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National Grassroots Immigrant Strategy Conference
Friday - Sunday July 28-30, 2006
Ward Circle Building, American University
Washington, DC

Updated Lists of Workshops and Campaign Proposals

Lists of Workshops

Planning Camp Democracy
Area of the Topic: Diverse Tactics

WS Agenda:
Presentation by organizers of camp. Presentation by Immigrant Solidarity re participation in camp. Discussion. Planning.

What to Achieve?
Energized and organized planners from various parts of the US (and abroad?).

Facilitator: David Swanson
Org: Camp Democracy

Immigration Reform: its impact on women and children

Topic: Over ½ of the undocumented in the United States are women and children. This workshop will explore the impact of lack of documentation and the need for a path to residency and citizenship for undocumented immigrants to raise the standard of living, wages, federal and state benefits, and to bring families out of poverty with specific emphasis of women. Also, we will discuss ways in which immigrant women can be protected against sexual and domestic abuse.

Workshop Agenda: Panel of at least three people, leaders of the women’s movement in the United States and experts in the area of civil rights, joined by at least one expert in immigration law will discuss the current immigration legislation before Congress, the reforms that are really needed to better the lives of immigrant women, family reunification, and the steps participants can take to bring these issues to the general public.

Facilitator: Zenaida Mendez, Director of Racial Diversity Programs
National Organization for Women

LGBT Caucus

LGBT immigrants face homophobia and transphobia withint heir immigrant communities and racism and xenophobia in US LGBT communities. Issues such as strict asylum policies, HIV ban on immigration impact LGBT immigrants. We will discuss strategies to network and build stronger connections, also challenge the hetronormativity of the immigrant rights movement.

What to Achieve?
A strong netowrk of LGBT immigrant rights orgs and individuals

Facilitator: Debanuj DasGupta
Org: Queers For Economic Justice

Immigrant Media Strategy, Talking Points Formulation
Area of the Topic: Education and Outreach

by: SmartMeMe Media Collective

More Information: Coming Soon

A Multi-Ethnic "Role-Playing" Activist Approach towards Immigrant Education and Understanding
Area of the Topic: Education and Outreach, Student/Youth Organizing, and Multi-Ethnic Organizing


As the son of Coptic Egyptian immigrants, one of the sad realities of bills such as HR4437 is that they demonstrate a general lack of understanding about the "other", sadly portrayed as the face of hard-working new immigrants. This type of cultural misunderstanding of the "other" that is reflective of HR4437 and other "copycat" legislation cannot go remain unchecked. The Middle East is just one of many regions of "others", which continues to suffer from such wide sweeping stereotypical strokes typified in such tragic bills. The question has now become, "How can we get Congress, a legislative body made up of immigrants, to embrace and understand new immigrant perspectives?"

We need to advocate and create positive methodologies that force Congress to be the "other" before making pivotal decisions affecting the "other". Moreover, this methodology must mobilize grassroots support for active public disapproval of such tragic legislation. In other words, both congressional officials and the general public must learn to actively take on the perspective of the "other".

The way to do this is through role-playing and role-reversal. Those who are anti-immigrant rights must role-play immigrants and vice versa. In this way, we show people who differ with our views that we are not adversaries but collaborators in the pursuit of peaceful anti-discriminatory social progress. Moreover, we give a human face to the immigrant "other". This approach gives participants the chance to see what it is like to be the immigrant "other", to walk everyday in the often constraining and sometimes even ostracizing world of the "other". We expose them to the tragedies of the "other" and help them realize how to make compromises that the "other" can agree to.

This cannot be limited to just politics because if we are going to effectively make this a grassroots movement, all occupations must be involved. Journalists and scientists who are also actively affected must be incorporated. With this newfound understanding, the general public will push Congress to produce legislation reflective of the universal social progress of the "other" rather than the current set of legislation designed to discriminate what makes America great, its immigrants.

This workshop will begin with my perspectives as a student with a Middle East Coptic/Christian Egyptian background and how this historical background affects the views of immigrants from the Middle East in their battle to reverse the discrimination a post-9/11 world has created. The universality of this "role-playing" methodology and how to gain the trust of all participants involved will then be explained. Finally, role-playing of both those testifying to Congress regarding HR4437 as well the congressmen and women that play a key role in this battle will be role-played by workshop participants. This will hopefully lead to a decisive agenda on how to better bring Congress to be against such legislation as well as how to incorporate an even stronger grassroots movement that brings the general public to voice their opinion against HR4437 and other such "copycat" legislation.

