Immigrant Advocacy Day in Richmond, VA was held on January 28th, 2016
Approximately 50 community members and leaders from all over the state came together in Richmond, VA to represent and be the voice for the Latino immigrant community. The numbers were less than initially expected due to weather related travel conditions, but the impact and experience was as large as we hoped. Our Charlottesville representation was strong with 18 people taking a full day off of work to show up, be seen and have their voices heard for others that couldn’t be there.
We formed into six teams during our morning strategy session to meet with as many representatives as possible and put faces and stories behind the issues these legislators will be deciding on. The Sin Barreras leadership team, along with two additional community members, attended prescheduled appointments with our local representatives, Delegate David Toscano and Senator Creigh Deeds, as well as others outside our of region, but we were unable to see Delegate Robert Bell due to overruns in his schedule. Our second team of Charlottesville community members also met with several representatives.
Our visits were met with support, open minds and recognition of the hard work and family values that are the foundation of the Latino community. However, we were not received by everyone because of busy schedules, but it was not clear if any of it was related to positions in opposition to movements favoring immigrant rights. We left our meetings feeling we made an impact and we hope it will be remembered when the time comes and it matters most. We also recognize that this is only a first step of many more to come.
At midday, we gathered and were recognized on the floors of the house and senate. We later regrouped and concluded by reflecting on the day’s events and experiences. We heard multiple heartfelt testimonies from community members that were inspired by the support expressed by many legislators and the efforts displayed by everyone willing to speak up for a community that has too often been overlooked, misunderstood and misrepresented.