2022 Annual Report

Introduction

Welcome Letter

Friend, we have accomplished so much this year.

In the last fiscal year, CASA secured many victories for immigrant and working-class communities. We are so proud of all that we have achieved this year, and we thank you for being an ally that CASA members can rely on.

CASA members worked at the state level for immigrant rights. In Maryland, CASA members fought for and won passage of The Healthy Babies Equity Act, with funding for the initiative expected to begin later this year. Expanding Medicaid to cover prenatal and postpartum care for mothers regardless of immigration status, this law is one step closer towards Healthcare for All and securing justice for all immigrants.

In Georgia, we secured our presence and increased our capacity to organize our local communities by opening our first offices in the state. We are proud to be a part of the LatinX Alliance and Freedom to Drive Coalition. We are also proud to be collaborating with New Georgia Project, United for Respect, and the Communications Workers of America in order to establish essential worker advisory boards in every county in Georgia and working with education advocacy groups to oppose laws that ban the discussion of racism in the classroom.

Nationally, CASA ran a successful campaign to win TPS (Temporary Protected Status) for Cameroon and is currently fighting for the same for Central America. By securing TPS, the Cameroonian immigrant community is protected from deportation back to a dangerous civil war: this is a landmark victory for the rights of immigrants who deserve to live free from fear and danger. A national leader in securing immigrant rights, CASA has and will continue to work tirelessly to win TPS designation for Central American countries and for immigrants of every country that need it.

In addition to our advocacy and organizing work, I am proud to share the success of CASA’s direct services program. In CASA’s latest ESOL session, we hit our enrollment goal to provide as many people with necessary English skills as we could to give members of the immigrant and working-class communities the opportunity to better integrate into the workforce and provide for themselves and their families. CASA also vaccinated over 3,000 people in Baltimore and Prince George's County and distributed over 22,000 COVID kits and KN95 masks in Prince George's County and Montgomery County Maryland. It is direct services like these that are essential to building up power in our communities so that they have the capacity to advocate for themselves.

As we move towards 2023, we know there is much more work we must do. CASA’s 122,000 immigrant and working-class members will work together with people like you to win even more national victories, pass imperative legislation, and provide even more services to our community. I know that you will never stop fighting for our community, and neither will we.

We are so grateful for your support, and we look forward to another year of hard work and success.

In solidarity,
Gustavo Torres

Photo Gallery
By the Numbers
Increase in services received 2021-22

12.5%

Increase in services received

12%

Increase in unique individuals served

11,900

New members last year

15.6%

Increase in women served

51%

Increase in services recipients outside CASA’s historic home state of Maryland

13%

Increase in services delivered to Black identifying community members

Who We Are
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Growing Our Home

National Membership

Our national membership program has continued to grow and is THRIVING!

In 2021, CASA recruited 1,868 national members living in 41 states in addition to MD, VA, PA, and the District of Columbia. In 2022, that growth continued, and CASA now has over 3,000 national members in 44 US States, D.C., and Puerto Rico. These members are primarily asylum seekers, as such, working with them has underlined the importance of fighting for justice in all aspects of our broken immigration system, and has allowed us to broaden the scope and diversity of our beautiful and growing CASA community.

2022 also saw serious investments in our national membership – CASA hired two national member organizers devoted specifically to bringing our national membership together as a true CASA member committee, including securing 2 seats for national members on CASA’s member leadership council.

We also launched remote services for our national members, added national members to our Leadership Development Fellowship programs, and brought hundreds of national members to mobilizations in D.C. to ensure that they could participate as full CASA members in our advocacy efforts.

Get to know our members
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As our national membership program continues to grow, it forms the basis of CASA’s emergence from a regional organization into a national one, and we’re so excited to see how this incredible group of members can help us build power moving forward.

A New Home in Georgia

Thank you to everyone who joined us at our Georgia Welcome Center ribbon cutting! We were glad to welcome so many Georgia superstars including elected officials, union members, and partners including Nse Ufot, Executive Director of New Georgia Project.

