By Gustavo Torres
We woke up yesterday in mourning. Mourning for the country we have been working so hard to build – a country of civil rights, human rights, LGBT rights, immigrant rights. Mourning for the many victories we helped win, like DACA and the Affordable Care Act, but that we dread will be overturned or blocked under this new administration.
But we wake up today on fire. We exist for times like these. After Congress failed to pass immigration reform in 2007, President Bush initiated raids across the country terrorizing our families. How did we respond? We organized. We set up committees of self-defense. We fought in the streets, in the courts and in legislatures for our families. So today too, we will dust ourselves off, fight harder, and yell louder than before. We will stand up to resist the attempts to turn our country backwards. We will continue to fight for what is right and what is just. We will be our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers.
Our community is racked with justifiable fear. This Post article reflects the sentiments we are hearing. But CASA is not going anywhere. We are convening gatherings with our members to listen to their concerns and prepare for the work ahead. We are organizing massive “know your rights” workshops and working with allies to make sure families are safe. We will work immediately to pass protections at the local and state levels, and most importantly, to elevate the voices of those who now find themselves even more disenfranchised. It is only by building political power that we can change the course of the country in the coming years.
We worked hard this election and had victories we are very proud of. Latinos voted in unprecedented numbers across the country – 79% voting for Hillary Clinton. And among Latinas, this number grew to 86 percent. In Pennsylvania and Virginia, close to 600 volunteers from CASA in Action, together with paid staff, reached out to voters in PA and VA more than 225,000 times, mostly through intensive door-knocking programs. Our operation made a difference. In Virginia, 80 percent of Latinos voted for Clinton, and in South-Central Pennsylvania, we mobilized voters of color to vote for the first time in their lives. In Virginia, Question 1, the ill-named “Right to Work” which undermined unions, was rejected by voters. And we helped York County, PA, send its first African-American woman legislator in history to the Pennsylvania General Assembly with the election of Carol Hill-Evans.
CASA in Action staff and volunteers getting out the vote
On behalf of so many of our members who are terrified their families will be torn apart, we need you to speak out! The coming months and years will be rocky – perhaps the toughest our organization and our community have seen yet. But we have been through tough times before, and we are more determined than ever to give this fight all we have. History is on our side, and we will win in the long run. We may go backwards before we go forward but this is what we do. The opposition is angry and frustrated that the country keeps moving forward without them. That is their motivation. Now we have ours.
If you feel your voice was not heard in this election, if you are worried for the state of our country – we need you with us. Join our volunteer list, support us with your donation (tax-deductible donations to CASA, a 501c3, and non-tax deductible donations to CASA in Action, our 501c4 sister political organization), and roll up your sleeves – because in times like these, we need people like you to make the difference.
A la lucha,
Executive Director, CASA
President, CASA in Action