HRC Volunteers Help 700 Immigrants Become Citizens
The following post comes from HRC Diversity Program Associate Hyacinth Alvaran:
Throughout April, HRC leaders and volunteers worked in coalition with a diverse array of legal, immigrant and Latino/a organizations across the country to help some 700 legal permanent residents apply for citizenship. These citizenship workshops come at an especially critical time because many of these applicants – if all goes well with their application process – have enough time to become citizens and register to vote by the November elections.
It also gave HRC’s diverse LGBT and straight ally members and supporters an opportunity to interact with many of November’s potential voters, and show our support of the immigrant community. As our organizer Mahesh Somashekhar in Arlington, VA, pointed out, “A lot of people seemed to not know who HRC was, so it was good for us to be there.” In New York, our organizer Pete Webb said that HRC volunteers came out in full force, “representing the entire tri-state area, including Long Island, Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Westchester, and the Bronx.” In Las Vegas, our organizer Hergit Llenas emphasized that nearly 40% of the 147 volunteers from different organizations were returning volunteers.
Many volunteers return because of how gratifying it is to serve at these workshops. “It’s very empowering to see so many immigrants applying to become full-fledged citizens of this great country of ours,” said our Dallas organizer Fernie Sanchez. “They truly understand what it means to become a citizen of the United States with all the rights, privileges and responsibilities that goes along with obtaining citizenship so that they can fully participate in American society.” That is why our organizers Dau Nguyen and Linda Brown in Portland, OR, have taken a leadership role on the planning level in their first year of becoming involved with these workshops.
And that is why HRC is truly grateful for the leadership and support that its volunteers and coalition partners provide. HRC’s participation at April’s citizenship workshops would not have been possible without the leadership of our volunteers Nick Spurlock in Long Beach, Laura Clise in Hyattsville, MD, Dawn Christensen in Las Vegas, and Pete, Mahesh, Hergit, Dau, Linda, and Fernie. It would not have been possible without the support of our steering committees at large and our over 100 HRC members and supporters who took time out of their busy lives to help. And it would not have been possible without the camaraderie of the partner organizations who welcomed us, specifically, NALEO Educational Fund, American Immigration Lawyers Association, Hogar Immigrant Services, Casa de Maryland, CAUSA, Counseling Immigration Services, St. Mathew's Episcopal Church, Proyecto Inmigrante, Caesars Entertainment, Mi Familia Vota Education Fund, El Tiempo, Univision 15 Las Vegas, Univision Radio, AILA Nevada Chapter, Colombian Association of Las Vegas, Dream Big Vegas, Hermandad Mexicana Transnacional Inc., Latin Chamber of Commerce, National Council of La Raza, Nevada Youth Coalition, SEIU Nevada, Wells Fargo, Las Vegas Urban League, Columbia University, SEIU, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, The Children’s Aid Society, Alianza Dominicana and the International Rescue Committee.