immigrants2bfree Headline Animator

Vote 4 immigration reform! Call your senator!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

RIFA Julia Gonzalez says Michael Steel promises support for immigration reform, she asks where is mark udall?


Speaks out...


IT was with some trepidation that I opened the gate and begin a summit of the immense cement staircase to the RIFA headquarters located on East 14th Avenue in Denver Colorado’s North side.  These were steps I should have taken long ago and I wondered what kind of reception I would find at the end of the mountain of stairs. 

“Sorry, but you are years late, we can’t use you” would have been fair.  Iralley suffer from low self esteem anyway and figured it would be deserved.
Julie Gonzales  
What do you say when you are years late for the party?
“Hello, I have arrived!”  That would have been too much. 
I was out of breath, a little nervous, o.k. very nervous.  After all, here is a guerro entering what surely must be mostly a Latino staffed office, asking for a seat at the table for immigration reform.  Fortunately, I had paused to take a deep gulp of OX2 before entering RIFA HQ.

“How can I help you” was the cheerful greeting when I managed to get through the doors to the RIFA office.  RIFA stands for Reform Immigration For America.  This is a place where the suffering stops and the work starts.

“Hi, my name is Tim Paynter and I am here to do whatever it is you need me to do for this great cause.”  It was kinda rehearsed but it came from my heart. 

What do you think was her response?

Julie Gonzales March for America
julia ii
“Glad you are here!” 

Wow! So far so good! 

The gal who was helping me said she would get the state coordinator for RIFA to speak with me, and I was in luck, the coordinator was in!  Let’s see if she was free.

I was trying to decide what to say if I got sent away, when the RIFA coordinator for the state of Colorado, Julie Gonzales, came out and introduced herself. 

What?  I wasn’t in the office longer than five minutes and the state coordinator was going to talk with me?  Maybe I should wear shorts and a T-shirt more often!  I tell my clients if I have to put on a suit it is going to cost them extra!

There was nothing pretentious about the Colorado state coordinator.  She sat me down and listened to a guy who was years late to dinner.

“How much time do you have to help!”

Wow!  They wanted my help!

“As much as you need.” I replied.

Julie smiled.  I knew she had been putting in long hours at ground Zero.  Probably, if I was willing, I could put in long hours, too.

Julie showed me around the office and told me a little bit about the organization.  She explained the office was shared by three different organizations.  There was the state chapter of RIFA, then there was CIRC, Colorado Immigrants Rights Coalition and finally the Coloradans for Immigrant Rights (CFIR) which in turn is a project of American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), a Quaker organization which includes people of various faiths devoted to social justice and peace.  

Then with bright eyes, Julie told me a little bit about the March on Washington D.C. and what a success it had been.  We also talked about the next big event in Las Vegas on April 10th, 2010.  She told me about a lot of hard work in progress and a lot of hard work to go.

“This is going to be really cool” I was thinking to myself. 

Then Julie asked me to sit in with her while she did a radio interview.  She had her computer notes ready for the cat on the other end of the line.  I quickly assumed the task of hitting the wake-up button on her computer as it frequently went into sleep mode.  Hey, my first job!

“I am a little nervous” Julie told me before she went on the air.  Nice to know I am not the only one who gets nervous, although Julie did not look a bit nervous to me.
Then I saw a true soldier for the cause go to work.  Julie didn’t need me to hit the wake-up button on the lap top.  She quickly abandoned her notes as she began to speak from her heart.  Her presentation was great and her enthusiasm was contagious!

The Colorado contingent to the RIFA march on America to Washington D.C. was a big success, she told the radio announcer.  They raised a ton of money to send the buses to Washington, I think the number was $17,000 bucks.  Another $12K was destined for the April 10th march in Las Vegas.  I am sure those who are willing to brave the Nevada sun would appreciate anything you can pull out of your pocket for this great cause.

Where is the Democratic Senator from Colorado, Mark Udall?  Apparently, the Senator has not been vocal regarding file photo udall immigration reform as of late.  If immigration reform is going to pass it will take everything the Democratic

Mark Udall

Party has to throw at it plus a good showing from the Republican side of the isle.  If you have seen Mark lately, you might want to give him a call.  His public is waiting…

The big news for the day was a meeting with Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele, Wednesday, March 31st, 2010.  Julie indicated the powerful Republican at podium leader had promised his support during the meeting with immigration advocates.

Michael Steele 

According to reports, Steele’s support will come with the recruitment of another Republican to join with Senators Lindsey O. Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, and Senator Charles E. Schumer, a Democrat from New York.  

According to an article written by Julia Preston of the New York Times, there is some misunderstanding.  She said:            

“Doug Heye, a spokesman for Mr. Steele, dismissed that account as “100 per cent inaccurate.” (Referring to the a RIFA press release.)

Preston continues with Doug Heye’s statement:

“Mr. Steele ‘makes it a priority to meet with different grassroots steele_3-29 activists who are concerned with the direction of our country,’  Mr. Heye wrote in an e-mail. ‘Today’s meeting was meant as an opportunity to listen to concerns and discuss the Republican Party’s strong support of legal immigration.

Michael Steele

Any claim that the RNC made any policy commitments is a clear misrepresentation.'” 

Here is a quote from the RIFA press release:

“On March 31, ten leaders with the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC) and the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) met with Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele to discuss the future of comprehensive immigration reform in the Republican Party. They walked away with a commitment from Steele to work with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and the party's leadership to enlist another Republican senator's support for comprehensive and bipartisan immigration reform.”

Let’s just say brilliant minds can differ.  Brilliant minds can count, too.  While the official count for the March on Washington on March 21st, 2010 was 200,000, unofficial reports put the number closer to 500,000 marchers.  Put 10 people behind every marcher and that equals 5,000,000 votes.  Which party wants to lose them?

The Colorado Immigrants Rights Coalition is heartily non- partisan.  I do not speak for CFIR, CIRC, RIFA or anyone else other than myself.  One thing is for sure, count me in on the 5,000,000.  
Oh, one other thing.  I know I am late to dinner, but I feel like I just came home.  Thanks Julie!

No comments:

Post a Comment