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Recap: Civic Engagement Day 2016

11 April 2016 No Comment

On February 24, 2016, dozens of MIRA members, allies, and volunteers traveled from around the state to gather at the State Capitol for a press conference and a chance to speak with legislators about the issues facing immigrants in Mississippi.

Joining MIRA were a group of DREAMERS, who were calling for a fair chance at education and a future through tuition equity; members of the A. Phillip Randolph Institute and the State Employees Union, who were supporting comprehensive workers compensation reform; and the leader of Mississippi’s Fight for $15 group, advocating for a fair and living wage – raising minimum wage to $15 per hour. The Mississippi ACLU, Cooperation Jackson, the Human Services Coalition, and the Steps Coalition were unified with us in support of defending immigrant rights. Members of the Latino communities were there to advocate for driver’s licenses for all immigrants regardless of immigration status.

These were the proposals we were advocating for:

· Mississippi Civil Rights Act (w/ACLU)

· Tuition equity—College in-state tuition for all undocumented high school graduates

· Comprehensive Workers Compensation reform

· A $ 15.00 minimum wage

· Mississippi drivers’ license regardless of immigration status

· Prohibit racial profiling

· Support full funding for MS Adequate Education Program

· Fight for Medicaid expansion

· Access to health care for all Mississippi residents regardless of immigration status

· Bad Boss tax—for employers paying workers less than a living wage forcing them     to access public benefits to survive—would return to state treasury the cost to the     public for those benefits (ie. Food stamps, etc, etc.)

· Replace Mississippi State Flag

 

Some thoughts from MIRA organizer Melinda Medina: “ We spoke to several representatives. We talked to those who wanted to listen to us and we tried to talk with those who did not want to note our presence. We educated those who did not know the struggle of immigrants.

“It was a tiring day and we fought hard trying to win the attention of those who move the laws in this State. This year there was much resistance and laws were not passed to help our immigrant communities. In spite of that we left there motivated. We shared different strategies and talked about that which we could do differently. We know that changes don’t happen from one day to the next. We must keep fighting, but one cannot do it alone, we need all of us to be united. Join us in our fight for immigrant rights and all human rights.”

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