Inform, Protect & Defend: Our role as Immigrant Allies Forum

 

On Saturday, November 18th, Silicon Valley Latino and San Jose City College (SJCC) hosted a highly engaging, informative and stimulating forum related to the post-DACA landscape and the topic of immigration reform. This timely event was hosted by Jorge Escobar, Vice President at San Jose City College at the new SJCC Milpitas Extension.

The event was called “Inform, Protect & Defend: Our role as Immigrant Allies” and the convening featured a panel of immigration experts who discussed the current immigration landscape, what we could do to protect the rights of our vulnerable immigrant communities and ways to engage, advocate and support these efforts. The panel also offered the audience detailed facts and examples on what is happening on local, state and federal levels around immigration policy, ICE activities and so much more.

The forum was moderated by Zulma Maciel, Director of The City of San Jose’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. The panel featured Nikki Marquez from The Immigration Legal Resource Center, Mariela Garcia from Sacred Heart Community Service and from the Santa Clara County, Deputy District Attorney, Josue Fuentes.

All three panelists provided a unique and insightful perspective of what is happening and what we can do to help defend misinformation and assist in keeping those at-risk safe. First, they helped de-mystifying some of the rumors and fears that are circulating in our communities. They also talked about how ICE agents have been using questionable tactics in creating an atmosphere of fear and intimidation throughout specific communities. When in fact, ICE agents need to follow proper law enforcement tactics and procedures to detain anyone. That includes having a warrant. They also informed the audience that anyone living in this country has the right to an attorney as well as the right to remain silent.

The most critical lesson any person can learn is that immigrants living in this country have just the same rights when it comes to law enforcement. A witness to a crime, a person volunteering at civic events, peaceful protestors and traffic violations are all protected from illegal and unnecessary investigation of a person’s citizenship.

The issue is indeed a complicated legal one. That’s why Sacred Hearts Community Services has provided a 24 hour Rapid Response Hotline. The Rapid Response Network in Santa Clara County (RRN) is a community defense project developed to protect immigrant families from deportation threats from the federal administration, and to provide moral and accompaniment support during and after immigration operations in our community. It is a 24/7 hotline that community members can call to report any ICE operations in our county and receive help in real life time.

Any concerned community member that witnesses immigration enforcement activity in Santa Clara County can call the hotline number 24/7. Please note this is not a general information line, if you need general immigration services contact a community based organization in your area.

When you call the RRN line the dispatcher that received the call will support the community member in asserting their rights, and will dispatch trained Rapid Responders to the impacted site.

If immigration enforcement is confirmed, the Rapid Responders will conduct legal observation, collect evidence that may support the immigration case of the impacted family, and provide moral support and accompaniment to the impacted family. If a community member is detained, they will be connected to immigration attorneys for legal counsel and provide additional support. They want to make sure no community member has to go through this on their own.

This is a collaborative project led by Sacred Heart Community Service, PACT, Pangea Legal Services, LUNA, SIREN, CARAS, Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, the South Bay Labor Council, the City of San Jose Office of Immigrant Affairs and the Santa Clara County Office of Immigrant Relations.

The most prominent and encouraging defense here in Santa Clara County has been the establishment of The Rapid Response Hotline. This is a direct number to a bank of trained responders who can instantly aid and provide legal help and protocol instantly.

Indeed, many questions persist on the immigration front. Fear runs deep as our at-risk community members are so uncertain about their status in this country and what the future holds.

There are many things we can do as immigrant allies in the community. Saturday’s panel provided 10 action items we can do as immigrant allies to help protect and defend our neighbors.

 

JOIN THE RAPID RESPONSE NETWORK: Protect our undocumented community when they face ICE action. Rapid Responders will record the action of ICE agents and provide support to individuals and families. For more information or to register for a Rapid Response Training visit: http://sacredheartcs.org/rrn/. For questions, contact Rosa DeLeon at ROSAD@sacredheartcs.org.

SPREAD THE WORD: Distribute Know Your Rights (KYR) red cards and Hotline cards to friends, family, places of worship, schools, businesses patronized by Limited-English speakers, etc. For more information on red cards, visit https://www.ilrc.org/red-cards. If you would like to pick up cards from the San Jose Office of Immigrant Affairs, please email ImmigrantAffaris@sanjoseca.gov

ENCOURAGE CITIZENSHIP:

– Support family members and friends who are legal permanent residents to    naturalize.          Visit the New Americans Campaign to learn about citizenship workshops in your event as        well      as information on how you can volunteer: http://newamericanscampaign.org/citizenship-events/.

