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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Meet CIRC Colorado Immigrants Rights Coalition, RIFFA Manifestación Masiva! Las Vegas!

CIRC Colorado









It is once again time to join with my Latino brothers in a show of support and solidarity for the passage of just immigration laws in the United States. 


One of the organizations which will be at the rally in force is the Colorado Immigrants Rights Coalition (CIRC).  In fact, CIRC is nothing short of a major supporter of RIFA, as are so many organizations based upon treating one another like we would like to be treated ourselves.

CIRC Staff in picture above

I consider myself very fortunate to have earned a seat inside the facility that houses CIRC and RIFA.  As such, it is my obligation to guard closely anything I have learned, by the by, or through gaining confidences, about CIRC plans.  So no tid bids of news here.  You will hear it soon enough.

I can tell you a little about the organization.  A ‘little’ means a little.  I have an immense amount to learn about civil rights organizations in general and perhaps with time, this Denver based group.


These guys are serious about the matter of treating others fairly”

First, of course, CIRC is not just one group.  It is a coalition new votersof groups representing various sectors and places in Colorado.  The organization was founded in 2002 and more  formally organized in 2008.  One of the principals I like the most is their desire for honest representation of the facts, so no puffing allowed.  None needed!

CIRC Photograph

These guys are serious about the matter of treating others fairly, they are professional, and they are effective!

Diversity is one of CIRC’S hallmarks from what I can see.  Starting with the 9 to 5 National Association of Working Women, Colorado Chapter, all the way to Uniting with Migrants Workers, this organization unites many immigrant’s needs and civil rights organizations. 

support colorado range workers Support Colorado Range Workers


I like the Colorado Anti-Violence Program listing and Padres y Jovenes Unidos amongst others.  I don’t know a thing about either member organization more than looking at their web pages.  As I say, I have a lot to learn. 

What I can tell you is I like the causes.  I relate to the anti-violence cause, for example, having lived in a household with a violent family member, not my father, by the way.  I relate to the Padres y Jovenes Unidos organization because my father was absent from the household during formative years. 

I am sure, given the chance, I will relate to nearly every group that makes up CIRC membership because they will all speak to my life experiences in one way or another.  Many of my friends ask my why I am so pro-Latino and I joke with them, I was Latino in my past life!  Well, I was!

The reality is, my family has always supported the Hispanic community.  Dad and granddad were known as ‘Latino friendly’ attorneys in the area where I was raised.  I had a close childhood friend whose father was from Mexico.  However, I fell in love with the culture when I was an exchange student to Cali, Colombia, S.A. 

It was in Cali where some naive and charming notions of what being Latino is all about were dashed upon the rocks.  You have to be Latino to truly understand I suppose.  Suffice it to say, the blissful Gringo sipping tequila on the travel poster of Latino life was rightfully bashed.   

“First of all, we didn’t drink Tequila, we drank a sometimes suave and sometimes vile concoction known as aguardiente”

First of all, we didn’t drink Tequila, we drank a sometimes suave and sometimes vile concoction known as Aguardiente, the taste of which varied by the Colombian state you were visiting.  Second of all, we never sipped Aguardiente.  While our Colombian hosts tried to serve ever smaller doses of the potent nectar to the ‘Gringos who didn’t know how to drink’, we invariably ended up making fools of ourselves before finding a quiet place-hopefully outside-to vomit up most of what we slammed down.


It was also in Cali where my middle-class Colombian exchange student family did me the great favor of allowing me to see the poorer side of Colombian life.  There is nothing charming about living in a cardboard box, or being a child thrown onto the streets at age 7 because the family can’t afford to keep you, or of not being able to get medical care unless you are wealthy or to know what fun a swimming pool was when you are a kid!  These things made lasting impressions upon me which gave me the foundation to understand and empathize with a struggling immigrant community in the U.S. 


Let me bring this full CIRC, je, je. 


One of the CIRC programs I like is the Welcoming Colorado Program.  

“Welcoming Colorado is the only statewide project that seeks to shift the negative messages Coloradans hear about immigrants and immigration from mainstream media and misinformed sources. We want to transform this conversation to one of respect and dignity towards all Coloradans.”

That is a stroke of genius!  The idea about talking about where every one else’s grandfather and grandmother immigrant came from makes a heap heap of sense!  Those who at first though they had nothing in common will learn there is very much in common!  Great job!

Check out the CIRC vision:

“CIRC believes in the inherent dignity and human rights of every person, regardless of immigration status. CIRC envisions a society in which all women, men and children are treated with dignity and respect and have equal access to fair and just work, housing, health care, and education and the opportunity to live united with family members.”

That is pretty cool!  Now check out their founding principles and guidelines:

“• To be led by organizations working to defend and advance immigrant justice.
• Encourage the participation of all immigrants and their supporters.
• Set aside personal or organizational agendas in order to advance justice for immigrants.
• Advance and defend justice for all immigrants regardless of immigration status.

Wow!  For a guy who does not fit very well anywhere, (actually I usually fit just fine when I chill out and let people get to know me), maybe this is an organization for me!  At least it is one that I can get behind!


have it.  I have said nothing here you could not glean from the CIRC Webpage if you wanted to.  As I say, I already feel protective.


“If no one in the world said anything unless they knew what they were talking about, a chilling hush would sweep the land” Author unknown, from On the Move.  Maybe I don’t know what I am talking about.  A good way to find out is check the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition out for yourself!



The Leadership Academy

I hope to see you in the Las Vegas March!  That is this Saturday, April 10th!  Immigration reform is a major part of the solution for immigrants to this country.  Alas, it is not enough.  There are so many other factors beyond just reform!  We have to start with it somewhere, and this is ground zero!  I bet RIFA, Reform Immigration For America, gets it done this year! 

Now put another buck on the pass line if you would…

Dios te bendiga,

Tim Paynter

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