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The People Affected

The subject of DACA is more than a piece of legislation, it is more than statistics, it is the stories of our friends and families whose struggle often gets criticized for having come to the states illegally. Those who do not qualify for DACA are left with an unnecessarily more difficult way to achieve citizenship and are excluded from an idea of ‘exceptional undocumented youth’. This idea of exceptionalism comes from the many requirements that a person must meet in order to qualify for the DREAM Act. These requirements include having at least a High School diploma, having no serious convictions, and being of ‘good moral character’. These requirements feed the narrative of the good versus the bad immigrant. These ideas and labels promote division among the immigrant community and create a false perception of the undocumented and documented immigrant community.

Our families and friends have DACA, others don’t, but either way, they are human and are deserving of respect and dignity. Their stories play an important role in the grander immigrant story. 

Audrey lives in Las Vegas and identifies as a DREAMer. For her, like many others, the term brought with it a sense of belonging in a world where she felt as though there was no place for her. Being born in another country and brought to the states as a young child she grew up in the states, lives in the states, has a life in the states, the states and life here are all she knows;

“ I don’t feel like an immigrant, this is my home, this my space, this is my culture, this is all I know, I’m not an immigrant. I don’t know anything else.”Audrey, DREAMer and Make the Road NV’s (MRNV) economic organizer.

For those who do not qualify for DACA, the reality is far more daunting as they have no protections against deportations, are left with a more difficult way to citizenship, have to find jobs willing to pay them in cash, and are oftentimes subject to abuse. Due to their fears of being deported, these abuses sometimes go unreported. This unfortunate reality is lived on a daily basis by many. An MRNV member identifies as undocumented and ‘feels as though there is a target on her back’. The term DREAMer to her reflects a dream that she doesn’t want to be her life. She wants it to be her reality, a path to citizenship, a safe job, a safe place for her family. 

DACAmented folks often are met with questions about their status and are criticized for not being a citizen. These questions may come with positive intentions, however, they produce emotions of frustration and of hopelessness as a result of the difficulty to navigate the immigration system,

“People have been fed an idea that [the immigration system] works and that it is a straight line to citizenship, but it isn’t.” Lalo Montoya, political director of MRNV, member of the DACAmented community.

When asked about what the documented community can do to help the fight for citizenship, Lalo “Be an agent of change with me [ I encourage you] to imagine a country that doesn’t yet exist. Fight with me to make it happen. I need to know that you are gonna shield me from deportation, that you are gonna be a part of the movement, [not] just be a bystander. I’m not asking you to lead [the movement], I’m asking you to [help] fuel it. Reimagine the country as what it should be. Don’t just watch it happen, be a part of it. Don’t feel that you can’t speak up because you are not directly impacted.”

DACA is in no way perfect, but it does alleviate some of the fears that come with being undocumented. Our community deserves to work in a safe environment, earn good wages, have equal access to help, and should be able to live without fear for what may come. Our families are not at fault for the lack of a path to citizenship. This week we want our DACAmented family to know that we hear you, we fight alongside you, and we will stand with you and before you in this fight to citizenship, this path to dignity and respect. Join our fight and consider donating to the DACA fund to help those in our community renew their DACA. 

Call to action for DACAmented community- urge those who can vote to vote, don’t give up, we are with you!

For info on immigrant justice and MRNV please contact us at amigxs@maketheroadnv.org 

To donate to the DACA fund:  http://bit.ly/DonateMRNV  

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Our families depend on the funding provided by the government as a result of the Census count. The census funds things like the school lunch program, WIC, Medicaid/medicare, public transportation, Health care centers, food stamps, and so many more programs and services that help keep our communities safe and healthy. 

All these programs receive funding according to how many people live in the state. To determine how many people live in the state the government issues a census every ten years.

Every census cycle the Latinx community is severely undercounted resulting in less funding being put into our community. 

The census causes fear in many families since it asks for information about those living in your home, especially following the Trump Administration’s attempt to include the citizenship question. However, the census is 100% secure, the information is protected for 75 years. It will never ask for social security numbers, immigration status, or payment. If you receive anything claiming to be from the census asking for this information do not reply. Information gathered in the census is not shared with immigration. 

We encourage everyone to fill out the census this week as the last day to fill it out is fast approaching. September 30th is the last day to fill it out and there will not be an extension.

Help get our community the funding we deserve. If you need help filling out your census or have any questions about the census please reach out to us on any of our social media or via email at amigxs@maketheroadnv.org 

For help filling out the census please sign up for our Censo Y Cena, where we will walk you through the census over dinner: https://bit.ly/CensoyCenaform 

We all count! Todxs Contamos!

