Get inspired by our Member Political Organizers’ stories: Sergio ($15 and union rights), Mullissa (affordable child care), Rogenia (quality long-term care), Alysia (racial justice), Genesis and Tammy (common sense immigration reform).
Genesis Aguilar is a first-generation Mexican American. Her mother and father immigrated to the United States in the early 1980’s, looking for work as fruit harvesters in the Central Valley. To honor their legacy, Genesis has taken up the fight for immigration reform as an SEIU 521 Member Political Organizer (MPO).
Read our Q&A with Genesis to find out why she got involved with SEIU. If her story inspires you, please share your own vision for America in the comment field below.
SEIU 521: Why is immigration reform important to you?
Genesis: My parents came to America to escape violence in Mexico and make a better life for themselves. They were granted amnesty in 1986, but many undocumented immigrants haven’t been as lucky. Undocumented immigrants have no hope of going home to visit their families – if there’s a funeral, or a wedding, they can’t go back to Mexico.
They live in constant fear of deportation, and this affects their lives in so many ways. They can’t rely on the police for protection against domestic violence or crime. They have no recourse. Just the other day in Salinas, I saw a couple crossing the street with their toddler. A reckless driver came speeding through the red light and hit their child – it seemed like the kid was ok, but it angered me. Because I know that the couple won’t report the incident. If they’re undocumented, they can’t sue, or pursue any form of justice, for fear of deportation.
SEIU 521: What needs to change with the United States’ current policies towards immigration?
Genesis: Our country has a history of treating immigrants poorly; during WWII it was the Japanese; during the Goldrush it was the Chinese, and during the Industrial Revolution it was the Irish. It’s time for a change. We need a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, one that will allow families to stay together.
The borders we create are so arbitrary. Borders can be physical, like rivers and mountains, or imaginary lines dividing two nations. Borders can be economic, or cultural. November’s election is an opportunity to elect candidates who are capable of looking beyond our man-made borders to support working families and immigrants.
This election, our six Member Political Organizers are focused on five issues essential for building stronger communities across America:
- Sergio Garcia: $15 and union rights
- Mullissa Willette: Affordable child care
- Rogenia Cox: Quality long-term care
- Alysia Bonner: Racial justice
- Genesis Aguilar (story above) and Tammy Dhonata: Common sense immigration reform
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