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A group of our gente joined together on July 2nd, 2021 at the doorstep of the Federal Building in Downtown Las Vegas to call for citizenship for all. Our elected officials, on their campaign trails and during their time in office have claimed to be champions of the people. They have posed for photos and have given half-hearted speeches about the importance of unity in difficult times. Our community has been united for decades in the call for citizenship. They have waited long enough for a system to be reformed to favor them and their families. During the pandemic, a slogan has been paraded around with no backing; the road to recovery, as of this moment, seems like it will be paved by our own community, but won’t include them. A direct pathway to citizenship for the 11 million people who have worked to keep our communities going and who have gone the extra mile in educating our children during a global pandemic needs to happen now.

During the rally, we heard the story of Karla, a DACA recipient, who had to watch as her parents suffered the consequences of the separation from their families. We heard the story of Areli who immigrated for her own safety from her home country. Lalo shared his story of the anxiety he and his daughter feel on account of the insecurity that his status brings. Erika shared her story of power, fear, and courage.

They are true American heroes who fight every day for their right to live with dignity and respect. We stand with them. We will fight alongside them. We will continue to push our elected officials to stay true to their campaign trail promises and create a path to citizenship for the 11 million who call this land their home. We are home.

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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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Our gente are our gente. That being said, this Immigrant Heritage Month and PRIDE Month, we want to recognize the queer immigrants who are fighting for justice alongside us. Their stories are intertwined with the collective immigrant story and they should be heard and told. 

 

Our community faces a lot of challenges regarding race, money, and systematic oppression, but when it comes to queer immigrants these challenges are magnified. By pushing through the exclusion and intolerance they fight to break through on the side of dignity and respect. Fighting for basic human rights and [having them denied] constantly dealing with the confusion and the exclusion that comes with being queer and an immigrant. 

 

The right to a liveable wage and the right to a home is oftentimes not attainable for queer folks, even more so for queer immigrants. According to the American Progress, 15% of trans folks have reported making less than $10,000 a year and gay men earn 10-32% less than heterosexual men with similar qualifications and education levels. 

 

Queer youth, at a young age, also experience the challenges of being queer in regards to mental health and accessibility to resources. According to NBC News, 2 in every 5 queer youth have ‘seriously considered suicide in the past year highlighting the need for more mental health resources among our queer youth. 

 

LGBTQIA+ issues, not only happen in the U.S. but in many countries identifying as queer is life-threatening. Queer folks apply for asylum in hopes of escaping the dangers of their homelands where honor killings and queer shame are the norms. Watch one of the many queer asylum seeker stories below, then watch the second video about the process which LGBTQIA+ folks must go through in order to reach Asylum in the U.S.

Resources

 

 

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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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Governor Sisolak anticipates a complete reopening of COVID-19 mitigation requirements by June 1st. “Based on consultation with our state health officials, I am pleased to announce that I’m very confident every county in the state of Nevada, will be able to fully reopen at 100 percent capacity by June 1,” He announced in a press conference.

As proposed by the Clark County Commission on April 20, capacity restrictions for public gatherings will be increased to 80 percent effective May 1, distance requirements will be reduced from six to three feet, and nightclubs may reopen.

Restaurants

Restaurants are now allowed to extend their capacity limits to 80 percent, still urging the public to follow proper CDC guidelines.

Grocery stores

If self-service salad bars, salsa bars, olive bars, condiment stations, and bulk food bins are supervised by an employee, hand sanitizer is provided, service utensils are changed out every hour, and patrons and employees have separated appropriately, they could return. If samples are consumed, face covers must be replaced right away.

Casinos

As long as licensed gaming establishments in Nevada are licensed, the Nevada Gaming Control Board will have jurisdiction over their gaming areas, including gaming floors.

Buffets

Self-serve buffets can reopen if they are supervised by an employee, if hand sanitizer is available to patrons, and if service utensils are changed every hour.

Adult entertainment

All employers must provide face coverings to employees, and employees must wear them, and all patrons must wear them when not actively eating, drinking, or smoking, a policy no different from the current requirements at restaurants and bars. At 50 percent capacity, the business must provide workers, customers, and visitors with places to wash their hands, including frequent and thorough hand washing. The gentlemen’s club must provide routine cleaning and disinfection of surfaces and equipment and conduct daily surveys of staff health conditions.

Nightclubs

Maximum occupancy for a nightclub is 50 percent. All employers and employees must wear face coverings when not eating, drinking, or smoking, and every patron must wear a face covering when not actively eating, drinking, or smoking. A business must encourage frequent and thorough hand washing, as well as providing workers, customers, and worksite visitors with a place to wash their hands. Nightclubs are required to offer routine cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces and equipment with EPA-approved cleaning chemicals and conduct daily surveys of staff health conditions. Dance floors are prohibited if social distancing requirements are applicable.

