Unity and Freedom Presidential Forum

FIRM Action video 

May 31, 2019 at the Pasadena Hilton Hotel in Pasadena, CA.

4 CANDIDATES: Castro, Harris, Inslee, Sanders.

Background: Many candidates were in state for the California Democratic Party Convention in San Francisco.  This forum drew four candidates.  "Each candidate appeared consecutively on stage and took about 6 questions total from the moderators and audience members. The audience members selected to ask questions have all been impacted by Trump policies."  Coinciding with the event, Gov. Inslee released his immigration plan (+).

FIRM Action, Community Change Action, CHIRLA Action Fund

CONTACT: Jasmine Nazarett, Community Change Action
Jorge-Mario Cabrera, CHIRLA Action Fund

Unity and Freedom Presidential Forum Engages Candidates on Concrete Solutions to Toughest Immigration Questions Facing the Country

Senator Harris, former HUD Secretary Castro, Senator Sanders and Governor Inslee joined the conversation about immigration with immigrants
Pasadena, CA--Immigrants, activists and allies from across the country engaged with Democratic presidential candidates in a conversation about immigration and intersecting issues, such as racial justice, climate change and civil rights. The Unity and Freedom Forum was hosted by FIRM Action, Community Change Action and CHIRLA Action Fund at the Pasadena Hilton Hotel.

More than 500 people from more than 30 states were in attendance. Senators Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders, as well as former HUD Secretary Julián Castro and Governor Jay Inslee participated in a vital conversation about immigration that in the past has left immigrants out.
This time, immigrants were front and center, asking questions directly of each candidate as they appeared on stage.

"Immigrants don't always fare well during elections in this country," said Angelica Salas, CHIRLA Action Fund Executive Director and Board President. "At best, campaigns ignore them because they supposedly don't vote. At worst, candidates demonize and scapegoat them. Today, we will have none of that. Immigrants are speaking their stories, asking their own questions, and expecting real answers from the candidates."

“There’s no doubt that immigrant, Latino and Black voters will elect the next president,” added Dorian Warren, President of Community Change Action. “We make up a voting bloc with unmatched power--and candidates have to earn our votes. The issues impacting immigrants are also impacting Black communities and vice versa.  Earning our votes is about fighting for unity and freedom, for all of us.”

The Unity and Freedom Forum comes after years of relentless attacks by the Trump administration on communities of color, immigrants, and refugees. FIRM Action, Community Change Action, and CHIRLA Action Fund have played key roles in fighting for legislative solutions in Congress, as well as in state legislatures and assemblies.

We have also been active on the electoral stage. In 2018, FIRM Action members, including CHIRLA Action Fund, flipped more than two dozen Congressional districts, leading to the most progressive House of Representatives in history. Along with Community Change Action, the groups reached more than two million voters, including women, Latinos, immigrants, Black and young voters.

It is part of a larger, years-long effort to build a culture of voting and civic participation in immigrant communities so that immigrants can finally feel like they are full participants in our democracy.

Community Change Action is a national social justice organization that builds the power and capacity of low-income people, especially low-income people of color, to change the policies and institutions that impact their lives.

The FIRM Action network is the nation’s largest immigrant-rights coalition, with grassroots organizations in 23 states fighting for immigrant rights at the local, state and federal level. For more information, go to www.firmaction.org or follow us on Twitter@FIRM_Action.
The CHIRLA Action Fund, the political arm of the largest immigrant rights organization in California,  works toward a more participatory democracy inclusive of all immigrants.