Agenda of the Workshop:

A recap of the agenda is as follows:
1. Explain my perspectives as a student with Middle Eastern background in a post-9/11 world and how this methodology provides a healthy environment for discussions which are often difficult to do in
2. Provide a brief explanation on the history and background of the methodology (role-playing, expert inclusion, role reversal, etc.)
3. Facilitate a brief role-playing activity on how this methodology applies to officials that deliberate HR4437 or other similar legislation
4. Following the simulation, a discussion will ensue about the process and what this process has shown as possible means to reinvigorate the immigrant rights campaign in such a way as to get the US government to better respect and implement the necessary agendas to improve such rights. This will contribute to the proposal the workshop culminates with on an effective monthly action plan or policy proposal for the Unity meeting that Sunday

What Do You Like to Achieve:

The hope is that participants will leave with a renewed sense that immigrants are not an adversary but a collaborator in social progress. Social tension, isolation, and discrimination harm everyone, so together we must work to combat it. This workshop will explain the methodology on how to address such issues in a forum that incorporates all views in a positively-enriching and healthy manner that leads to productive rather than defensive dialogue. Moreover, with this knowledge, the hope is that the participant continues to push for immigrant rights with a renewed knowledge of how to best adapt the campaign to better influence congressional leaders and the general public in the needed grassroots cause for improving immigrant rights, outreach, and understanding. Hopefully, the participant will also try to bring this methodology back to their home institutions or agencies to improve public understanding of the difficulties facing today's American immigrants, or they will choose to participate in our Session: Middle East conference at the University of Pittsburgh next spring 2007.

Facilitator: Daniel Armanios
Mission: Middle East

Detention and Deportation: Overview and Organizing
Area of the Topic: Legislative

Will discuss current organizing efforts against efforts to increase detention and deportation practices and will provide education materials about its relationship to overall immigration reform. Panelists include members of Detention Watch Network, the Detention Project/Asylum Project of Capital Area Immigrants' Rights Coalition, the National Immigration Project, Rights Working Group, and Families for Freedom (invited).

WS Agenda:
This panel will provide an overview of detention, current legislative proposals that create more detention and deportation, how groups are attempting to push these marginalized topics into the overall discussion around immigration reform and its relationship with the criminal justice system. We will also discuss how these issues resonate (or not) within different immigrant communities and why and how community organizers can begin to integrate these issues into their organization around immigration.

What to Achieve?
Participants will have a general knowledge of current detention and deportation issues and proposed legislative changes.
Participants will identify how these issues do/do not resonate within their communities and will begin a discussion about how to incorporate detention and deportation issues into their organizing.

Facilitator: Paromita Shah/Andrea Black
National Immigration Project/Detention Watch Network

Women's Caucus

by: National Organization for Women

More Information: Coming Soon

Rights on the Line
Area of the Topic: Border

Scree AFSC/ACLU documentary that describes the migrant experience on the US-Mexico border and how White Supremacy influences the debate

WS Agenda:
Background on border issues
Screen film: Rights on the Line
Next Steps

What to Achieve?
Portray the reality of the border vs. how the extreme right wing is portaying the border

Facilitator: Gabriel Camacho & Ruben Chandrasekar
Org: American Friends Service Committee

Low-Wage Immigrant Worker Strategies
Area of the Topic: Labor

Discuss fair wage campaign of Greater Boston and low-wage South Asian worker project in Baltimore.

WS Agenda:
outline of two case (Boston and Baltimore)
Discussion of case studies
Sharing Best practices and tools
Can this be replicated in your area

What to Achieve?
Learn how to help recover wages and enforce labor law for immigrant communities

Facilitator: Gabriel Camacho and Ruben Chandrasekar
Org: American Friends Service Committee

Away from Militarization and Towards Human Mobility: Civil Disobedience and Direct Action-Militarization/Diverse Tactics to Achieve Goals
Area of Topic: Diverse Tactics

This workshop will provide an overview of the militarization of the U.S.-Mexico divide and talk about the impacts of low-intensity conflict. The workshop will also talk about what the militarization of the border seeks to prevent; human mobility. The final part of the workshop will focus on ideas of civil disobedience and direct action that could be used to counter the militarization of the border and put forth a human rights agenda.

Human mobility is a concept which pre-dates the United States of America. For thousands of years human beings have been migrating from one area to the next with little impediment from Governments. The more recent phenomenom is the militarization of border areas which seeks to prohibit human mobility. Using a human rights framework, this workshop will show how the militarization of the border is resulting in numerous deaths, separation of families, racial profiling, and human rights violations.

