“One day, we will have our moment”, fellow immigrant rights activist Michael Nazario said to me as he patted me on the back. It was February 2012, and we were both looking down the steps from the Lincoln Memorial. For both of us, it was the first time we had seen the renown monument. The experience was breathtaking. After admiring the monument, I couldn’t help but feel the weight of Lincoln’s history. His words, inscribed on the side walls towering over us reminded everyone that equality and freedom could be possible. The experience was electrifying enough that it almost sent chills down my spine, leaving me virtually speechless. As we walked down the stairs to resume our sight-seeing through D.C., it was as if instinctively Michael had read my mind. I knew that he sensed exactly what I was feeling.
We had both just come off of a week-long training session that was organized by the New Organizing Institute. The training, led by Chris Torres, was NOI’s first-ever training focused specifically on online organizing for immigration issues. It brought together immigrant rights activists from across the country. Organizers came from all walks of life: African-American, Latino, White, Asian, Arab, and everything in between. The training was a bonding experience for many of us, who had met for the first time, as was the case with Michael and me. After many years of the online organizing world being critically absent of diversity, it was truly exhilarating to see a serious investment in organizers of color. For far too often, in the past advocacy organizations have been notorious for paying lip service to racial equality while at the same time shying away from making serious investments in engaging people on issues of high importance to communities of color.
The leadership that the New Organizing Institute demonstrated by bringing to D.C. a community of immigrant rights activist to build much needed capacity should be commended and supported. As CREDO Mobile customer, I was able to support to cast my vote for NOI to receive a donation. If you’re not a CREDO Mobile subscriber, you can of course donate directly to the New Organizing Institute at their website. You can also follow the instructions in the message from CREDO below:
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I hope that other progressive organizations follow NOI’s lead and start to engage on issues that matter communities to color in a more serious way, like on immigration.
If you are interested in applying for any of the New Organizing Institute’s trainings, be sure to visit their website.