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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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Our families need fundamental things to thrive; one of these fundamental things is a home. In the state of Nevada, there are two ways families are forcibly removed from their homes; through a summary eviction or a formal eviction. Summary evictions are done with notices on a family’s door and are done legally bypassing the court system. Formal evictions go through the legal system, however, landlords almost never use this form of eviction since it would cost them money. Nevada is the only state in the United States that allows summary evictions.

 

Summary evictions aside from bypassing our legal system it also causes damage and tension within our family dynamics. The uncertainty that our families face with these types of evictions causes not only a toll on the heads of households but also on our children, who are already experiencing a global pandemic. What we need isn’t more evictions or a longer moratorium; what our community needs is a bold policy to protect tenants and their families. 

 

The housing moratorium in Nevada comes to an end on March 31st at the end of this moratorium, thousands of families will be at risk of eviction. This pandemic has left Millions without jobs, without income, and without protections for their homes. Allowing the accumulation of rents only digs a deeper hole that our families have to ‘find a way’ to get out of at the end of this moratorium. 

 

In a time where the CDC recommends that our communities stay home to stop the spread of a deadly virus, our state has allowed the eviction process to continue despite cries from the community for further assistance. We, along with our community, are asking our state legislators to listen to the community and take immediate action to protect tenant’s rights above the interests of corporations. You can make your voice heard this legislative session by submitting the form below; all responses will be submitted to the state legislature’s website.

 

Make your voice heard Here.

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A TRUE SOCIAL JUSTICE SPACE

On July 31st, The Youth Power Project (YPP) hosted Gen Z VoiceZ, an open-mic Facebook Live event where youth between 14-21 showcased their talents in an empowering way.

The night featured energetic performances that shared, expressed, and set the tone for the night. The performances varied from singing, dancing, and different variations of poetry.

 

“I am here talking to you today because I am appalled by the countless black lives that have been taken at the hands of police brutality in this country that claims to be equal and free,” said YPP member Amy Chen during her spoken performance. She also mentioned the names and stories of Black Americans killed by U.S. police, including the recent tragic shooting of Breonna Taylor, who was shot 22 times while she was at home sleeping. 

 

The show demonstrated the impact that these terrible events have on our youth and how Generation Z is refusing to sit back and not voice their concerns. The open mic served as an excellent avenue to let their voices resonate in the fight for social justice.

 

Not only was this event fun and informative, but it was a statement about how our youth holds an enormous amount of resilience and power. It was a refreshing experience to see so much hope and positivity. 

 

If you’d like to learn more about YPP or become a member of YPP, please visit our website at: http://bit.ly/MRNVypp

 

Watch the full live event here: https://bit.ly/2DlYPPVOICEZ

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For Immediate Release:
July 21, 2020

Trump Doesn’t Want Undocumented Immigrants to Count in 2020 Census, Again.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020– President Trump released a memo this morning announcing his plans
to sign an Executive Order to exclude undocumented immigrants from being counted in the
2020 Census by limiting non-citizens from being included in population numbers for
congressional redistricting. His administration is using fear and intimidation to stop
undocumented immigrants from filling out the census to erase immigrants in this country. This
undercount in undocumented people will keep resources from communities that need them the
most.
This is yet another attempt to accomplish his xenophobic goals following the failed citizenship
question case last year. The Supreme Court struck down that last attempt to intimidate
undocumented immigrants from filling out the 2020 Census as unconstitutional. Congressional
representation is allocated based on the total peoples in a state, not just those eligible to vote.

Everyone who lives in the United States as of April 1, 2020, must be counted, the futures of our
families and communities depend on it.

As we face the COVID-19 pandemic, getting a full count is more crucial now than ever. A full,
accurate count means hospitals, food banks, and infrastructure for emergency responses. This
is a distraction from his continued failure in handling the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is just a scare tactic to further marginalize our communities. Through our work with our
Censo y Cena events we have heard how mixed-status families fear accurately filling out the
Census because of the belief they’ll put their loved ones at risk of deportation regardless of the
laws in place to protect Census data. This disgusting executive order will just cause more fear
and confusion for undocumented communities.” Audrey Peral, MRNV Economic Justice
Organizer

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The Supreme Court decided that the current administration’s attempt to dismantle DACA and its protections was unlawful and struck it down. This victory for the DACAmented community has given us hope and drive to continue the fight for a clear road to citizenship. With this decision, renewals are being accepted, however, with this ruling the fees to do so may rise from the current price of $495. Many folks have lost their jobs and thus renewing the DACA of their children may be out of reach. Given this reality, we ask that you consider donating to our LV Dream Fund to help alleviate the pressures of financial hardship felt in these trying circumstances by our DACAmented families. All of the funds will be used to pay for fees related to renewing and applying for DACA.  http://bit.ly/MRNVdonate

 

Make The Road Nevada fights for social justice. We stand with immigrants, the DACAmented, the undocumented, the LGBTQIA+ community, the Black community, and the working class. We stand with every community that faces injustices and we fight for our Nevadan community to become a better, more inclusive, and respectful community. Join us in our fight for equality and justice! Follow us on any of our social platforms.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2020 Make the Road NV and school personnel joined the Youth Power Project leaders as they gathered in front of Desert Pines High School to combat the school-to-prison pipeline and call for the defunding of the Clark County School District Police Department. Angelica who is part of support staff in an elementary school, her role is to give support to predominantly black and brown elementary students. She recalls some deeply upsetting encounters, like a kid whose father was in jail, and a school assignment he wrote, which was about his biggest wish to see his father again.“In the back of his paper, he drew a picture of himself sitting down having a meal with his Dad. Unfortunately, this is another sad reality expressed by my students, many of them are growing up with their fathers in jail. Sometimes our presence alone represents that stable adult in their lives.”

 

That is exactly why we are promoting to defund the school police, to break the cycle of minority kids getting into trouble with the law due to school police and not having a stable relationship with their family in the future.

 

 Adam Allen a former Youth Power Project council member recalled being at school and feeling like he was in prison due to all the police surrounding the courtyard. That is why we must all keep fighting for a police free learning environment and higher investment in school counselors, nurses, and social workers. #DefundSchoolPoliceCCSD #PoliceFreeSchools

 

Sign your name to our petition to keep our kids in a safe place where they have access to restorative justice, counselors, nurses, and mental health resources and do not have the constant fear of being criminalized and put on the school-to-prison/deportation pipeline by school police. 

 

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The death of George Floyd sent shockwaves through the world as well as within the states. His death was a result of police brutality, an ongoing issue in America. Too many black and brown lives before him have died at the hands of the police. Many of the officers involved in excessive use of force that resulted in the murder of countless black individuals go free with no consequences. It is time they are held accountable and that justice be served.

Our young people are able to make decisions and are capable of bringing forth valuable information and in times like these, it’s imperative that we listen. The youth is the future of our nation and in their hands lie the changes that will come. There are many young people in our city who are working for justice and equality on a daily basis and here is one of them. 

Adam Allen is a Youth Power Project council member who fights alongside us for justice. He Brings us a message on how we can be better allies during the Black Lives Matter movement. It is not our place to speak for our brothers and sisters, but it is our place to elevate their voices so they are heard. Adam tells us that as nonblack folks we should be doing everything we can to elevate the voices of the black community not replacing them.

Watch his video below to learn how to be a better ally. 

 

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The Youth Power Project (YPP) is a youth led program that engages young people in local grassroots organizing, policy innovation, and financial literacy education. If you want to be a part of the YPP you can apply on our website here.

You can watch a brand new LIVE conversation with a YPP council every Tuesday at 5pm on our Instagram.

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