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Make the Road Nevada was present at the Dia de Los Muertos with Yo Soy 132 event at Gary Reese Freedom Park last week, November 1st and 2nd, 2021. Our Digital Organizer, Crystal Lugo photographed these beautiful women painted like Catrinas as they took part in a contest.

The event was decorated with ofrendas and little girls dressed wearing traditional Mexican huipiles in the spirit of the celebration.

Check these images out of the event!

 

 

 

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We want to congratulate these young people who have joined UNLV’s student government this semester as they embark on their journeys to create a more inclusive campus. 

Young People, when informed and empowered, 

when they realize that what they do truly make 

a difference, can indeed change the world.” 

-Jane Goodall

 

Many young people are inclined to think they do not have a voice. There’s a saying that those who don’t have a voice are spoken for by someone else, mostly someone who has power. 

 

“Every single person, every individual HAS a voice, but they aren’t being heard or listened to,” says Maryam Raja, a first-generation American and Hijabi Muslim who was elected Senator for UNLV’s student government this fall semester.

 

She believes, and she knows how vital a diverse community is and how neglected their opinions and ideas are. She hopes to change the narrative that there are people without voices, all of us have voices, and we have the will and power to make a change, no matter the background one may come from. By being part of the student body, she feels she can reflect the change for all students. Instead of using her position to expand her resume for herself, her reasons to be active in the student body are to solve issues with student leaders and be a representative of the diverse student body. Maryam knows people can take a step forward in their community to make the changes they want to see. Some of the changes Maryam has considered taking the initiative on are menstrual inequity, helping those with trouble obtaining feminine hygiene products. She also plans to implement a transportation waiver system that will allow students to commute to and from campus, relieving them from financial issues. Another plan is to create a support system for students affected by the pandemic through a workshop.

 

Another young student, Abraham Lugo, Vice President of UNLV’s student government, a DACA recipient, who is bisexual, has stated he will never forget where he came from and has accomplished having undocumented students be seen. 

“No matter what I do, or position I am in, or who I’m advocating for, it makes it impossible for me as a representative, as a person, to forget who I am.”

In this generation of labels, Abraham thanks his parents, for giving him the morals he has today. For him, it has been a struggle with all of the barriers that being an immigrant but he has never considered as a block in his path. Abraham took notice of how there were no scholarships for undocumented students. So he took the initiative to write legislation, and now there are scholarships for undocumented individuals at UNLV. 

 

Both of these fantastic young people of color will continue to remember their roots and use their identities as tools to bring the community together. Their voices and the need to make changes for the student body will lead them to do far greater things for the future.

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Three days filled with actions took place in the past few weeks in Washington, DC. Each day was filled with the storytelling of directly impacted folks who have bravely fought for their rights in each of their respective states. Now, we have all joined forces yet again, as we have in years past, to demand a pathway to citizenship for all the 11 million people who currently reside in the United States. Decades of activism and sacrifice have culminated to this very point in history. Our gente are chanting, singing, dancing, and telling their stories in hopes that our elected officials listen to them instead of an unelected position whose opinion is simply that, an opinion. 

 

Our team went to DC and marched and chanted in an effort to have their voices transcend through the walls of the capitol and into the ears of the elected officials whose promises have fallen flat. Our team returned with a sense of anger and empowerment:

 

“It was both empowering and angering to be a part of the movement in the fight for citizenship for all. I saw many others doing the same as me. Walking miles in the sun, holding signs, loudly chanting while dehydrated. But we never gave up.

 

 It was sad because I know the politicians we were directing our chants to, were in an office with air conditioning or at home with their families, feeling secure. 

 

We work so hard to be heard but we’re being ignored right now.” -Kathia Sotelo Calderon, a DACA recipient who came to the states at the young age of just 7 years old. 

 

“Lobbying in Washington D.C. as an undocumented person gave me a sense of assertiveness, a right to have a public existence in a country that does not consider me part of its fabric, at least on paper. I have been living in the United States for 30 years and still do not have status. However, the impact of going to the capital of the United States of America will stay with me forever. 

 

And if in the process, we get something done, it won’t be because the governing powers wanted it, it will be because we organized and forced our government to fulfill our true needs.

 

It takes a lot of courage to come out of the shadows and tell the whole world that you are undocumented, it takes even more courage to get on a plane, travel over 2,000 miles, and demand to members of congress that they render you visible and fulfill their promise of providing citizenship for millions. That is agency.” -Rico Ocampo, a DACA recipient who came to the states at the young age of 3 years old. 

 

The fight won’t stop until our gente have access to a pathway to citizenship! Our people are fighting. Our people have fought for decades. They are true Americans. They are true champions. When the people rise up, the government trembles.