1 in 10 Georgia residents are immigrants

61%

The population of English learners grew by 61% in GA from 2011-2019

8th

Georgia educates the 8th highest number of English Learners (ELs) in the nation

485

485 CASA members in GA since our launch in 2021

This year, CASA’s presence in Georgia has been solidified. We welcomed Luis Zaldivar,  political campaign and community engagement strategist with over 10 years of experience in policy interventions for development and public health programs, as CASA’s first Georgia State Director. We have been hard at work building capacity in the state for further services and organizing. The Atlanta Metro area has welcomed CASA with open arms, and we have been busy building coalitions and partnerships! CASA is proud to be a part of the LatinX Alliance and Freedom to Drive Coalition, as well as collaborating with New Georgia Project, United for Respect and the Communications Workers of America to establish essential worker advisory boards in every county in Georgia and working with education advocacy groups to oppose HB 1084 and HB 1178 that bans discussion of race and racism in the classroom.

Our organizing, policy, and CASA in Action’s election team have grown immensely. Our services team is starting to take shape, with the hiring of our first services manager after our team was granted a planning grant to conduct a needs assessment and research the best plan of action for implementing services that meet the needs of the community in Metro Atlanta.

Nov 2020 CASA in Action began building its base during the senate runoff election
2021 Vaccine outreach in Clayton County with New Georgia Project and SURJ
December 2021 CASA Georgia holds its first member meeting
January 2022 Luis Zaldivar hired as CASA’s first Georgia State Director
March 2022 CASA stood with Deep Center, The Georgia Youth Justice Coalition, Intercultural Development Research Association (IDRA), The Black College Firm, Senator Elena Parent, Representative Bee Nguyen, Senator Lester Jackson, Representative Edna Jackson, and Representative Derek Mallow, in solidarity alongside Georgia students who were denied their right to public testimony regarding House Bill 1084. Watch the video
April 2022 CASA’s organizing team participates in a rally at Folkston
May 2022 CASA’s first worker’s center in Georgia opens its doors in Forest Park
June 2022 CASA’s Georgia State Director is named the Co-Chair of the LatinX Alliance’s Policy Sub-Committee
June 2022 CASA hires Alberto Feregrino as Membership Engagement Program Coordinator in Georgia
July 2022 CASA Georgia’s first in-person member meeting is held at the Forest Park office
July 2022 Stephanie Contreras is hired as CASA’s Services Manager in Georgia and Micaela Lattimer as Community Organizer
September 2022 CASA announces partnership with New Georgia Project, Communication Workers of America, and United for Respect to create an advisory board for essential workers in every county in Georgia after months of planning
The Next Generation of Leaders

CASA strives to support the next generation of immigrant and first-generation youth in becoming leaders in their communities through our youth programming and youth councils. This year, our 39 students participated in the Escalera program, 21 of whom completed internships in our various departments, working alongside staff in health, organizing, and more. 

Meet Gabriela Hernandez, a CASA youth leader and DACA holder

Gabriela Hernandez has grown up with CASA, having felt drawn to the organization since she was a kid watching her mother get a member photo ID when the family first arrived in Maryland. After submitting her first DACA application with the help of CASA, she began attending community charlas and rallies more often. Gabriela became an active youth volunteer when she was 17 after the DACA program was attacked by the Trump administration. She was invited to the 2018 State of the Union by Congressman Steny Hoyer as his DACA recipient guest to send a message to Congress, which was published in Teen Vogue. She has shared her personal story to countless media outlets for the past few years as an advocate for DACA and undocumented immigrants. Gabriela rose further up the leadership ladder, earning a role on CASA’s Prince George’s County Youth Committee and then serving on the CASA Leadership Council for years. Moving up with increased responsibilities, Gabriela participated in CASA’s DACA Fellowship program, the Climate Justice Fellowship program, and was an intern throughout the years. After five years of being an active member of CASA, Gabriela Hernandez’s leadership and professional experience awarded her a full-time position as campaign communications specialist in 2022.

Youth in Baltimore City

Thirty-seven youth in Baltimore City also participated in the Mayor Scholars Program, through which immigrant students who are not otherwise eligible can take their summer bridge classes at Baltimore City Community College (BCCC) and participate in a series of workshops at CASA in order to receive a summer scholarship and become eligible for free tuition at BCCC the following fall. After 6 weeks of college and career readiness orientations and service alongside our organizing department and CASA in Action team, students celebrated the culmination of the program with the unveiling of the statue created in partnership with Baltimore Clayworks and local artist George Rodriguez.