The workshop will also talk about the concept of 'human mobility.' While militarization aims to keep people out and control those within, the concept of human mobility forces people to analyze the impacts of militarization in terms of human rights. When fundamental human rights collide with the rights of a nation-state, who wins?

If the laws of the nation-state are fundamentally illegitimate, immoral, and contradict human rights, then the plan of action must include civil disobedience and direct action. Thousands of migrants engage in civil disobedience annually and this workshop will talk about how those with privilege can also engage in civil disobedience and give an overview of civil disobedience and direct action tactics used historically in social movements

Ray Ybarra
Ira Glasser Racial Justice Fellow
American Civil Liberties Union of Texas

War on Terror Against Immigrants--The Arabs and Muslim Experience
Area of Topic: Multi-Ethic Organizing

The recent wave of anti-immigrant legislation and overall xenophobia is very much a product of the "war on terror". Politicians, the media, and racist groups like the minuteman have used the September terrorist attacks to whip up hysteria against "illegal immigrants". Arab and muslim immigrants were in many ways the first victims of this wave of attacks on immigrants and their rights. While there has been some effort by Arabs and muslims to resist the attack on their rights and the racism accompanying it, more needs to be done to build solidarity with other immigrant communities and organize for immigrant rights. This workshop will seek to educate others about the situation that arab and muslim immigrants currently face and begin the process of organizing them around this issue.

Three speakers interspersed with video clips from the documentary "Brothers and others". If feasible, break out into smaller groups to discuss education and activism.

Develop a network of groups and individuals (activists or not) who work on issues of immigrant rights in the Arab community.

Facilitator: Rami Elamine

Latest Updates on the Immigrant Legislation - An Introduction
Area of Topic: Legistrative

by: National Immigrant Solidarity network

More Information: Coming Soon

Panel: Immigrant Student Organizing
Area of Topic: Student, Youth Organizing

by: National Council of La Raza, National Asian American Student Confernce

More Information: Coming Soon

Multi-Ethnic Organizing
Area of Topic: Multi-Ethnic

The first national US Social Forum will be held in June 2007 in Atlanta, Georgia. This workshop will be on the significance of the US Social Forum and the importance of ensuring that the immigrant rights movements will be involved in it.

Facilitator: Cheri Honkala, Galen Tyler and others TBA
Org: Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign

Acknowledging the Role of Faith in Addressing Social Justice and Defending Immigrant Rights
Area of the Topic: Multi-ethnic/generational/faith, Community support

Open discussion and panel from multi-generational, multi-ethnic members of various faith-based groups already involved in works of social justice, particularly in supporting and defending immigrant rights. Some of the discussion questions we will address include:

*How does our faith call us to address social justice, specifically immigrant rights?

*What are some of the practical means through which people of faith can find common ground and build an inter-faith solidarity network to defend and support the dignity and humanity of immigrants?

April Joy Guiriba Damian

Trade and Immigration: Organizing around the failed "Free Trade Model"
Area of the Topic: Labor

There are many within the general public, as well as among organizers, who do not understand the relationship between Free Trade Agreements (FTA) and immigration, specifically the aspect of FTAs causing mass immigration. These FTAs are promoted by the same people who demonize the immigrants, and call for a militarization of the border and deportation of so-called illegals. While the hypocrisy is quite evident, it is hardly ever mentioned, or used as a tool for exposing the truth of the situation. The idea that capital and profit can move freely across borders but labor cannot needs to be highlighted. In addition, it is critical that the effect of FTAs in driving people from their land be made more known amongst the American public.

WS Agenda:
This workshop will provide organizers with the information necessary to convey these ideas and to explain how the "Free Trade Model" works and how it is directly responsible for increased immigration. We will examine the effects of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and look at the potential effects of the recently implemented Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), Plan Puebla Panama (PPP) and the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). The workshop will cover
Agricultural issues, gender, workers rights and land dispossession, in addition to immigration.

What to Achieve?
To provide organizers with the tools and knowledge needed to present a simple yet complete critique of the 'Free Trade Model" and its relationship to immigration. This will allow for broader education related to trade in general, and also enable one to show how those calling for an end to immigration are the same ones that are creating immigration. We will also explore alternatives to the current model.

Facilitator: Jon Hunt
Org: Campaign for Labor Rights

Panel: Labor Union and Immigrant Organizing
Area of Topic: Labor/Multi-Ethnic

grass roots organizing, organizing does not always mean signing up a company, sometimes its teaching people to stand up for one another collectively. Teaching people unity at the work place, sometimes is not the easy thing to do. We as organizers need to remember that these people have families that depend on that pay check, and the employers know that too...

