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|7/28-30 National Grassroots Immigrant Strategy Conference: STRATEGY SESSIONS NOTES (DRAFT)
Released 06 August 2006  By Prepared by Maria Firmino-Castillo
NATIONAL GRASSROOTS IMMIGRANT STRATEGY CONFERENCE
July 28-30, 2006
National Immigrant Solidarity Network
STRATEGY SESSIONS NOTES (DRAFT)
questions, changes, or comments contact firstname.lastname@example.org
BORDER STRATEGY SESSION
1) 'La gran marcha fronteriza 'flor y canto' - Conduct a Border Walk during spring break 2007, from San Diego, CA. to Brownsville, TX, with a central meeting point in El Paso, TX.
2) Conduct border tours
3) Support local humanitarian efforts along the borders of Mexico and Canada
4) Construct memorials for the deaths in the dessert along the U.S./Mexican border, estimated at 4,000 to 10,000 over the last several years.
CAMP DEMOCRACY STRATEGY SESSION
1) September 7, Immigrant Rights Day at Camp Democracy, includes speakers, tents and programs.
COMMUNITY WORK STRATEGY SESSION
1) Be informed
2) Build capacity of community members
3) Use popular education in the broader community to raise consciousness about:
- Human rights
- The experiences of immigrants
- The economic (and other impacts, political, etc.) of U.S. foreign policy
4) Build on the experiences of May 1st to seek a broader unity that is firmly and uncompromisingly centered on our movement's stated values
5) Build a unified movement of multiple cultures by developing awareness of each others' identities and histories
6) Implement a three-level strategy: local, regional, national
7) Open a reflective dialogue on how we want our movement to define leadership
8) Invite other coalitions to join, based on shared embrace of the movement's basic principles and values
9) Develop a powerful and effective media strategy
DAY LABORER ORGANIZING STRATEGY SESSION
1) Support day laborer centers
2) Implement day worker defense. For example: sanctuaries, with cities and towns becoming sanctuaries; support day workers with wage claims.
3) Implement popular education programs
4) Implement English classes with a focus on political education.
5) Provide opportunities for day laborers to participate in community activities.
6) Increase the interaction between day laborers and progressive groups.
7) Support fair labor standards here and abroad for all workers.
DEPORTATION AND DETENTION STRATEGY SESSION
1) Identify which sectors of the population are being detained
2) Connect local work on this issue with international efforts
3) Educate communities on this problem
4) Establish networks of community support for victims of deportation and detention (detention watch network)
5) Educate police on the difference in mandate and powers between the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) and local police force
6) Raise consciousness on the seriousness of detention and deportation as an issue; bring this issue to the forefront of other mobilizations around immigrant rights. [Everyone deserves justice, their day in court, and to stay with their families.]
7) Organize marches to jails and deportation centers (over 20,000 detained a day).
8) Support and mobilize around the European Social Forum's actions against deportation and detention, on October 7th, 2007
DIRECT ACTION STRATEGY SESSION
1) Plan and possibly conduct a direct action on Sensenbrenner's office.
2) Plan and possibly conduct a direct action on crossing the border
3) Plan and possibly conduct mass actions at the U.S. borders
4) Support and spread the movement giving sanctuary to immigrants
5) Initiate a 'Know your Rights' campaign
6) Support Camp Democracy
EDUCATION AND OUTREACH STRATEGY SESSION
1) Develop a unified message: remain consistent
2) Identify overarching themes:
- U.S. foreign policy
- U.S. war industry
- Economic analysis
- History: waves of immigration to the U.S. and movements for immigrant rights
3) Develop a common analysis and critique: What is causing immigration'
4) Be cognizant of the audiences we craft the message for (for example : farmers, churches, Asian Americans, African Americans).
5) Using our 10 points of unity in outreach work to other communities
- Humanize immigrants - stories: provide concrete examples
- Socialize the message: Use language(s) to open dialogues
- Make education and outreach be part of movement building
- Work toward a unified message and coalition that is effective and progressive
INTERFAITH STRATEGY SESSION
1) Build bridges and create dialogue between and among faith based organizations and leaders who have already explicitly expressed their support for immigrants.
2) Create an 'easy to follow' study guide to inform and train faith-based organizations, leaders, clergy, and congregations not already involved in the immigrant rights movement (or who are in non-immigrant communities). (Additionally, reach out to LGBT friendly clergy).
3) Search and create database for list of faith-based organizations involved with significantly large immigrant populations.
4) Schedule to contact clergy. Provide informational material, ask for support, and conduct follow-up.
LABOR STRATEGY SESSION
1) Work toward unionization for all workers.