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Funded by Gutierrez Memorial Fund, the collaboration encouraged students and neighbors to express their feelings through art and to give them a break from the new reality behind virtual meetings. The sculpture is a piece of art that was created during a time of uncertainty but was designed, created, and built with love by students, neighbors, partners, and artists. The students worked with the neighbors to develop a piece that represented the neighborhood. They conducted surveys to capture the opinion of neighbors throughout the process. The totemic sculpture now stands outside CASA’s Baltimore Welcome Center on a base of tiles created by students and community members.

Our youth committees are off to a great start in Baltimore and York and are growing in Woodbridge and Langley Park! This year, we hired youth promoters to support organizers in staffing the committees in York and Langley Park, and we hope to hire additional youth promoters to support Woodbridge and Baltimore! In Baltimore, youth have identified transit equity as a priority campaign issue, and in York, youth have identified tuition equity for immigrant students to attend community college as a priority issue.

   
Growing at CASA

A pillar in the success of CASA’s leadership and trust within the community is its commitment to being an innovative organization able to evolve and adapt to its communities needs. Within the past year, CASA has extended this career pipeline to the innovative young minds of its community through multidimensional internship programs. These programs permit students who are committed to improving the lives of immigrants and low-income community members the opportunity to embark on stimulating and career-enhancing internships with many of our departments within the organization. CASA’s previous Communications, Legal, and Policy interns prove the importance of diversifying the voices within the organization and the success of CASA’s leadership ladders.

Every semester, interns are guided under the mentorship of the CASA Communications Team and support public relations, social media, and project-based scopes of work. In addition, interns receive the opportunity to interact with other departments and the community to provide a personable and integrative experience and gain knowledge in writing and composition, media relations, event planning, market research and analysis, community relations, brand strategy, and marketing communications.

Legal interns are responsible for assisting attorneys and paralegals with all aspects of legal work. CASA’s housing interns conduct intakes with members, collect and analyze documents, observe court proceedings, and conduct substantial reading, writing, and legal research. Under the supervision of attorneys, interns draft demand letters to employers who have stolen workers’ wages, assist members to file for Temporary Protected Status and DACA, and work with tenants to prevent evictions. 

This year, our housing legal intern wrote the first draft of a legal brief for an eviction case. After the judge ruled in our favor on that issue, the case was settled. As a result of these efforts, the CASA member gets to remain in her apartment with her family for the foreseeable future.

Interns assist the policy team with research, analysis, drafting of written materials, and bill tracking. Additionally, interns receive hands-on experience running legislative campaigns and are given the opportunity to prepare policy briefs and memos for legislative staff and testify on local and statewide bills.

Ally Network

The CASA Ally Network is a network of CASA supporters committed to supporting and standing in solidarity with the immigrant, Latino, and working-class community by organizing, learning, contributing financially, and becoming stronger allies to the immigrant justice movement.

Simply put, the Ally Network gives supporters the opportunity to dive deeper into the issues, be the first in line to take action in support of CASA members, and learn how to be a better ally to immigrants and working-class communities.

Coordinated by CASA and CASA in Action, the Ally Network is guided by the core principle that everyone must be the author of their own liberation and is committed to the following goals:

  1. Strengthening our movement by orienting allies to the values, goals, and dreams of members and aligning the unique resources, talents, and connections of allies to the strategic aims of our members’ struggle.
  2. Welcoming new allies to the movement and coordinating efforts and information with longstanding allies and their affiliated partner organizations.
  3. Creating opportunities for solidarity, learning, and the mutual struggle between communities that might not otherwise interact in our racially and economically segregated society.
  4. Serving in a practical sense as a central hub for coordinating ally involvement in CASA and CASA in Action social, political, and fundraising campaigns.
 
How CASA Defines an Ally

CASA defines a CASA ally as someone who has the privilege of not being directly impacted by the conditions we’re fighting to change but who, because of their passion, their values, and their humanity, want to stand in solidarity with our members. They understand at the end of the day, they are accomplices in the struggle, and their job is to amplify voices rather than replace them. So, to fuel the movement, we ask allies to provide a contribution to signal their commitment and solidarity, with either an annual donation of $120 donation or $10/month. Whether they are new to the immigrant rights movement or well-versed, we would love to have anyone who is committed to justice to join CASA’s Ally Network.

