Minnesota’s DREAMers in Action

A bill introduced in the the Minnesota Legislature this week would open the door to undocumented students brought to the U.S. as young children so that they could access higher education with in-state tuition and financial aid. HF 875/SF 723, authored by Rep. Carlos Mariani and Sen. Sandy Pappas, is an important step toward giving young immigrants the chance to participate fully in the communities they call home. 

Last week, Latino youth in Owatonna prepared to travel to Washington, D.C. to advocate for immigration policy change at the federal level. Read more about the promise of these young activists in this piece by OAP intern Robert McIntosh. He is working with us as part of a the Communicating with New Media course at Metropolitan State University. See photos from his day Centro Campesino here

Most of the time I wouldn’t expect to be humbled by a group of teenagers. When I think of the kinds of things kids want to spend their free time doing, I certainly do not think of preparing to go to Washington, DC to meet congressional representatives and persuade them to change policies affecting their communities.

That is how I spent Presidents’ Day, in awe of a group of kids at Centro Campesino in Owatonna preparing go to DC. On March 6th and 7th hundreds of leaders from Latino nonprofit and civic organizations from around the country will meet with their Congressional representatives and senators as part of National Council of La Raza’s National Latino Advocacy Days on Capitol Hill. During these meetings advocates will have a chance to present some real solutions to the issues that impact the lives of Hispanic Americans.

The Organizing Apprenticeship Project (OAP) was asked to be part of the training to help prepare the young advocates at Centro Campesino for their trip to DC. These young advocates spent the day discussing race and power and the way in which it shapes their communities. They also looked at legislative advocacy and the things necessary to bring about change. I was surprised by the amount of real world policy changes they discussed and the methodical strategy they used to insure that their voices would be heard.

Part of the reason I was so impressed is because when I was I kid I wasn’t concerned with how legislative policy affects education, immigration, health care, and the like. Nobody talked to me about these issues or cared about my opinion. But here in Minnesota, Centro Campesino is reaching out to youth and I can see the impact it’s making. Seeing a group of young people empowered to actively participate in campaigns is nothing short of amazing. They are working to change society for the better by reaching out to policymakers and sharing their concerns. In the process, they’re changing themselves, becoming the leaders that we need for a promising future.

— Robert McIntosh

 

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Action Opportunity: Ban the Box and Limit Access to Juvenile Records

Our allies at Second Chance Coalition are working hard to expand opportunities. Can you help open the door to employment for individuals with a criminal record? How about helping youth move on and access college and job opportunities?

It’s important for legislators to see the community support for these important changes

 Expand Employment Opportunities

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Limit Access to Juvenile Records

The Second Chance Coalition needs YOU to JOIN US on Thursday, February 28 at 12:00 PM in Room 123 at the State Capitol. We have a big day coming up and need folks to show up and show support! Wear your Second Chance t-shirts. Some extras will be available.

This Thursday, February 28, the juvenile hearings privacy bill and ban the box for private employers will be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing starting at 12:00 (Noon) in room 123 of the State Capitol. These bills are Senate Files 286, 361, and 523.

PROTECT YOUTH OPPORTUNITY

The Juvenile Hearings Privacy Bill will protect youth opportunity by limiting the availability of juvenile records. This protects our youth from a potential life-time of stigma that prevents them from gaining access to colleges and universities and prevents them from accessing many employment opportunities. The Juvenile Justice System was designed to protect youth from permanent stigma.

EMPLOY MINNESOTANS TO THEIR FULL POTENTIAL

Ban-the-Box will require employers to stop asking about arrest and conviction records on initial employment applications.This allows many individuals who have made mistakes that opportunity to be considered for employment.Minnesota has the largest racial disparities in unemployment in the nation and Banning the Box will contribute to increased access for employment.Ban-the-Box will also ensure that Minnesotan’s who want to work can work.

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Centro Campesino Youth Prepare to Advocate for Immigration Change in Washington, D.C.

On February 18, 2013, OAP’s Salvador Miranda headed to Owatonna to work with Centro Campesino youth preparing to travel to Washington, D.C. as advocates for immigration change. They will be joining the National Council of La Raza for the National Latino Advocacy Days on March 6-7. Stay tuned for more news soon about this group of young organizers!

Thank you to Robert McIntosh for documenting the training day in Owatonna. See more photos on OAP’s Facebook page. Read about the day here.

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