Immigrants' Rights Activists Point the Way to Building Grassroots Leadership and Solidarity

CSIO Press Conference
New report highlights immigrant perspective on grassroots organizing and the importance of knowing who "has their backs."

With a wave of anti-immigrant policies sweeping our nation, the Center to Support Immigrant Organizing (CSIO) has released a new report, Unlocking Leadership for Social Change: Immigrant Perspectives on Grassroots Transformation, which identifies successful strategies to building leadership in immigrant communities. The report emerges at a time when many communities — immigrant, Muslim, LGBTQ, Black, poor, women — are under attack, and targeted people need to know who has their backs when action to show solidarity, alliance, and support is the core to moving forward.

CSIO unveiled the new report through a press conference at the NonProfit Center in downtown Boston with immigrant leaders, organizers, and directors on hand to share their reflections on the power of CSIO's work to convene immigrant communities across culture, language, experience, and history and help promote the learning, joint analysis, consciousness raising, and relationship building which lead to greater collaboration and collective action — as well as the ability for immigrants to take their place at the table in the policy debates that affect them.

“For decades, immigrant communities here in greater Boston and the U.S. have been resisting anti-immigrant policies, successfully uniting families, building communities, and creating more equitable cities,” said Luz Zambrano, co-director, Center to Support Immigrant Organizing. “CSIO supports the work that is necessary to build strong leadership in immigrant communities that can resist assaults and create a movement for change."

The findings reinforce that CSIO's successful work comes from a methodology that follows its values: building a cooperative and supportive experience of problem-solving, of the power of collective action in overcoming injustice by making people feel valued and supported.

"CSIO's spaces helped me to build relationships that I can count on because we never judged each other, and we were open to listening to and learning another's backgrounds and cultures and stories, and then celebrating that. I have a sense that no matter what happens, I have people who will be there for me," said Fatou Dammeh of Women Encouraging Empowerment.

Immigrants Rights Groups to Combat Hate

You can watch the Center to Support Immigrant Organizing's press conference with local Latin American, African and Asian leaders to reaffirm their dedication to combating racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and other forms of hate. The panelists spoke about how immigrant communities build leadership and capacity to resist hate and create an equitable Boston while under profound and urgent threats to the values at the core of social/political/economic justice. Watch the press conference here:

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