In the past year, CASA continued to provide training and learning opportunities for allies to help them better understand what CASA members are fighting for and how they could be better allies to the immigrant and working-class community. These include opportunities to take part in online training, updates, and calls to action.

Thank you so much for your support!

Anderson, Anna
Bergman, Sydney
Berman, Paul J
Bloom, Daniel
Casertano, Teresa
Dominguez, Adrienne Bethesda
Dwyer, Maura Baltimore
Dyballa, Cindy
Eig, Larry
Hanley, Abigail
Harnik, Peter

Hoover, Bette
Jensen, Carlee
Juberg, Arielle
Keipper, Lindsay
Kornely, Michael
Kuhn Forfa, Deborah
Lenett, Aron
Markey, Michelle
Martinez, Gilda
Napp-Avelli, Carolina
Pfaelzer, Jean Washington

Robinson, Elizabeth
Robinson, William
Rochkind, Jonathan
Sacks, Isabel
Schmitz, Martha
Scrivo, Karen Lee
Stine, Josh
Villegas, Margarita
Welch, Laura
Wingren, Eva
Zaharevitz, Daniel

 
Our Future in Woodbridge

2022 presented an exciting new venture for our Virginia team, with our Woodbridge Welcome Center passing its funding goal of 5 million to secure a location at 2359 Research Court. Services at the new Center will be significantly increased, allowing us to serve an additional 2,000 residents for a total of 5,300 during the first year of expansion, increasing to a target of 15,000 residents annually after three years. As we move into the next phase of CASA services in Virginia, we look forward to new service sites, new programs, and new partnerships to build a better Virginia together.

Strengthening Our Commitment

TPS for Cameroon

In April of 2022, CASA members won a tremendous and long-overdue victory: securing Temporary Protected Status (“TPS”) for Cameroon. Due to longstanding socio-political tensions and armed conflicts in Cameroon, which have left thousands dead, 4.4 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, and over 1 million people internally displaced, it was impossible for those currently in the United States to make a safe return to Cameroon. As violence in Cameroon continued to increase, more and more Cameroonians came to the U.S., including thousands who settled in the DMV region as well as other parts of CASA’s footprint. CASA has been serving, organizing, and fighting alongside these members for years, and for a long time prior to winning TPS, has joined our Cameroonian members and allies in demanding status and protection. In April, we finally won this fight as the Biden administration took the step of designating Cameroon for TPS, and CASA immediately launched efforts to register hundreds of Cameroonian members for this status so that they could more easily work, live, and support their families here in the U.S. 

Austen, a Cameroonian immigrant and CASA community organizer, said:

“For so long in this country there has been a disparity concerning black immigrants. Many among them were not as lucky as I was in escaping the violence back home. TPS for Cameroon is an opportunity to protect others like me that went through similar or worse situations. We may have won TPS for Cameroon today, but the world needs to remember that our families are still back home. Remember we have Cameroonians and others who were deported into very zones without fair trials in their deportation proceedings. This TPS would have safe lives if it would have been given earlier, though it is better late than never. The fight to protect black immigrants is just beginning.”

TPS is, by definition, temporary, so our fight is not nearly over. But this much-needed victory, in a year of struggle for the immigrant justice movement, provides temporary relief for thousands of people. TPS will provide a platform of stability from which families can move towards economic security and from which we will struggle onward towards more permanent and lasting solutions for immigrant justice.

Police Reform and Justice Victories
The Baltimore Referendum - A victory for police reform and multiracial coalition building
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2022 marked a turning point for the residents of Baltimore: the opportunity to take back control of their local police department. Baltimore City is the only jurisdiction in Maryland that does not directly oversee its police force, a policy stemming from events over 160 years in the past.

The passage of SB 786 during the 2021 session represents the culmination of over 10 years of effort and serves as a measured and comprehensive path forward for local control of the Baltimore Police Department. Transferring control will provide City residents and local elected officials the ability to set policies and provide oversight without having to advocate for reform through state representatives. Put simply, it would put the City in the same posture as comparable jurisdictions in Maryland and throughout the country.