WS Agenda:
Teaching the new organizers what to look for in a campaign, the pit-falls. showing how to earn TRUST, loyalty & a strong committee member

What to Achieve?
People leaving with a sense of knowing there's a joy in helping people, and organizing them is one of them, not only for them but their family.

Facilitator: Pete Coyle
rg.: Carpenters' District Council of Greater Kansas City and Vicinity

The Minutemen: From the Beginning
Area of the Topic: Border

This workshop will serve to enlighten, enhance, and equip immigrant rights activists with the necessary background, tools, and experiences that have been employed in the struggle to demoralize, defuse, and debunk these hatemongers, their actions and their clandestine message of white superiority.

WS Agenda:
Q and A
Reports from different regions
Discuss on whether to confront or not
Wrap up

What to Achieve?
Inform the group on how the Minutemen were organized, and the efforts that preceded them. It is important that we understand who they are and their timeline to see how the developments in DC are correlated.

This is a vital opportunity for those myths, miscommunications, and inaccuracies around the origins of and organizing around the may 1st mobilization to be outlined and clarified by those who were inherently involved and organizing the event nationwide.

The workshop speak of it in terms of a national gone international action, and how it brought the international working class together like never before.

Facilitator: Jesse Diaz
Org: March 25th Coalition

Day Laborer Organizing
Area of Topic: Multi-Ethnic

Org.: Casa Freehold

More Information: Coming Soon

Panel: March 25 "Grand Marcha", May 1 "A Day Without Immigrant" Organizing Experience

Org.: Los Angeles March 25th Coalition, New York May 1st Coalition

More Information: Coming Soon

"Hush": An interactive study of a one-act play
Area of Topic: Immigrant Detention

This workshop aims at looking into the issues of immigrant detention and the importance of belonging.

It consists of the exploration of a short dramatic act that tells the story of two immigrants awaiting deportation.

The story is a dissection of both the emotional and the political issues that accompany an immigrant's daily life.

The rationale for this mode of presentation is the belief that it is incumbent upon the oppressed to tell their story over and over again, until someone finally listens.

The workshop will engage the participants through role-play and follow-up discussions which will include suggested legislative measures that ensure "belonging" rather than "ostracizing".

Mkawasi Mcharo: Co-Coordinator, Washington Peace Center

Countering Military Recruitment in our Immigrant Communities
Area of the Topic: Community Support

The U.S. military has been on an intense drive to recruit youth in the service of military interventions in Iraq and other countries. Communities of immigrants as well as other working class communities have been targeted. Participants can hear about the experience in a largely Latin American community in Chelsea, MA and from the experience of any other community that would like to participate.

WS Agenda:
A) Presentation from Chelsea Uniéndose en Contra de la Guerra and from any other group with this type of experience.
B) Discussion

Facilitator: John Harris
Org: Chelsea Uniéndose en Contra de la Guerra

The Immigrants, The Economy and Tax Policy
Area of the Topic: Education & Outreach

the workshop will be explore how immigrants are supporting the Us economy as well the tax policies.

The workshop could be bilingual, English/Spanish

What to Achieve?
Spotlight the growing economic inequality in general but specific on immigrants

Facilitator: Jeannette Huezo and Adrian Boutureira
Org: United for a Fair Economy, UFE

Reading Between the Headlines: Learn to analyze news coverage
Area of Topic: Education & Outreach

Mainstream media coverage of immigration and immigrant rights has skewed the issues and greatly impacted public debate. Learning to put together a cohesive and well-documented analysis of biased or inaccurate media reports is a critical first step towards beginning to change the coverage. In this workshop you will learn FAIR's time-tested methods for identifying, documenting and challenging inaccurate or unfair news coverage. FAIR's workshop provides a foundation for SmartMeme's workshop on developing effective stories to tell the media and the public.

WS Agenda:
Go over seven steps of media analysis with group participation and discussion; break into groups and brainstorm specific ways to incorporate media analysis into activism.

What to Achieve?
learn how to identify, document and challenge inaccurate or unfair news coverage in order to shape the public debate

Facilitator: Julie Hollar
Fairness And Accuracy In Reporting

How To Do Your Congressional Lobbying
Area of Topic: Legistrative

by: Sue Udry
Legislative Action Coordinator
United for Peace and Justice

More Information: Coming Soon

Overview of Latino Immigrant Politics
Area of Topic: Multi-Ethnic

by: Dr. Gabriela Lemus
League of United Latin American Citizens

More Information: Coming Soon


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