 

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Let’s get something straight: Immigrants are people too. They have needs. They have families. They are in search of a better life. The situation currently happening along the Southern Border with Haitian migrants is a crisis. A crisis that needs compassion and humanity to be at the forefront of all the efforts to help migrants. The United States, The American Dream, everything that this nation claims to stand for – inclusivity, a life with dignity and respect, the ability to move freely and have a safe home to live in – this is what migrants coming to our country long for.

“Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”  – Emma Lazarus, 1883 

This sonnet calls to the world and as a nation. The United States accepted this obligation many years ago but now when our fellow man has come to our shores, we turn them away and meet them with racism and disrespect. 

Throughout history, the Haitian people have been used as pawns in political and social games and have grown distrustful of those who claim to want to help. Currently, the island and all its people are still living in the wake of the assassination of the President earlier this year. Now, the people are not only facing these struggles but also environmental challenges. The island has been riddled with earthquake after the earthquake along with tropical storms. Even though all of these things have happened, the island and its people still sing, they still dance, they still live. 

As they come to the United States, we must remember the help our families needed when they came from their homelands. Immigrants are people. As many organizations and many folks reach out to the community in an effort to help, let’s remind each other that Haitians are a strong community. That they, just like our families that came here before them, will make our existing communities stronger and more vibrant. 

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How far have you gone to protect your family? How far would you travel? Who would you face to ensure that your children could spend another day with you?

Well, our gente has traveled miles. They have faced police and entire administrations to defend themselves and to fight for their neighbors. They have braved an entire country that criminalizes and dehumanizes them and their experiences to provide for their families on a daily basis. After so long, they continue. They continue to fight. They continue to raise their voices. They refuse to be defeated. 

This week the Parliamentarian ruled against creating a pathway to citizenship. With this ruling folks all over the political process believe that the fight for citizenship is over, but our gente does not take no for an answer. Our gente is taking to the streets of DC this week to welcome back congress after their recess. Their welcome consists of marches outside the capitol and around DC. Chants are ricocheting from the walls and windows of the capital city because our people can’t wait another year.  Our people are uniting across the country to fight for each other. To fight for security. To fight for their right to live a life of dignity and with respect. 

From Nevada, Rico, Lalo, Areli, and Marvin are joining their voices to the call for our elected officials to develop a new plan in which millions of people in the states have a path to citizenship.

Rico, a DACA recipient, a father, a husband, a friend, has dedicated his life to the cause, to organizing his community into participating in the political process to ensure that the political process truly reflects the interests of the people.

Lalo, a DACA recipient, a father, a friend, a partner, works day in and day out to ensure that his community has access to fair housing conditions and is treated fairly by their landlords while also fighting to educate the community on their rights.

Arieli, a mother, a partner, an immigrant, came to the states in search of safety. Her search for safety led her to a space where she can use her story and her voice to educate others and to advocate for a more inclusive and more secure future for everyone in her community.

Marvin, a friend, a son, an advocate, has used his voice in school board meetings and in demonstrations to advocate for the rights of students and their families. 

These powerful, educated, passionate voices are marching, demonstrating, and like Rep. John Lewis said, ‘getting into good trouble’ in DC. Their voices, their strength is a direct result of the support of the community. Nevada has a very large Latinx population and with that collective strength, they march on. From Nevada, we wish them peace, protection, and good vibes as they march for our rights. In Nevada, we will be cheering them on as they make history during Latinx Heritage Month. El Pueblo Unido Jamas Sera Vencido! Si Se Puede!

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Thursday, August 19, 2021, | The Youth Power Project and partners took to the streets to continue demanding of the Clark County School District to reallocate funds from the CCSDPD back into the education of our students and the hiring of mental health professionals, counselors, school nurses, and college advisors who are in desperate need on our campuses. At the action, we heard heartbreaking testimonies from both folks present, and those who unfortunately live in fear on account of police presence on their campuses.

Our young people have drafted a plan for the reallocation of funds, but the School District has ignored them and their suggestions even when they attend board meetings. Our young folks are met with racist, xenophobic, homophobic, hecklers at board meetings and on top of being exposed to this hatred, they are pushed to the very limit of the meeting, if they are ever acknowledged by the board at all. Although they have been unable to be heard at board meetings, they are regaining control with the help of their community and parents.

These young folks are our future and they are shaping it to their liking.

Our role as adults, their allies, is to listen to them, to push them forward when they are pushed back, and to help amplify their voices loud enough so that those in power can’t ignore them. Join the youth in their efforts to shape the future of their education, not only for themselves but for every student who comes after them. Join the fight to create a better educational experience for your own children. 

