Organizing and Growing During the Pandemic

Immigrant communities of color in Washington, DC have been hit hard this year. Our members continue to be disproportionately impacted by the economic and health effects of the pandemic. Adults and youth face financial distress due to the closure of non-essential businesses, restaurants, schools, and childcare facilities.

Dear MLOVers,

Immigrant communities of color in Washington, DC have been hit hard this year. Our members continue to be disproportionately impacted by the economic and health effects of the pandemic. Adults and youth face financial distress due to the closure of non-essential businesses, restaurants, schools, and childcare facilities.

Most of our members are undocumented or work in the cash economy. As a result, they do not have access to unemployment benefits or the stimulus payments. Many also lack access to health insurance and affordable, high-quality healthcare.

In response, we have provided over
$140,000 in direct cash assistance provided to over 142 families since mid-March, but our work is not done.

-Miguel Castro, Membership Coordinator

Vendedores Unidos

This year MLOV has partnered with Beloved Community Incubator and American University’s Law Clinic to support Vendedores Unidos (Vendors United) to form a worker-owned cooperative and assist 20-30 vendors to obtain their food safety certifications and valid DC vendor licenses. At the end of July, Councilwoman Brianne Nadeau, supported by six additional council members, introduced key legislation to decriminalize street vending without a license in the District.

Growth in the Youth Program

Earlier this summer we had the pleasure of welcoming a new Youth Organizer, Arlin Martinez, to MLOV. Arlin was born in Hidalgo, Mexico and grew up in North Carolina. Arlin is an undocumented woman and has experienced the injustice of anti-immigrant legislation like 287(g). She organized in North Carolina for tuition equity for undocumented students and organized nationally for immigrant rights. She is pursuing her undergraduate degree in International Relations at Trinity Washington University in Washington, DC.

Excluded Workers Campaign

Undocumented immigrants, sex workers, vendoray laborers are excluded from federal unemployment insurance and public assistance. The majority of these DC residents are low-income workers who do not have the savings needed to survive without work.

In partnership with DCJWJ, Sanctuary DMV, ROC-DC, HIP’S-DC and other community partners, we have secured over $14M in government-funded economic relief for undocumented immigrants and excluded workers. After months of fighting and almost two weeks of community actions at DC councilmembers houses, we won $9M of this funding for ALL Excluded Workers.

Opportunity Challenge Awardee

Finally, we are proud to be one of the 12 awardees of the World Education Services (WES) Mariam Assefa Fund &Tarsadia Foundation's Opportunity Challenge! We were chosen from 470 applicants nationwide in an initiative aimed at supporting the success of immigrants and refugees. #ImmigrantsThrive Learn more