OCO was a key partner in an immigration forum that Congresswoman Barbara Lee held in Oakland on March 26.

More than 300 people from Oakland Community Organizations, labor unions and social service agencies packed St. Elizabeth High School to ask the congresswoman to be a voice for the 11 million aspiring citizens living in the U.S.

OCO leaders Mireya Chavarria and Elisa Morales shared their testimonies during the forum, and Lee confirmed her support of a pathway for citizenship for aspiring Americans.

“We are a nation of immigrants whose contributions are a proud part of our heritage,” Lee said in a statement. “Unfortunately, undocumented immigrants have lived in the shadows for far too long and we have a moral obligation to our DREAMers, the LGBT community, and families waiting in perceptual visa backlogs to fix this system.

“The powerful testimony heard tonight reminds us of just how broken our immigration system is and underscores the need for real, comprehensive immigration reform. I will continue to fight for a plan that strengthens families, builds the American workforce, and includes a clear roadmap to citizenship.”

The forum kicked off our Campaign for Citizenship, a project of PICO National Network involving more than a dozen states throughout the country to push for a direct pathway to citizenship.