The following post comes from HRC Diversity Coordinator Hyacinth Alvaran:
Under the ya es hora iCiudadania! civic engagement banner, Human Rights Campaign steering committees and volunteers in Las Vegas, San Antonio, Dallas, New York, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Washington, D.C., partnered with local and national organizations throughout the month of July (July 10th – 24th) to hold workshops providing assistance to the immigrant community in their applications for U.S. citizenship. We thank our leaders and volunteers in these communities for continuing to build bridges with the immigrant community, and enthusiastically commend our diversity co-chairs and other steering committee leaders for their impeccable leadership in this important endeavor. According to the Department of Homeland Security, an estimated 8.2 million legal permanent residents are eligible to become U.S. citizens. Of this total, an estimated 3.8 million, or almost half (46%), are Latino/a.
We are also proud to add Las Vegas, San Antonio and Dallas to the family of steering committees involved in the ya es hora ¡Ciudadania! coalition. Since July 2009 and through the active leadership of its steering committees, HRC has grown its participation in ya es hora to 17 cities. Below are statements from Gayl Newton, our HRC San Antonio steering committee diversity co-chair, and John Leonard, one of our HRC Dallas / Ft. Worth steering committee diversity co-chairs, about their experiences in their local citizenship workshops on July 10th and 17th, respectively, and a picture from the citizenship workshop in New York, courtesy of one of our HRC Greater New York diversity co-chairs, Marilyn Abalos:
“We had eight volunteers. Most of them were first time volunteers. It was a very positive experience for all of us. The Permanent Resident applicants were mostly prepared and eligible to proceed with the processing…” – Gayl Newton
“HRC Dallas / Ft. Worth partnered with fellow ya es hora coalition member Proyecto Inmigrante from Ft. Worth in a citizenship workshop on Saturday, July 17, 2010, in Arlington, TX. While volunteer turnout was not as high as expected, our presence certainly helped with completion of 95 citizenship forms for Legal Permanent Residents looking to become naturalized citizens of the United States of America. It was a productive and illuminating day for our volunteers, including myself, Rachel Stonecipher, and Brian Browning. It is important to the continued work of HRC to be part of these broad coalitions, and we were excited to be part of this event.” – John Leonard
Finally, we heartily congratulate the Las Vegas steering committee for spearheading the coalition-building and planning behind the Las Vegas citizenship workshop, which took months of intentional relationship-building and planning, and the Phoenix steering committee for holding strong in their commitment to and participation in their local citizenship workshops and continued partnerships with immigrant communities despite local tensions caused by SB1070. The Las Vegas workshop attracted over 100 participants with 52 of them completing the whole application process, and the Phoenix workshop attracted approximately 700 participants. The Las Vegas workshop is also one of the largest coalitions in the ya es hora iCiudadania! campaign, representing 18 organizations. Previous Back Story posts about the Las Vegas citizenship workshop can be found here, and on the Phoenix citizenship workshop here.