– Encourage your employer to host a free citizenship workshop for its employees. Contact Monisha Merchant at the New American Workforce: mmerchant@immigrationforum.org

SUPPORT CENSUS 2020 WORK: Volunteer to reach hard-to-count individuals so that everyone is counted. The first opportunity is during Spring 2018, email Zulma Maciel for more information: Zulma.maciel@sanjosca.gov.

JOIN PRO-BONO RESPONSE NETWORK: To help meet the demand for legal services, attorneys and law students are encouraged to sign-up for the statewide Immigration Pro Bono Response network at https://onejustice.org/ourprograms/immigration/.

ATTEND AN EVENT: Show your support for local immigrant and refugee communities. To find an event near you visit http://www.immigrantinfo.org/

STAY INFORMED: LIKE San Jose Office of Immigrant Affairs on Facebook   www.Facebook.com/ImmigrantAffairs.

CALL OR TWEET CONGRESS: Members of Congress need to hear from you. Please urge representatives to act swiftly to pass a clean Dream Act – a permanent legislative solution that provides a pathway toward citizenship for DACA recipients and Dreamers. Visit the ACLU’s Clean Dream Act website for a sample script and to be connected to your Senator:   https://goo.gl/b1ndws.

DISPLAY A WELCOMING SIGN: Show your neighbors that you’re a “WELCOMER.” Pick up a lawn sign from the OIA, email ImmigrantAffaris@sanjoseca.gov.

REPORT NOTARIO FRAUD: Unfortunately, there are people taking advantage of the immigrant community by charging for immigration services that they never provide. Visit United We Dreams’ website for more information on how you can report these activities: https://unitedwedream.org/action/help-stop-fraud/.

 

Silicon Valley Latino appreciates the support of all who attended this convening and their interest to be informed as well as their desire to act as immigrant allies. We were also delighted to have the support and attendance of community and education leaders like City of Milpitas Councilmember, Bob Nuñez, Milpitas Unified School District Superintendent, Cheryl Jordan and education champion and The Center for Latino Education and Innovation and The Maestros Accelerator Program, Executive Director, Dr. David Lopez. We were also pleased to see many local high school students in attendance with interest in becoming advocates to this important issue.  All were truly encouraged to hear real action is being done to protect hard working families, students and those who hold that dream of a better life here in America. We at Silicon Valley Latino were also proud to participate in an afternoon of hope, change and ACTION.

 

Latino Leaders Fireside Chat Series Launch with Tony Quintero

 

Silicon Valley Latino and San Jose City College had the distinct pleasure of bringing together the community to become part of our inaugural Latino Leaders Fireside Chat Series featuring Tony Quintero at the new Milpitas Extension campus.

We were challenged with the task of condensing this man’s amazing accomplishments and adventures in the two hour talk. We could have gone all afternoon. Certainly those in attendance wanted more.

Tony awed and inspired the participants with his unique life story. Starting out as a humble transfer student at San Jose State University to leading The La Raza National Law Students Association, to teaching at different universities statewide.  He also became a commercial real estate all-star, the first Latino to own a chain of regional malls to now becoming a Latino industry champion. All with a focus to support and inspire Latinas/Latinos, never losing site of the rage burning inside of him. As a child, Tony witnessed first hand how our community was treated back in the 1960’s. Refusing to come to grips with the question haunting him from an early childhood experience. “Why does God let us be second class citizens?”

What attendees learned was that Tony was able to harness that independent spirit and align himself with those values early on. Tony has always worked as an independent agent.

When posed the question of why he never sought to run for office Tony, answers, “because he did not want to participate in the money in politics bureaucracy or red tape.” This has allowed him to make the kind of changes and have the impact he has had in his career.

A child of a WWII veteran and a warm, nurturing mother, growing up in Redwood City, Tony experienced poverty at a young age as his father struggled to find work in the post WWII bay area. After serving and becoming citizens after the war, many families struggled and often questioned what they were fighting for. Tony’s experience was a lot like many Latinos in that era, trying to find identity, while facing racial injustice and lack of opportunities in school and in the workplace. Even to the point, as Tony recalls, of Mexican children segregated in schools and forced to share classrooms in horse stables. Until in 1947 the case of Mendez v. Westminster in which the Federal Court ruled this type of segregation as unconstitutional. Tony knew early on that college was his path. He found refuge in books, became a book worm. Bullied more for this, Tony focused even more, and fueled by the discrimination and misunderstandings around him, fought to make a difference.

Those battles percolate in every turn of Tony’s career. Fighting for justice through earning a law degree from Cal Berkeley, starting the first EOP Program at San Jose State University and being Elected First National President of La Raza Law Students Association in 1970.

Tony’s ascent was rapid and clear. He wanted to give Latinos a voice. He wanted to organize and lead. Being the maverick that he is, Tony did not seek to align with red tape, he aligned with action.

