(Milwaukee, WI) – This past weekend, Representative Gwen Moore, Angela Lang of Black Leaders Organizing Communities (BLOC) and Reverend Greg Lewis of Souls to the Polls stood with Voces de la Frontera in demanding relief, recovery, and citizenship for immigrants during this ongoing pandemic.
Since President Biden’s inauguration in January, Voces staff and members have been organizing tirelessly to get our demands met from President Biden and the 117th U.S. Congress during Biden’s first 100 days in office, which will end on May 1st, 2021. In the lead up to May Day, it was powerful to have Representative Moore, BLOC, and Souls to the Polls stand with us and emphasize that the fight for just pandemic relief is a Black and Brown issue. At the press event on Saturday, Reverend Lewis said: “When Milwaukee’s Black and Brown communities work together, we have power on our side. Together, we are nearly 60% of Milwaukee’s population. And we have shared experiences in this struggle: the phenomenon of both Black and Latinx voters being cast to the side after the elections pass. The frustration over the lack of follow through from elected officials, the officials that our communities elected. And both of our communities disproportionately have essential workers on the frontlines in this pandemic. Our struggles are linked, and so is our path to liberation.”
Check out this local press coverage of the event. Please share them with your networks!
“Immigrants’ Rights Groups Outline Expectations for Biden Administration” by Quinn Clark for The Shepherd Express.
“UNIFYING AGAINST RACISM: “FREEDOM TOGETHER” ADVOCATES DEMAND CONGRESS TAKE ACTION ON IMMIGRANT RIGHTS” by Lee Matz for The Milwaukee Independent. All photos also by Lee Matz.
To see photos of the event, check out the Flickr photo album “Legalize Essential Workers!” by photographer Joe Brusky for the MTEA.
Finally, below find a PDF attachment of Representative Gwen Moore’s Statement, which was read by Voces de la Frontera Executive Director Christine Neumann-Ortiz on Saturday. Rep. Moore was in Washington DC working on COVID-19 legislation, so was not able to attend the event herself. Note that the statement is two pages long and you have to click the arrow to flip to the second page. You can also find the full text of Rep. Moore’s statement below.
February 26, 2021
“Congresswoman Gwen Moore’s Statement on COVID-19
Relief Bill and Immigration“
Thank you all for the opportunity to speak today. While I cannot be there in person, please know that I am with you in spirit and actively working in Washington to help ensure that the needs of all our communities are being met, in COVID relief and in other legislation that this Congress will consider.
COVID-19 doesn’t care about your immigration status. It takes no note of your citizenship. It is an equal opportunity predator which unfortunately has proved effective at destroying countless lives, having killed over 500,000 in our country, including over 6300 right here in Wisconsin.
Too many essential workers don’t make a living wage. They don’t have paid leave so they don’t really have a choice when it comes to whether to go to work.
The minimum wage increase in the House bill will help provide a much needed pay raise for some of the most essential but underpaid workers. CBO estimates it would provide a raise for 17 million workers and lift almost a million people out of poverty!
I am pleased that the COVID relief package moving through Congress includes provisions to allow more immigrant families to receive stimulus checks. This legislation will ensure mixed status families will qualify to receive payments for each family member with a Social Security Number.
I supported efforts to provide stimulus payments to ITIN holders for example which was not included. I would like for this bill to include the requirement from last’s years HEROES Act to require OSHA to issue a protective standard for workplaces that would protect all workers, including our most essential. But the rules of Reconciliation prevented that provision and many others. Hopefully by early March, I expect the House to start work on moving President Biden’s immigration legislation to address many of the challenges facing our immigration system.
• That bill would create a path to citizenship (legalization) for the 11 million undocumented individuals in the United States including an expedited path for DACA and TPS recipients, expands family-based and employment-based immigration, and provides other critical reforms to the immigration system, among many other changes.
• He has also moved to make clear that vaccination sites are not also
deportation sites, so that folks can go get vaccines without fear of
I stand with you all. We must pass the most inclusive COVID-19 package that we can. I support that legislation and those efforts and will vote for them when it comes before the House.