilidad Humana (i.e. Catholic Migrant Ministry) for Mexico, and a member of the humanitarian organization Las Patronas. For over 15 years, Las Patronas, an organization of women based in Veracruz, Mexico, has provided much-needed sustenance to mostly Central American migrants making the harrowing journey North through Mexico. With the Pastoral (based in Mexico City), Romero works on matters of securing documentation for Central American migrants in Mexico, monitoring activity at migrant shelters in different parts of Mexico, and various aspects of workshops on migration.
To see "Las Patronas in action," check out the video featured below.
Many Languages One Voice seeks bilingual Community Outreach/Story-Collecting interns to inform community members of their rights to access public services, gather stories about Limited/Non-English proficient individuals’ experiences, and evaluate government compliance with providing interpretation/translation services. Read on for more information!
Coolidge Senior High School will be the first high school in DC with an "English Language Learner (ELL) Support Group", a student envisioned- and led-initiative meant to enrich the overall experience of the school's ELL families.
Coolidge SMART members spent this past school year researching the best school-based approaches to addressing issues commonly faced by ELL students. After much research, group discussion, and working through proposals, students presented their idea for an intergenerational team dedicated to transforming their school into a multicultural hub. Coolidge's Principal, Thelma Jarrett, was extremely enthusiastic about implementing this student-envisioned project and celebrated the possibility of engaging more immigrant parents in school activities.
Principal Jarrett requested to meet with students again later this month to review SMART's suggestions for the concrete action steps Coolidge needs to take to successfully implement the group next year. The principal also asked students to consider personalizing the name of the group to include Coolidge's overall mission and vision.
Congratulations to all our SMART members who made this happen: Lidya Abune, Rahwa Mebrahtom, Yonatan Abune, Melat Tsehaye, Fasil Tsahaye, Tedla Mekkonen, Basluel Mekkonen, Holy Mbah, Kevine, Ribeka Amanuale, Samuael Seyoum, Nahom Girma, Tensaye Dagnachew
Read more on our SMART blog!
Photo credit: DC Public Schools