The immigrant and LGBTQ communities, who have grown tired of politicians pitting us against each other, or telling us that our issues are not connected, must unite. The lives of young people in Ferguson, in Los Angeles, or on the border, or living in the shadows because of their identity, are not pawns in a political game. Those in power can’t stand with us only when it’s convenient or to earn political points, only to dispose of us when the political calculations change. Collectively, we have and will continue to stand up and show those in power that our lives matter, regardless of our race, immigration status, sexual orientation or gender identity.
Young people are at the forefront of many social justice issues, and through United We Dream’s “I’m a Dream Voter” campaign, geared at mobilizing registered voters to vote on behalf of the undocumented immigrant community, Dreamers remain committed to uplifting the voices of those who are fighting for positive change in their community and in their country.
It’s imperative we show our collective power, becausethere are those who try and strip it from us every day. We must vote because 18 year old Mike Brown, and thousands of other black and brown young people who died at the hands of the police who were sworn to protect them, never will get the chance.
We must vote for the 267,000 undocumented immigrants who also identify as LGBTQ, and are fighting against two distinct stigmas everyday, and face abhorrent conditions inside of detention centers, like long-term solitary confinement.
We must vote because Ligia Jimenez still lives in perpetual fear of being torn apart from her family, even after being in the U.S. for more than 17 years, and working multiple jobs so that her family can get ahead and have a better life. She left Ecuador, and everything she knew, to give her children the best opportunity to succeed, sacrificing her peace of mind along the way.
There is an emerging majority taking root in our nation, one that has different values than past and present majority voices. The LGBTQ movement has made vast strides during the last 10 years but work remains to be done, as workplace discrimination remains commonplace for those in our community. Our families need bold leaders that will stand with us, who will do what is right and fight for our full equality on the local, state and federal level.
The immigrant and LGBTQ communities have continually shown that they must not be taken for granted, and our movements will collectively continue to build power this November and moving forward with an eye toward the 2016, 2018 and 2020 elections.
Let us be clear that we are not bound to any political party. We are bound only to our families and to our communities, and we will hold anyone accountable who stands in the way of our dignity and justice.
We’re mobilizing people to vote and take action, from Texas to Florida, to Ohio and New York, to keep families together. Our communities know the struggle of losing a loved one to a system created simply to break us apart.
For far too long, our people have had to deal with inadequate education and opportunities to succeed. For far too long, our families have dealt with discrimination and suffering and the hands of imprisonment, and an enforcement machine that has deported more than 2 million people, including many LGBTQ immigrants who have been sent back to countries where it is a crime to be gay. And now we say enough.
Heroes in our movements for equality, from Harvey Milk, to Ida B. Wells, to Cesar Chavez, have fought for and have stressed the importance of civic engagement, and as the future of this country, it is our civic duty to uphold those values and encourage people to vote. We will carry the torch and encourage our communities to vote — not for a particular party but for their values.