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Our BIPOC communities are facing a challenge like no other. The pandemic and the vaccination efforts have left our communities vulnerable to a deadly virus that sees no difference in people or shows any mercy on account of healthcare availability. Make the Road Nevada has partnered with Immunize Nevada to take the vaccine to where our gente are. Our team and that of Immunize Nevada are dedicated to keeping our community safe. These past few months we have had 2 vaccine clinics where people were able to come and be attended in their native language and were given access to the vaccine and other resources by caring individuals who are willing to go above and beyond to make sure we all come out of this pandemic together. 

At our offices on Lamb and Bonanza, the heart of the Eastside, we saw our gente come with their families from all over to get vaccinated. One of the most common comments our team received was that they felt safer coming to our offices and being with our team than going elsewhere. This brings us so much joy to hear that our gente trust us to care for them on all fronts. We will continue to work for our community and hopefully soon, we can all be together again. Adelante Juntos! Si Se Puede!

 

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June is Immigrant Heritage Month—it’s important that we acknowledge the value of the immigrant experience and the importance of their contributions to our daily lives. Their stories are filled with strength and sacrifice in hopes of a better future for themselves and their descendants. Immigrants are brave and strong and they, unfortunately, face so many hurdles in pursuit of a better future. These hurdles were made abundantly clear at the start of the pandemic when Immigrants were excluded from federal financial help though they were actively working to maintain this country at a time where most folks could not work. They filled the supermarket shelves and picked the food we ate. As a result of their labor, they showed once again, how essential they are to the very fabric of our country and its functionality. Make the Road NV and our partners worked together to produce a report of how exactly the pandemic was impacting the immigrant community in Nevada and that report is available here

 

Our Immigrant community is actively trying to better this state and this nation to include them in relief now, and to be included in a direct pathway to citizenship. The immigration system is broken, this is no secret, but it is also incredibly difficult to navigate and can be frightening at times for families. In spite of there not being a pathway to citizenship, immigrants are involved members of society who advocate for their community and themselves. They teach others to love themselves and to not be afraid to speak up for themselves. Their stories are incredible. Our website has so many of these stories and we encourage you to take a minute and read them. They will not only bring you joy, but they will inspire you to join the fight for Immigrant Rights. As we celebrate Immigrant Heritage Month, remember their stories, and don’t forget to share yours.

 

Check out our new video in collaboration with PLAN NV.

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May Day is an internationally recognized day dedicated to the celebration of the working class and laborers. Protests and demonstrations with the purpose of demanding the better treatment of workers in the global community come to fruition worldwide. Within our own community, we have used May Day in previous years as a day to demand protections and the better treatment of Immigrant workers who are essential to the wellbeing of our community as a whole. Though this is the fight on a daily basis, May Day is the day where people across the world use their power collectively to demand change. Calling for shorter work hours and an increase in pay for workers is at the heart of May Day. Dignity and respect in the workplace are fundamental needs for workers that are being overlooked in many places. Our communities deserve better. 

In previous years we have been in marches, in demonstrations, out within our community, but due to COVID-19, this year was very different. We organized remotely and had conversations with members of our community about the importance of knowing their rights and of exercising those rights. Our immigrant community has inalienable worker’s rights that protect them against the mistreatment of employers.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 20, 2021

Bold Actions Needed for a Bold and Progressive Immigration Bill

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA — Today is a new day for many people, today, the Biden-Harris administration is in the white house and has an opportunity to make things right for our country. In response to the immigration bill being proposed by President Joe Biden which is a very ambitious and comprehensive immigration package that will potentially help 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States, Make the Road Nevada issued the following:

Areli Sanchez, Member Leader for MRNV

“I am a mother of two who has gone through so much during this pandemic, having to juggle being sick with covid and working to make ends meet is not easy. Watching the inauguration gave me a sigh of relief. We have fought hard to be able to see this happen, after going four years through a harmful anti-immigrant agenda that created fear in our communities, we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s time to transform our outdated immigration system into one that is fair, humane, and functioning.”

Leo Murrieta, Director for Make the Road Nevada

“Though not perfect, this legislation embraces the talents and contributions of our nation’s immigrants. Many will remember that immigrants have faced harsh political realities and consequences long before Donald Trump became President. Our families have been a political football for too long, forced to endure as this nation’s political scapegoats whenever convenient for politicians while their very lives hang in the balance. If passed, Dreamers whom we have supported in many different ways at Make the Road will finally get an opportunity to become U.S citizens. As we continue to hear more from our new government, we will continue to keep them accountable for proposals like these to go through Congress successfully, and for issues to be fixed in our current immigration system, which will make it more likely for this reform to be approved. ”

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Make the Road Nevada (MRNV) builds the power of Latino and working-class communities to achieve dignity and justice through organizing, policy innovation, transformative education, and survival services

Download the Press Release Here

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