Around 230 people attended the annual meeting of Voces de la Frontera on Saturday, December 5th in South Division high school in Milwaukee. They came from Racine, Whitewater, Madison, Kenosha, Green Bay, Lake Geneva and other parts of the state to participate in an important dialogue on the future of the pro-immigrant rights movement.
The meeting opened with powerful messages from Senator Feingold and Senator Kohl read by their representatives. Senator Kohl praised the great work by the students in supporting the DREAM Act, which would legalize immigrant students who want to pursue higher education, and he recognized their role in motivating him to co-sponsor the legislation.
Senator Feingold also spoke strongly about the necessity to pass immigration reform that respects the rights of workers and offers a path to citizenship. His message was a call to action to continue our efforts in the struggle to win legalization; saying, “I am motivated and I hope you are too.”
We have learned a lot in this long struggle to achieve legalization and one of the reasons we failed
in 2007 was because of the kind of legislation that was introduced (for example, the cost was so high that very few would have been able to legalize their status).
For this reason, at the annual meeting, we reviewed the most controversial provisions in the past which are being considered for new legislation. Afterwards, members and community participants voted in favor or against such provisions and offered alternatives. This information will be collected and shared with our Wisconsin representatives and with the national network to inform the legislative process. We will also share this information with members at our next membership meeting in January.
As a democratically-run organization, we want the participation of all members on the most important decisions of the movement and of the organization. After voting on the provisions in immigration reform; the elections for the steering committee of the organization were held.
We also discussed lobbying strongly over the next three months. We know that Congressman Gutierrez will introduce his bill on December 17th and Senator Schumer in January. One of the activities in which everyone can add their grain of sand is in collecting postcards, available in our office that we will deliver on December 18th “National Day of the Migrant” to the offices of our Congressional representatives and Senators.
In these times we need mass participation, which you have always provided, to finally achieve the justice, dignity, and respect that we deserve.
Our worst enemies are fear and the failure to take action in critical moments such as these.
Today more than ever we need to stay united and reach out to the entire community so that every activity we do is like a giant wave that will carry us to see the dawn of a better future.
This post is also available in: Spanish