By AURORA SALDIVAR/Coachella Unincorporated
COACHELLA, Calif. — New America Media is hosting a women and immigrants community roundtable, focusing on how immigration laws affect women – and the role of women leaders in fighting for fair treatment for their families.
The roundtable will take place Tuesday, January 15, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at Bobby Duke Middle School, 85-358 Baghdad Ave.
An open discussion will follow a panel of five speakers to facilitate discussion of the scope and direction of current immigration policies.
“It is important that,as a community group, we come together and talk to send the message that now is the time to address immigration reform,” said Silvia Paz, district policy director for Assemblyman V. Manuel Pérez and a speaker on Tuesday’s panel. “The time is critical. I hope that this is an open discussion that begins to document what needs to be addressed in our immigrant communities.”
Immigrant families have a lot to be hopeful for, from the prospect of federal immigration reform to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. But the reality on the ground is very different. The Eastern Coachella Valley has seen a rise in deportations, and many families here are increasingly living in a state of fear.
Other speakers will include Nora E. Vargas, vice president of community engagement for Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest; Mily Treviño-Sauceda, president of Alianza Nacional de Campesinas; attorney Megan Beaman and Cristian Cabrera, an undocumented college student who has applied for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
“One of our goals is making communities feel like they are part of a bigger effort,” said Irma Herrera, co-director of New America Media’s Women Immigrants Project and coordinator of the forum. “Following this past election there is a feeling of hopefulness, a hope that congress will address the issues of immigration. Something exciting in Coachella is that you elected Raul Ruiz into Congress.”
It was this recent “hotbed of political activism” that drew New America Media and Herrera to the rural communities of the Eastern Coachella Valley.
This community roundtable is part of a national series of conversations between women’s rights and immigrant rights leaders. Tuesday’s forum will mark the third of these nationwide discussions hosted by the San Francisco-based ethnic media outlet (which operates Coachella Unincorporated). Previous forums were held in Phoenix, Ariz., and Birmingham, Ala., following some controversial immigration policies.
According to Herrera, New America Media hopes to catalyze advocacy for comprehensive immigration by connecting the strength and leadership of women in various communities recognizing “the great influence of mothers in homes that people do not always notice. As important as media is, there is also tremendous value in the network of people within communities.”
However, adds Herrera, “The most important is when it’s the audience turn to tell their story.”
Interpreters will be available. Food and drinks will be provided for those in attendance. Reservations are requested; please contact Irma Herrera at (415) 215-2315 or [email protected]