We couldn’t wait to send you this email… but now that it’s official — our newest staff member starts March 5th! Read through our February Newsletter to get to know our new program associate, Vanessa Morales-Cid, and learn more about our struggle to win driver’s licenses for all New Yorkers.
Vanessa is joining our staff after having been a member-leader, an alderman of Middletown’s Fourth Ward, and a working college student. Oh, and did we mention that she’s only 21?
While Vanessa was born and raised in the Hudson Valley, her roots are Mexican, and her mother’s leadership within local community organizing inspired Vanessa to take an active role in social change work. Vanessa is fighting for an end to racism and a world where immigrants no longer have to live in the shadows.
When we asked what she loved about this work, she said, “We’re not an organization, we’re a family. We do this work from our hearts, not just because we’re getting paid. We’re dedicating our time because that’s what we feel in our hearts is the right thing to do.”
We’re so excited for Vanessa to join our team as a full-time staff person to help strengthen our programmatic and operational work so that we can continue expanding our membership base, developing our bilingual capacities, and making meaningful change. Email Vanessa to say hello, congratulations, or welcome!
Green Light Campaign
Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson plays a central role in the statewide Green Light Campaign fighting for New York State legislation that gives access to driver’s licenses to undocumented New Yorkers. In addition to being part of the Steering Committee, we’ve also taken on the primary responsibility of running and training the campaign’s “Consejo,” its statewide advisory council of directly impacted immigrants.
We invest so much into this campaign because driver’s license legislation is one of the most impactful policies New York could implement to protect all undocumented immigrants, as well as current DACA recipients (who may lose their licenses if their status is no longer protected). According to a 2017 report by the Fiscal Policy Institute, more than 752,000 undocumented immigrants would be eligible for driver’s licenses in New York State.
For New York residents upstate, in Staten Island, and on Long Island, driving is essential to their livelihood. Access to driver’s licenses will allow undocumented immigrants to drive to work, worship, school, and in emergencies without the increased risk of arrest and deportation.
Currently, 12 states and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have enacted laws to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver’s license.
The Green Light campaign’s bill will be introduced in the New York State Assembly shortly, and we will be part of leading local and statewide actions calling for its passage.
In the meantime, Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson has been discussing the bill with State Assemblymembers and their offices, including Assemblymembers Aileen Gunther, Frank Skartados (who co-sponsored a previous version of the bill), and James Skoufis.
We met with Assemblymember Aileen Gunther (center) on February 9th, and she expressed significant support for the driver’s license bill.
Immigration Navigator Trainings
Our new staff person, Vanessa, and her mother, Cid, are becoming Immigration Navigators with the New York Immigration Coalition. In preparation, they’ve been attending day-long trainings in New York City on immigration history and law, Know Your Rights training curriculum, family safety plans, and much more.
The New York Immigration Coalition’s program prepares individuals like Vanessa and her mother to act as Immigration Navigators in their own communities — supporting immigrants with Know Your Rights trainings and guidance on navigating the immigration system. You’ll be hearing more from Vanessa about her experience as she moves forward with the trainings.
We’ve moved to a new Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) system, which coordinates our emails, sign ups, and donations. We have some beautiful new pages (like the one below) that will make it easier than ever to contribute, sign up, and take action. But in the case that you do experience any problems with our emails or online forms during this transition, please contact Caitlin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our new donation page!