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Hispanic heritage month has begun and here at Make the Road NV, we have decided to elevate and celebrate every aspect of our heritage by making it Latinx Heritage month; the definition of Hispanic is “relating to Spain or to Spanish-speaking countries” purposely leaving out many indigenous people in Latin America that never spoke Spanish. As a step toward inclusion, we have included all our Latino/a/x brothers, sisters, transgenders, and gender-nonconforming kin into the celebration. We are brown, we are proud, and we are familia. For the duration of the month from September 15th and through October 15th, we will be sharing our stories and celebrating our roots where power and beauty were first instilled in our hearts. We hope you join us on this journey of learning to embrace, love, share and explore our heritage as it holds many beauties in the forms of art, music, poetry, clothes, food, and life.

We are a collection of the stories waiting to be heard, and now we have the responsibility to those who will come after us to tell those stories. 

– Who we are –

We are AfroLatinx people whose roots lie in a land that has influenced many other cultures. We are the people of music, art, and family that stretches to every part of the planet. We are la gente del mundo, the sun-kissed children. 

We are indigenous people who remember the days when the sun came over the horizon. We sang the first songs and painted the first sunsets. Our people cultivated the land and shared its fruits with those who came from across the waters. We held this land and gave birth to a new people, a new life, a new beginning. We are proud to be.

We are proud to have seen and to share the tales of when the stars took their places.  

We are a beautiful collection of the power of unity but we must not let ourselves be divided by old ways of thinking, colorism, homophobia, transphobia, and machismo weaken our strength. Rhetoric like ‘mejorar la raza’ damage the self-image and must STOP. Unknowingly, we have accepted and participated in colorism with assigning nicknames to our families and friends that describe their color. ‘prieto/a’, ‘guero/a’, ‘indio/a’, moreno/a’, etc… these names and these ideas of one tone being superior or preferred to the other are what inhibit our communities from being truly united. This Latinx Heritage Month we want to begin the work to break down these damaging views so that future generations of Latinx folks are treated with dignity and respect. 

In the US, many of us found the borders move around us, while others had to sacrifice their lives from all parts of Latin America to cross harsh terrain and endure discrimination to provide a better life for their families. We are survivors. We work from the fields to your own homes, to the kitchens of your favorite restaurants. We withstand hate and xenophobic rhetoric because we want a better life and future for our families that are filled with opportunity and life filled with dignity and respect. Our culture is in our blood and home is where we plant our roots in. We’re immigrant strong and we’re here to stay.

We invite you to join us as we explore every section of our heritage. All are seen, everyone is included, all are wanted and all are needed. We are all part of the story of our familia. We are continuing the traditions of our roots. We are unified with our brothers and sisters contributing to the many colors and branches of our family tree. Our beginnings are bloody, but our future has never been brighter. Our contribution to the global society has never been bigger. We are la gente unida, we remain a pueblo true to its roots. Welcome to Latinx Heritage Month.

Follow our Instagram during Latinx Heritage Month to see our DACAmented member leaders share their day during our Wednesdays IG Story TAKEOVERS! Make sure to check out our Social Media for important information and upcoming event details.

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Las Vegas, NV – On Tuesday, Sept. 1 at 10:30 am, activists united for a press conference and caravan from Make the Road Nevada’s office around our community during a nationwide day of uprisings to protest the Senate’s failures to provide relief during the biggest eviction crisis the U.S. has ever faced. 

Unless there is immediate government action there will be unprecedented mass evictions. Our members will be displaced, courts will be overwhelmed & the pandemic will worsen because our communities are unable to shelter in place. It is time for our representation to ACT, Mark Amodei, What are you doing to ensure Nevadan’s aren’t evicted once the Moratorium is lifted? What are you doing to ensure the safety of those risking their life for the sake of the economy? What are you doing for those who gave you their vote in hopes you would stand with them? -Anthony Giron, MRNV Member Leader

The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the national economy, with 631,858 Nevadans filing for unemployment over the past five months. Although Governor Sisolak has extended the eviction moratorium for 45 days, this only postpones the inevitable. As many as 40 million people could be kicked out of their homes in the coming months. Real relief is long overdue.

Make the Road Nevada members joined thousands across the nation to demand this relief. They call on the Senate to cancel – not postpone – rent, to reinstate the $600 unemployment insurance many in now-closed industries were depending on to survive, including all workers in any relief or stimulus, provide free testing, help small businesses with grants – not loans, and make sure our students can learn safely. The anger and frustration are reaching a breaking point as people continue without relief and the Senate has stalled. The Las Vegas protest was organized by Make the Road Nevada as part of a national uprising organized by The Center for Popular Democracy, CPD Action, and Unemployed Action, a movement of 15,000 workers who lost their jobs due to COVID-19. You can find pictures and videos here.  

“Stop evictions. Help our residents without a home. We owe it to the 183,000 Americans that have fallen to COVID-19, to start making steps in the right direction. As it is our responsibility to voice our concerns, it is theirs to uphold. Rent is not due, relief is. Thank you.”Abraham Lugo, YPP Member Leader

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