Friday, September 30, 2022

Feel Good Friday - Mi Familia Vota

We’re in the middle of National Hispanic American Heritage Month and there are only 40 days left until the midterm elections. Sounds like a great time to highlight the work of Mi Familia Vota.

Established in 2000, Mi Familia Vota (MFV) is “a national civic engagement non-profit organization that unites Latino, immigrant, and allied communities to promote social and economic justice through citizenship workshops, voter registration, and voter participation.”

These programs operate in seven states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, and Texas. The web pages for each state show you registration and early voting deadlines as well as contact information for the local office in your chosen state.

To increase voter registration and participation within these states, MFV partners with Spanish language media, schools, and community, faith-based and labor organizations to provide non-partisan information to Latino voters. While voter registration efforts are in high gear now, they also take place year round. In the 2020 election cycle MFV contacted 7 million voters through phone calls, text messages and door knocks and got 550,000 people registered!

MFV also mobilizes the Latino, immigrant and allied communities to lead both local and national coalitions in the fight for voting rights, healthcare and access to COVID-19 vaccinations, environmental issues, education, reproductive rights, workers’ rights and immigration reform with a path to citizenship. Their political work includes a campaign highlighting the ways Governor Greg Abbott has failed the Latino community in Texas, which you can learn about in this short video: ¡Basta Abbott!

Finally, MFV has a year-long Youth Development Program that provides high school students with unique real-world experiences and training exercises that teach them how to influence change in their communities and understand the importance of building political power.

If you’d like to support the work of Mi Familia Vota, you can become a volunteer, make a donation and amplify their message on social media. Follow them on Facebook at this link, on Twitter @MiFamiliaVota and Instagram @mifamiliavota.

Bonus note for all of us in California: the deadline to register to vote online is October 24th (in person November 8th) and early voting begins October 10th. De nada.

Friday, September 23, 2022

Feel Good Friday - Mujeres Unidas y Activas

National Hispanic American Heritage Month runs from September 15th to October 15th which makes this a perfect Feel Good Friday to talk about Mujeres Unidas y Activas, United and Active Women.

Mujeres Unidas y Activas (MUA) is “a grassroots organization of Latina immigrant women with a dual mission of promoting personal transformation and building community power for social and economic justice.” 

It began in 1990 as a project of the Northern California Coalition for Immigrant Rights. At that time MUA had a leadership training for women and a theater project that informed the community about AIDS, domestic violence, and immigrant and workers’ rights. Today, they have offices in San Francisco, Oakland and Union City, and offer a wide range of programs, campaigns and resources to support Latina immigrant women.

MUA support group meetings happen virtually each week and cover topics such as peer counseling, healing and wellness workshops, civic and political education workshops and Zumba classes. MUA also provides access to legal services, a support line for survivors of domestic violence, parenting programs, English classes for staff members, domestic workers and sexual assault crisis counselors, and a group specifically for the thousands of Guatemalan immigrants in the Bay Area who speak Mam

Details about all their programs can be found at this link and, for people unable to join a live meeting, there is a page on the website with resources for survivors of violence, domestic workers, immigrants and employers. 

In addition to this wide range of services, MUA also invests in campaign work to strengthen their organization, their leaders and their community power. They focus on rights for immigrant women and domestic workers, as well as language access and civic engagement.

What is the impact of MUA’s work? In response to the coronavirus pandemic, MUA shifted all of its programs to operate remotely. They set up food distribution to members who were hungry, and, through the MUA COVID19 Immigrant Families Relief Fund, they distributed over $500,000 cash relief to current and former participants who were out of work and struggling. MUA’s campaign work helped get the California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights signed into law guaranteeing daily and weekly overtime for domestic workers.

If you’d like to support MUA and the people they help, you can do so by making a donation and amplifying their work on social media. Like their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @mujrsunidas and Instagram @mujeresunidasyactivas.


Friday, September 16, 2022

Feel Good Friday - Voting Resources

In case you don’t have your countdown clock set, there are only 52 days left until the Midterm Elections in the United States. The outcome will determine which party controls Congress and you get a chance to influence that outcome with your vote.

In preparation for these upcoming elections, I’m recapping several voting-related posts that will help you get informed, motivated and involved. Links to the organizations and to the original posts are included so you can learn more about the organization that interest you.

Get Informed

TurboVote is “a tool that helps you vote, no matter what.” Since 2012, TurboVote has helped 9 million voters keep track of voter registration, absentee, and vote-by-mail rules for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Ballot Ready provides personalized ballots and nonpartisan information to voters in all 50 states. Start by entering your address on the website’s home page and Ballot Ready displays a list of your federal, state and local representatives.

