Eliseo Medina on Immigration Reform and Activism

Next Steps in Immigration Reform

As talk of  immigration reform dominated the new Congress, Duane Campbell conducted separate interviews with DSA Honorary Chair Eliseo Medina (former secretary treasurer of SEIU and former Executive Board member of the United Farm Workers) and immigrant rights activist Alma Lopez.

 From November 12 until December 2, 2013, Medina and hundreds more participated in a Fast for Families, setting up tents on the Washington Mall to engage the nation and Congress in issues of immigration reform. Politicians, union leaders,  community activists, and faith leaders, from Jim Wallace of Sojourners to Barack Obama, stopped by to talk, listen, and provide support. Medina fasted for twenty-two days, taking only water. 

Here, Medina explains the need for broad coalitions and public education.--Ed.eliseo3.jpg

 

DC:  What did the Fast for Families accomplish?

EM: It was one of the most exciting transformative,  and spiritual events I have participated in many, many years.  We had a microcosm of America: labor leaders, church leaders, students, immigrants, local and community leaders, men and women, people of faith and of all races and ethnic groups.  This diverse group came together sharing one central value: that in America we believe in treating people fairly, in rewarding hard work, and in respecting human and workers’ rights.

Our goal was to reach out and explain to America the moral crisis facing this country, because people are dying every day on the border and thousands of families are being broken up by our current immigration policies. We need the American people express their voices. And second, we wanted to reach out to members of Congress, to touch their hearts, to tell them we need to fix this problem.

The fast and the support demonstrations put immigration reform back on the national agenda.

DC:  What is your sense now of where immigration reform is going in the Congress?

EM:  Prior to the fast we had a stalemate in Congress.  But now the discussion is not if we will have immigration reform, but when will we have reform and what will it look like. I am very hopeful.

DC: What can progressives and DSA activists do to help?

EM:  This is a critical issue for progressive America.  Are we going to have eleven million people here without workers’ rights and human rights [a situation that] undermines the rights of us all? Congress has to do what it was elected to do: to fix problems.

I would say to fellow DSAers, “We have to understand that this is not only a Latino issue.  This is the civil rights movement of our times. This is your chance to get involved.  The immigration fight is everybody’s fight. The civil rights movement [of the fifties and sixties] created a whole new dynamic in this country, and so can this. This is our moment. This is the time to get engaged."

Our focus now will be a congressional tour from the end of February until the end of April.  We need you to help with the bus tour to congressional districts and to organize community meetings. Go to the web page Fast4Families.org for talking points and for  how and where to help.

The interview with Alma Lopez will appear on a future  date.  Both will appear in the Spring edition of Democratic Left.

Duane Campbell is a professor emeritus of bilingual multicultural education at California State University Sacramento, a union activist, and chair of Sacramento DSA.  He has worked on immigration reform issues for more than thirty years.

Individually signed posts do not necessarily reflect the views of DSA as an organization or its leadership.


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Starting a Local Chapter from Scratch (9pm Eastern)

October 04, 2016 · 8 rsvps
Webinar, RSVP required for sign in information

So you are now a member of DSA, but there is no local chapter where you live. You are thinking of starting a local chapter, but you're not quite sure how to do it.

In Starting a Local Chapter from Scratch you will learn:

  • how other locals got started in recent years
  • how to find out who is already a member
  • the importance of a comrade
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  • the importance of a mentor
  • how to become a recognized organizing committee
  • how to become a chartered local
  • what works best to bring new people in.

Join us for our latest organizing training for democratic socialist activists: DSA’s (Virtual) Little Red Schoolhouse.

Instructor:

  • Steve Max, DSA Vice Chair and one of the founders of the legendary community organizing school, The Midwest Academy

Training Details:

  1. Workshops are free for any DSA member in good standing.
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  3. Your computer must have preferably headphones or else speakers; you can speak thru a mic or use chat to "speak".
  4. If you have questions, contact Theresa Alt talt@igc.org 607-280-7649.
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NOTE: This training is scheduled for 9:00pm Eastern Time (8pm Central, 7pm Mountain, 6pm Pacific, 5pm Alaska, 3 pm Hawaii).

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DSA New Member Orientation Call

October 19, 2016 · 22 rsvps
DSA New Member Orientation

You've joined DSA - Great. Now register for this New Member Orientation call and find out more about our politics and our vision.  And, most importantly, how you can become involved.  8 PM ET; 7 PM CT; 6 PM MT; 5 PM PT.

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