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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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The Youth Power Project is a group of politically active youth who fight for issues that impact youth in our state. It is youth led and youth organized, given this they are the best voices to speak out about anything educational justice. Currently, they have been joining forces with other youth leaders across the state to make their demands of a diverse education a reality. 

 

Our children have the right to an education. The education should consist of a broad spectrum of topics that discuss the contributions and history of Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) communities. Unfortunately, this is not the education our students are receiving. The education they receive is hyperfocused on the White influences, White figures, and if the topic of BIPOC communities is discussed the conversation is about the oppressions and injustices they have experienced. A state-wide fight is underway being led by the youth of our state from different counties to mandate an inclusive education model that discusses the contributions of and the importance of BIPOC figures. In educating our children about courageous people they can identify with. We open the doors to bigger dreams in our students, higher achievements, and a potential increase in the interest of students in school. 

 

We all want to be represented. Our students want to be able to see themselves in their textbooks and learn about their heritages without having to dig so deep into history. MRNV’s Youth Power Project has taken on the challenge to change this frame of education that too often bypasses the stories of BIPOC folk. Their work has just begun, but their power is undeniable.

 

To learn more about the Youth Power Project visit oue werbsite here.

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On April 7th, the Youth Power Project and Make the Road took the Clark County District Building to rally for police-free schools. Led by the powerful voices of directly impacted youth, the message was clear; “We are directly affected by the police presence on campus. Schools are a place of learning, not a place for the police” (Ivana, YPP). 

 

Tensions rose with the increasing heat fueled by the importance of the message and the courage of those who spoke out. Students used their resources and platforms to bring a difficult conversation to the District’s doorstep that serves them. Their voices chanted Education NOT Incarceration, and their chants hit heavy against the windows of the District Building as onlookers listened from inside. Receiving offensive efforts from counter-protestors, our youth stood their ground and demanded to be heard with courage and power. 

 

Here’s the issue | The latest available budget data shows that CCSD spent $18.4 million on salaries and benefits for members of the district’s police department in 2018–2019.35 While the district has 161 sworn law enforcement officers and 41 civilian officers, they are vastly under-staffed when it comes to nurses, social workers, psychologists, and school counselors. Aside from the monetary strain, the CCSD Police puts on our education system, the repeated violent offenses that police do to children ranging in age from Elementary school to High school need to end. 

 

Read the full report here.

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Nelly Tobon is a Make the Road NV member who works to empower women in our community. Learn more about her below. 

 

How did you first get involved with Make the Road? 

“I was looking for spaces in the community where I could participate. My husband and I have a club called Migrantes de Uruapan where we do cultural activities and little by little we have become more involved in activism, we can bring entertainment, do festivals, or organize dances and it is beautiful to be able to maintain our traditions. We still lack many things in the community, this is one of the reasons I have become involved with Make the Road Nevada. I started in Make the Road by attending the committee, Familias Unidas”.

What is  Metamorphosis?

“It is a conference that empowers women who seek gender equality as well as a little bit of feminism intertwined with the community as not being individual matters but being intertwined”. 

What are other topics that interest you and help you empower other women?

“I have also studied the energy of the female body, how to use the energy of the uterus every day, how to work with the heart, and how they work together to make us better. I also worked with a teacher, Miranda Gray, she has an event called the Blessing of the Uterus and she also has written books and has loads of information. I brought her to Las Vegas to give a workshop and she has always been in this movement as well. Lately, I have also been working on Mental Health and all that encompasses. I started this for myself because when I came to live in the United States I was depressed. I also had anxiety due to being new to this country and new to the language. Since I have my own experiences, I was able to walk into these spaces with experience and knowledge. This is one of the first things I would like to share with the community. I experienced it and so have many others”. 

As an immigrant woman, what would you recommend that other immigrant women do to help with these stressful times and other instances of difficulty experienced by immigrant women? 

“First of all, find a support network, whether it is relatives, having friends or/and acquaintances who can support you, who you can call and ask them for advice. It is helpful for example when they can take care of your children for an hour or so, so that you can go out for an appointment, or do whatever chores you may need to do that day. The thing you need first is a support network. My second advice is to make the effort to adapt to this country; learn to speak English, get a driver’s license, try to, little by little, be integrating into society as a good person. My third advice would be to get involved in the community, maybe not to become a full-time activist, but if it is to see what happens, what groups there are, what organizations are working for the community, and also get to know the people.

Do you have anything else you would like to express? 

I have always felt welcome at Make the Road, I love the meetings and miss them, being in person with everyone, and I have always felt supported and at ease, as I am always learning and hopefully I will always stay involved so that the organization continues to grow and as we reach more and more people. 

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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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