CASA did not win this fight alone! Police reform is just the beginning of a powerful movement for multiracial justice in Baltimore – for all residents regardless of race or nation of origin. For more information on CASA’s growing network of collaborators and allies, check out our feature in the Social Justice Summit’s 2022 Multiracial Coalition Building Panel.

Racial Equity and Inclusion

 

CASA has taken several concrete steps to deepen our commitment to our organizational value of racial justice, equality, and dismantling anti-Blackness. We know that the real work of antiracism begins inside our organization, and so much of this work is internally focused, with a goal of deepening the shared commitment of our staff, boards, and member leadership to an antiracist ideology and principles of racial justice. We also want to ensure that we are being led by diverse members in all of our organizational leadership and have created several structures to facilitate an ongoing feedback and evaluation loop to ensure that we continue to be guided by these important voices in our community.

This year, CASA moved to center diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in all its work and invested significantly in dismantling anti-Blackness, white supremacy, and other forms of prejudice and created a new Chief of Racial Equity and Inclusion position, a first of its kind. United by CASA’s values and our shared desire to dismantle structures within CASA that may perpetuate inequities in our communities. Furthermore, CASA conducted an internal audit of diversity, equity, and inclusion, holding Latino Challenges and White People Confronting Racism Trainings for staff, conducting additional outreach to West African immigrants, expanding services offered in French, hiring an increasing number of Black staff.. We are continuing to work on internal racial equity and inclusion work through a multi-pronged approach, developing CASA’s organizational voice on equity and inclusion, increasing capacity by hiring a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer, adopting gender-inclusive language, and routinely measuring and sharing progress.

This became the year that CASA formalized its commitment to including LGBTQ+ brothers, sisters, and siblings, united in the fight for justice. Our staff-led LGBT+ Advisory Committee creates a welcoming and inclusive organization for our staff and community members by providing support, guidance and creating safe and brave spaces for individuals across the spectrums of gender and sexuality. With their vision for CASA’s community to be one that visibly and actively appreciates and embraces all sexual and gender identities and is equitable, respectful and engaged in queer/trans justice and gender equity issues, committee members led the way this year with educational presentations on the history of PRIDE celebrations and marching in Capital Pride for the first time.

Having played a big part in the development of the original DEI plan at CASA, Black @ CASA’s continues to provide support, guidance, and leadership to the organization(s) in honoring and fiercely executing CASA’s commitment to dismantling anti-Blackness and improving the quality of life for immigrant and working-class Black people. This mission extends to the overall work of our organization(s) with a specific focus on supporting, empowering, and creating safe spaces for Black staff and Black membership – and advancing the consciousness of all staff. This year, the committee led the way in celebrating Juneteenth with a staff-wide presentation on the history of the celebration.

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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CASA continues to dismantle systemic racism through an approach of direct services, education, organizing, and civic engagement to empower communities of color to identify the immediate and systemic barriers and amplify their voices in the fight for racial equity. CASA recognizes that racial inequity is a multidimensional injustice that infracts all basic human rights, such as healthcare, education, and a safe and prosperous living environment.

Honing Our Focus

Health and Housing as a Human Right

In 2022, CASA’s health work only strengthened as we became more adept to responding to the public health concerns in response to the pandemic.  The work went beyond vaccines and testing kits, with CASA and members demanding equitable representation in recovery efforts, working beyond immediate emergency services to build a movement of immigrant power and representation in public health spaces.

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While CASA’s Health and Human Services Department continues to grow through ongoing vaccination clinics and the Multilingual Health Hotline, CASA is determined to help members with the issues they deem most pressing, with housing insecurity noted as a top priority in 2022. This was a year where CASA’s members took a stand against predatory landlords and unsafe housing conditions, with 8 tenant committees building power in Montgomery and Prince George’s County – the two biggest counties in Maryland. From this work, CASA members have emerged as movement leaders and advocates for health and housing justice in their communities – using their voices to demand action and accountability from negligent landlords for poor housing conditions and evictions. This work has received national attention, with coverage in AJ+The Washington PostNPR, and DCist.

Climate Equity

With the end of 2022, CASA finished its fourth year in a row with climate justice as our #2 organizational issue priority. CASA’s members put their hearts into climate organizing and are proud of their achievements!