The next chapter in Tony’s career lead to an interest in Commercial Real Estate. Seeking to breathe life into a downtown San Jose area that had become run down and stagnant. He saw the future of this high tech mecca. He’s quoted in the early 90’s as predicting a major corporation would call San Jose home within 5 years. His foresight was dead on, to say the least. He moved on to the buying and developing of shopping malls, and was instrumental in allowing small, minority owned businesses to share the stage with major retail players.

Tony’s latest endeavor is developing and producing films which portray Latinos in a more positive light. Latinos represent over 25% of box office ticket sales, yet are grossly under represented on film. With well under 4% of roles going to Latinos. Not only that, but often cultural biographies representing Latino figures are often cast to Anglos. Tony points out numerous examples. The audience nods in recognition.

Those who were fortunate enough to sit down with Tony at our fireside chat were allowed a glimpse of a compassionate and determined individual, who so eloquently reminded us that revolution, comes from within.

We are certainly grateful for allowing Tony to share his story and inspire so many.

 

 

 

 

Luis Villa – SVL Cultura Ambassador

 

Silicon Valley Latino is proud to feature our newest Cultura Ambassador, Luis Villa from San Luis Potosí in Mexico. Luis is driven by his latest entrepreneurial endeavor Villa C. Luis and his wife Marisol recently visited with us here in Silicon Valley and we were thrilled to visit with him at Stanford University along with some iconic Silicon Valley institutions such as the Facebook and Google campuses. While pitching potential investors for Villa C, Luis was able to visit the Bay Area and not only meet with potential investors; he was also able to meet with other Cultura Ambassadors who offered him encouragement and support. Luis was able to be inspired first hand at one of Silicon Valley’s Inspire Higher Panel Discussions.

Bringing craftsmanship and unique designs from talent around the world and giving them a global stage in the marketplace is what Villa C is all about. The idea was hatched when Luis shared software design courses with fashion designers at The Universidad Interamericana para el Desarrollo. Luis quickly realized that the genius that toiled in the classroom needed a marketing and sales platform to feature such young amazing talent. He quickly started putting together Villa C. A marketplace for International, young designers.

The idea is to take the necessary steps in finding quality, locally made garments and presenting them through their e-commerce website in a way that’s fair to market and in a way that gives merchandise a sophisticated brand look. The Villa C website coordinates taylor-made solutions for custom garments direct to customers.

Through Villa C, designers will have access to key distribution, manufacturing and collaboration tools and services normally available only in more sophisticated supply chain solutions.

Luis Villa and his start up Villa C are dedicated to offering unique designs from custom designers around the world. This revolutionary idea helps them reach an audience looking for locally made and hard to find goods in a new global market place. His venture is well underway and he certainly has bright horizons ahead as Villa C is expected to officially be launching soon, including the possibility of participating in the next Boot Camp at Manos Accelerator. Manos Accelerator is a mentorship-driven accelerator program that provides “hands-on” education, business resources, infrastructure, capital, and guidance for promising Latino led startup companies, moving them towards a fast track to success.

We are excited to share this journey with all our Cultura Ambassadors. Stay tuned for more exciting news on Luis Villa and Villa C.

 

 

San Jose Earthquakes Avaya Stadium ribbon cutting ceremony

 

Silicon Valley Latino was on hand to participate in the ribbon cutting ceremony at the brand new $ 100 million Avaya Stadium in San Jose, home of your San Jose Earthquakes.

Soon to be a fan favorite. The allotted 12,000 season ticket have all but been sold out.

View from Press box

“There is no other stadium in North America like this one” says earthquakes Club President Dave Kaval. “All the elements we have brought to this new stadium create a unique home environment”. Says Kaval. “We have a home now.” This is great for our existing fans as well as creating a larger fan base for many years to come.”

 

The stadium holds 18,000 but every angle from every seat lends an intimate, close-up feel to fans unmatched by anything I’ve ever experienced. Indeed, sitting up at the top row, not only was it a terrific seat with an amazing view, but the positioning of the stadium gives breath taking views to San Jose International Airport, as well as downtown San Jose.

 

The project, completed solely with private funds, is led by High Tech giant Avaya, who are thrilled to bring this jewel to San Jose. Avaya CEO Kevin Kennedy feels the diverse audience of the international game of soccer is the ideal audience to reach Avaya’s message of communication and engagement to a global audience.

SJ Quakes Dignitaires

 

Not only is Avaya Stadium the home of the Earthquakes, but it’s also an ideal location for unique outdoor events for groups of all sizes.

We at Silicon Valley Latino are optimistic about following the Earthquakes and the entire MLS season in 2015 and look forward to seeing you at the stadium for an Earthquakes game real soon.  Avaya Stadium is a wonderful, affordable and exciting place to meet. Go Earthquakes!!