One of the PICO principles says, “Organizing is about people; people are about issues.” There is no greater example of that than what one of our organizers, Emma Paulino, experienced several weeks ago.
Earlier in the month, she was invited by a fifth grade class at ASCEND to be a guest speaker for the class’s Changemakers project. Emma went there and talked about her experience as a mother and leader, and as an organizer. The teachers said that the students felt very connected when she started talking about immigration, and they invited her back to talk about the Campaign for Citizenship, the legislation process and what’s happening with the immigration legislation currently being debated in the Senate.
When Emma returned a couple of weeks ago, she conducted a training for the students about the legislation process. She outlined the 12 steps for any legislation, and to illustrate the process, she had 12 volunteers from the class stand up in the front of the room and help me her with the presentation.
Since immigration reform is now making its way through the Senate, Emma shared with the students how important it was for people to let their voices be heard. She let them know about the importance of making phone calls to our senators. She even had a script for the phone calls and asked the students if they wanted to call Senator Dianne Feinstein. Of course, since the students were already engaged in the training, all of them wanted to do it.
According to Emma, they formed a line to call Feinstein. Unfortunately, she said, they didn’t have much time so only three students were able to make calls. Emma said it was very powerful to see them feeling so confident after the first call, and all of them requested a copy of the script to take home and encourage their family member to make phone calls to the Senate.
Here are some of the statements the students made after the exercise:
“I know that I can make the difference regarding immigration.”
“I was afraid but it wasn’t that hard. I know I will make more phone calls from home with my family.”
“I know that changes are possible if we do our part.”
Well done, ASCEND. Thanks for showing all of us that change is possible if we aren’t afraid to step out in front and let our voices be heard.