A new focus on climate justice–from our staff and our members

2022 was the year CASA inaugurated long-time Organizer Gabriela Roque as its first Climate Training Manager, whose role is to supplement our general member organizing from a Climate Justice perspective, providing robust and culturally relevant popular climate justice education for our members.

In her new role, Gabriela also took charge of CASA’s new Climate Fellowship program. At the beginning of the year, CASA selected sixteen Climate Fellowsclimate activists from our membership ready for a leadership role on climate issues. CASA Climate Fellows received leadership and climate justice training, served as spokespeople for their communities on climate justice issues, and produced topical social media content. In addition, CASA expanded climate training and fellowship opportunities to several partner organizations.

State Legislative Climate Wins

CASA members played a critical role in the passage of two major pieces of climate justice legislation passed at the state level this year.

The first major piece of legislation was the Climate Solutions Now Act (CSNA), one of the most progressive climate justice legislation this nation has ever seen, a veritable climate revolution in the state, which sets Maryland’s official climate goal of 40% of current greenhouse gas emissions by 2031 and 0% by 2045–that is, net zero emissions in less than twenty-five years. The bill puts in place an ambitious infrastructure for investing in electrification, green building renovation, and a Green Bank to fund climate justice projects in the state–money that CASA is going to be fighting for on behalf of our communities!

The other significant legislation was Pennsylvania’s Whole Home Repair Act (WHRA), which provides critical investment in weatherization, home repairs and climate resiliency, and workforce development. CASA’s populist, people-powered, community-centered organizing helped push the WHRA over the finish line by carefully balancing the needs of various critical players–including local governments, workforce development providers, and small landlords, in addition to the groundswell of support from working-class tenants and homeowners the legislation received. The final package included over $125 million to provide Pennsylvanians up to $50,000 to repair, weatherize, update, and adapt homes, as well as to fund training programs and stipends for trainees to meet local green workforce demand.

Citizenship for All

As a new administration took office in January of 2021, CASA and our allies agreed: now is the best chance we’ve had in more than two decades to pass comprehensive immigration reform and achieve legal status for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country, and the clock is ticking.

This opportunity did not emerge from nothing. The tireless work of our movement led us to this key moment: a limited window of opportunity for transformative change. Between the naked and high-profile xenophobic brutality of the Trump Administration, the 2020 election throwing the immigrant vote into the center of political discourse, and the outsized role the immigrant community has played as essential and frontline workers in carrying our communities through this pandemic. Although we attained the attention of the nation’s voters and its political elite,  a new political administration took a narrow and tenuous control of the policy-making levers of our federal government. Our CASA family, our members, and our movements, quickly came together to create a plan for seizing victory in this critical moment alongside our allies.

Together, we formed one of the most powerful immigrant rights coalitions in decades – the We Are Home coalition, which raised over $20 million in support of this fight and distributed those funds to partners like CASA to support over a year of constant, full-court-press advocacy, organizing, and strategizing. Our goals were twofold – ensure that citizenship provisions were included in the vaunted public spending bill, Build Back Better, and of course, to fight for the passage of that bill.

Thousands of CASA’s members and allies have added their voices to this fight by bird-dogging Members of Congress on the Hill, gigantic rallies in DC,cities and towns across the country, and a constant churn of advocacy with key congressional and administration officials. This was the central mobilizing force of CASA’s advocacy force in the last year, and it is the commitment of our members and their hard work that drives this powerful and righteous push for justice for all 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country.

Build Back Better didn’t pass. Congressional paralysis, dead-end institutionalism, and, in the end, the need to build more power to accomplish our goals handicapped our efforts. This was a heartbreaking result, but it was not a defeat. CASA is always committed to shifting from moment to movement, and with that lens, we sought to use this campaign – win or lose – as an opportunity to bring more people into our movement, build our movement power by forging tighter and stronger links between CASA and our partners, and showing elected officials that the immigrant justice movement will not be silenced. Not now. Not ever.

Even as our hearts break from temporary setbacks, even as our bodies grow tired from constant marching, and even as our voices grow weak from raising them up every day for more than a year, we are not defeated. Now, we build power toward our coming victory. Together, we cannot be defeated. Onward.

FY22 Financials
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