Get Motivated

EMILY's List elects pro-choice Democratic women to office. Their vision is to balance the voice of power by having the government more accurately represent the people it serves and to "elect leaders who ignite change”.

Fair Fight is leading the charge to protect voting rights. They promote fair elections around the country, encourage voter participation in elections, and educate voters about elections and their voting rights.

Get Involved

Vote Forward is a nonprofit organization that builds tools “to enable Americans, wherever they may be, to encourage fellow citizens to participate in our democracy.” Their mission is “to empower grassroots volunteers to help register voters from under-represented demographics and encourage them to vote.”

Swing Left is “building a lasting culture of grassroots participation in winning elections for the Left by making it as easy as possible for anyone to have maximum impact on the elections that determine the balance of power in our country.”

I hope the reminder about these organizations inspires you vote in November!

Friday, September 9, 2022

Feel Good Friday - Suicide Prevention Resource Center

September is Suicide Prevention Month, a perfect time to highlight the work of the Suicide Prevention Resource Center.

Headquartered in Oklahoma City, “the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) is the only federally supported resource center devoted to advancing the implementation of the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention."

First, some statistics. In 2020, the suicide death rate in the United States was 13.5 per every 100,000 people (22 for males and 5.2 for females). Suicides consistently outnumber homicides (in 2020 13.5 vs. 7.8 per 100,000) and rates are highest among American Indian or Alaskan Natives. You can see a variety of detailed breakdowns at this page of the website: Scope of the Problem.

In addition to tracking and publishing these sobering statistics, SPRC advances suicide prevention infrastructure and capacity building through various activities. They provide consultation, training and resources to states, native settings, universities, health systems and organizations that serve populations at risk for suicide. They work with Action Alliance, to provide staffing, administrative, and logistical support, and they support Zero Suicide, an initiative that provides information, resources, and tools for safer suicide care for people within health and behavioral health care systems.

For people who work in this field, or have an interest in the topic, SPRC has a page of resources and programs. You can filter them by program type (for example training program, fact sheet or webinar), population (age, race, gender, LGBTQ, veterans, etc.), settings (school, faith communities, justice system) and more. Not only can you search for options on a national level, you can also check the prevention plans for each individual state. There are a LOT of resources here.

SPRC is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) so you’re already supporting their work with your tax dollars. If you’d like help raise awareness of SPRC, you can explore the Suicide Prevention Month Ideas for Action one pager and share what you learned on on social media. Like their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @SPRCtweets.

Friday, September 2, 2022

Feel Good Friday - Farmworker Justice

As we head into Labor Day Weekend, let’s talk about an organization that supports workers' rights for people who are laboring all the time, Farmworker Justice.

Founded in 1981 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., Farmworker Justice is “a nonprofit organization that seeks to empower migrant and seasonal farmworkers to improve their living and working conditions, immigration status, health, occupational safety, and access to justice.”

According to 2017 Census of Agriculture, an estimated 2.4 million farmworkers work on farms and ranches in the United States, with a significant percentage living and working in California. 

If you’ve ever seen workers in the fields as you’re driving down the highway, you have an idea of how difficult the working conditions are. Some facts you may not know about farmworkers: the majority are immigrants, and approximately 36% lack authorized work status under current U.S. laws, annual income for an individual is roughly $20,000 – $24,999 and women, who make up roughly 34% of the agricultural workforce, face particular obstacles in the male-dominated agricultural sector, including sexual harassment by supervisors. This is where Farmworker Justice comes in.

Immigration and labor protections are a big focus area. Farmworker Justice advocates for immigration reform to legalize undocumented farmworkers, for better labor protections and for more effective enforcement of labor violations. They also file lawsuits on behalf of farmworkers and their organizations to challenge systemic abuses by employers and their labor contractors, and unlawful conduct by government agencies. You can see a list of recent litigation at this link.

Farmworker Justice also works to improve occupational safety, health, and health care access for farmworkers through community partnerships, health education and policy advocacy. Visit the resource center for videos about community health centers, heat stress and Covid-19. While you’re there download a coloring book that helps children learn about preventing diabetes through healthy eating. Available in English, Spanish, Mam, Creole and Mixteco! 

If you’d like to help secure fundamental human and civil rights for the migrant farmworkers who harvest the fruits and vegetables you rely on every day, the best way to do so is with a donation to Farmworker Justice. You can also help by amplifying their work on social media. Follow them on Facebook at this link, on Twitter @FarmwrkrJustice and Instagram @farmworkerjustice. #HandsThatFeedUs