HRC Blog

HRC Continues Work with “Ya Es Hora” in April

The following post comes from HRC Diversity Program Associate Hyacinth Alvaran.

Under the leadership of our steering committees and in coalition with local and national organizations, HRC lead volunteers for ya es hora citizenship workshops in six cities throughout April. These cities were Phoenix, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Boston, Denver, and Arlington, VA. (HRC was also one of the lead organizers in Las Vegas, working in coalition with 16 other organizations to host an extremely successful workshop.)

HRC also participates in ya es hora citizenship workshops throughout the months of July and September (and much more often in some cities). By doing so, HRC provides critical services to immigrants applying for citizenship; creates opportunities for members of the LGBT community to have a stronger presence in the Latino/a community; and forms stronger relationships with faith, labor, media, and community-based organizations who work in coalition to organize these workshops.

After the jump are remarks from some of our volunteers and pictures from some the workshops:

From Vanessa Watson, HRC diversity co-chair who lead our participation in Arlington, VA:

“ya es hora was FANTASTIC!!  We were almost all of the non-lawyer volunteers.  Twenty-seven people showed up to volunteer, and they helped complete citizenship applications for 66 applicants.  This happened to be the most applications to date this year!  I was most moved by a volunteer named Kris.  She and I spoke at length about how she hoped to join the Peace Corps, and that volunteer opportunities such as this one truly helped to solidify her position in the world and reminded her to be grateful for the good fortune in her life.  I always feel this way when doing ya es hora.  There is a strong sense of pride and compassion evoked when you recognize that there are people in this country who live, work, & contribute to our well-being, all the while never partaking in the services afforded to the citizens of this country; and yet they still strive to become Americans.”

From Mario Rodas, HRC diversity co-chair who lead our participation in Boston, MA:

“We always walk away very satisfied with more knowledge about the process of becoming a citizen, and knowing that we’ve helped permanent residents become US citizens to engage them in political participation and access to the electoral process. In addition, our partnership with AILA (American Immigration Lawyers Association) and MIRA (Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition) has gotten stronger. During the workshop, my co-chair Tom recruited two potential additions to our Diversity sub-committee in Boston.”

From Carmen Salgado, HRC diversity co-chair who lead our participation in Los Angeles, CA:

“I have to say that even though it was a long and exhausting day, it was the most satisfying to know that I am helping someone's dream of citizenship come true.  It makes me step back and realize that we should never take anything for granted in this world.  The people are so grateful and thankful.  They shake your hand and sometimes don't let you go, saying ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you. I so appreciate your help.’ ”

ya es hora is led by four national organizations and a media partner – National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, Mi Familia Vota Education Fund, Service Employees International Union, National Council of La Raza, and Univision – along with hundreds of regional and local organizations across the country. For more information about ya es hora, please visit www.yaeshora.info. For more information about HRC’s participation in ya es hora, please click here.

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