2) Reclaim May Day (May 1st) for workers' movement.
3) Build on existing international labor solidarity (Resistance to NAFTA and free-trade).
4) Reach out to immigrants for official support and to back the reclamation of Labor Day.
5) Continue highlighting the political and economic reasons workers are forced to leave their countries of origin to live and work in the United States.
LEGISLATION STRATEGY SESSION
1) Kill pending anti-immigrant legislation
2) Be present at national hearings and press conferences
3) Conduct one-on-one lobbying
4) Conduct media outreach on our legislative efforts
5) Do not support legislation that does not resonate with the movement's principles and values: 'No bill is better than a bad bill'
6) Recognize and frame issues in a pro-immigrant stance
7) Work towards the creation of model legislation that resonates with the movement's principles and values
8) Advocate for addressing the problems of the present undocumented population and also future undocumented people
9) Advocate for the removal of the time bar for 'legalization'
10) Advocate for increased visa availability
11) Advocate the extension of the 245i LIFE Act (Legal Immigration & Family Equity Act) [This act allows aliens who have applied for an adjustment of status to remain in the U.S. while their application is processed. The 245i program expired on April 30, 2001. There is still pending legislation in the U.S. Congress to extend this deadline.]
12) Advocate for the removal of visa backlogs
LGBT STRATEGY SESSION
1) Include LGBT families in legislative proposals for immigrant rights
2) Advocate for the HIV ban to be removed from visa requirements in current policy and future legislation.
3) Advocate for the right to sponsor same-sex partners and families under the 'Uniting Americans Act'
March 25th and May 1st STRATEGY SESSION
1) Begin working toward the Labor Day (September 2nd and 4th) mobilization: Dignity, Hope, and Respect for All Workers. [People are getting restless and want action; channel this restlessness toward this mobilization].
2) Institutionalize May 1st movement in the U.S.
3) Boycott the Empire
4) Work towards building a 'Workers' Party'
5) Support and mobilize around the European Social Forum's actions against deportation and detention, on October 7th, 2007
6) Support all Labor Day mobilizations across the country.
MULTI-ETHNIC ORGANIZING STRATEGY SESSION: Part 1
1) Education campaign
2) Develop our own language
3) Develop political awareness around human and civil rights and a unified human struggle for these rights
4) Critique the neoliberal paradigm that facilitates the free movement of capital across national borders, but criminalizes the free movement of people in search of survival
5) Engage in a multicultural celebration of our differences and similarities
6) Employ multiple tools to disseminate our movement's message (for example, the Internet)
MULTI-ETHNIC ORGANIZING STRATEGY SESSION: Part 2
1) Connect and organize different ethnic communities on the basis of shared issues
2) Reframe the discourse; develop our own vocabulary: 'amnesty' and 'legalization' are not useful words, for they imply a criminalization of immigrants, which contradicts our movement's values. Build from these beginning ideas for a new discourse: 'regularizacion' [Spanish: normalization; it is not a cognate, it does NOT mean 'regulation']; "We want full permanent residency and eventual full citizenship rights"
3) Remain uncompromisingly centered on our "Points of Unity"
4) Educate on historical patterns of racism
5) Prioritize the working-class: keep this a working-class based movement even as we make coalitions with other classes (professional, academic, etc)
6) Launch a campaign for human dignity
7) Prioritize education
8) Involve the participation of 'non-immigrant' allies (white-based groups)
STUDENT/YOUTH STRATEGY SESSION
1) Develop strategies to move students and youth to be concerned and responsive to the immigrant movement and its issues. For example - use popular culture to spread the message; use the Internet as a tool for organizing.
2) Develop curricula to educate youth, using 'dual education'.
3) Build a sustainable movement by connecting youth to campus/school activism as well as community activism.
4) Frame the immigration issue as one piece of a greater anti-oppression effort involving both education and organizing.
5) Visibly incorporate youth into leadership positions in the movement.
WOMEN'S CAUCAUS STRATEGY SESSION
1) Outreach with National Organization of Women
2) Educate on the disproportionate negative effects of current and future immigration policy on women and children.
3) Advocate for permanent residency to be granted to 'stay-at-home man/mom'
4) Supports Violence Against Women Act
5) Advocate for universal access to health care for all regardless of immigration status
6) Advocate for enforcement of fair labor laws
7) Advocate to protect women and children against human trafficking
8) Express and materialize our solidarity with the women of Juarez, Mexico
9) Supports U.S. Citizen Protection of Children Act
10) Insist on a full investigation of the Mariana Islands' prostitution crisis
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