What We’ve Accomplished Together in 2012
Letter from Executive Director Rich Stolz
December 20, 2012
I’ve now been at OneAmerica for just over three months, but that’s been long enough to feel in my bones how OneAmerica lives its values. Justice. Courage. Respect. Collaboration. Accountability. I feel privileged to lead OneAmerica. I’m inspired by you and your continuing commitment to our common cause, and I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished together.
And following the 2012 elections, I’m even more excited about our future.
In his victory speech on Election night, President Obama said, “In the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together. Reducing our deficit. Reforming our tax code. Fixing our immigration system. Freeing ourselves from foreign oil. We’ve got more work to do.” These remarks were the culmination of months of hard work by countless grassroots leaders, activists and supporters across America.
I know because I was in those planning meetings where I and others decided that the path toward a comprehensive immigration reform fight in Congress in the President’s second term would begin only if the President signaled his commitment immediately following the election, thereby underscoring the impact of the Latino and Asian American vote. We succeeded. And with your support, we’ll hold him to this promise, and build the political will necessary to fix our broken immigration system and win tangible, lasting victories for our families and nation.
Here in Washington State, OneAmerica also played a critical role in the struggle for marriage equality. OneAmerica’s board knew this issue could be controversial within some of the diverse constituencies that anchor our organizing, as well as with some of our valued allies. Yet we stayed true to our vision of a world where every person’s human rights and dignity are respected, and boldly endorsed Referendum 74. We turned our commitment into action, publicly announcing our support, making more than 50,000 phone calls, knocking on nearly 5,000 doors, and airing hundreds of radio advertisements across Washington State to get immigrant voters participating in this historic election. Passing Referendum 74 is an historic victory for all of Washington’s families.
While the OneAmerica office is in Seattle, so far I’ve had the opportunity to visit Mt. Vernon, the Tri-Cities and Yakima to meet with our volunteer leaders. I’m impressed by the quality of our organizing, and the commitment and leadership of our members, volunteers, and allies. These trips underscore for me that we are truly a statewide organization. As Washington’s largest immigrant advocacy organization, we are positioned to help shape a future that not only embraces immigrants but also builds on our state’s diversity to fight for greater prosperity for everyone in this increasingly inequitable economy. This will mean going deeper into our work on education policy, fortifying our citizenship work with financial literacy education, and building on creative new approaches to modernize adult English language learning and workforce development strategies through English Innovations.
Your contribution before the end of the year will go a long way in supporting OneAmerica’s mission to advance democracy and justice in immigrant communities, while protecting human rights, dignity, and solidarity for all.
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BUILDING Active Citizens
We built immigrant power through the 2012 elections; volunteer leaders registered hundreds of voters and contacted thousands of voters through phone calls and door-knocking.
PROTECTING Love, Family and Commitment
OneAmerica endorsed Referendum 74, which would allow same-sex couples to marry. We took these challenging conversations to our base, connecting the dots for keeping all families together.
CREATING Opportunity for Immigrant Youth
OneAmerica’s advocacy over the last several years successfully pushed the Obama Administration to announce it would allow young undocumented individuals to receive Deferred Action from deportation. Over 2,000 people attended more than a dozen of our Town Halls around Washington State to learn about Deferred Action.
ENHANCING English Language Learning
Over the past two years, OneAmerica piloted new ground by building the English Innovations program, a national model for teaching English and technology together. 200 students completed the pilot phase and classes will continue into 2013.
DEFENDING Human Rights Along the Northern Border
OneAmerica educated our policy makers about the fear and mistrust among community members toward the U.S. Border Patrol by releasing a report titled The Growing Human Rights Crisis Along Washington’s Northern Border.