Storytelling for Advocacy: Trainings To Support Immigrant Justice

EBSC Community members at the Immigrant Day of Action. Photo Credit: East Bay Sanctuary Covenant
In recent months, VOW has continued our work with partner East Bay Sanctuary Covenant (EBSC) and the Amplifying Sanctuary Voices coalition.

In May, we co-facilitated a training session with EBSC community members who were eager to share their personal immigration stories for advocacy initiatives. We supported these individuals in crafting compelling narratives and practicing telling their experiences with confidence.

Several workshop members participated in the Immigrant Day of Action in Sacramento on May 9, 2023, sharing their stories with legislators and staff to advocate for policy changes that would better support immigrant communities.

We conducted another workshop in August to prepare community members to share their stories of immigration at a 40-mile march from San Jose to San Francisco in support of immigration reform. Together, through oral history activities, we helped each person craft a concise message that shared key highlights about how much they have endured being in legal limbo and what having permanent residency would mean to them. Read one story below and find more stories here.

I have lived in the United States for 31 years. I work in special education for the county. The children I work with are very vulnerable and have many needs. I have a lot of experience and training to help care for them so they can access their education. I’m the #1 requested a substitute teacher for special education in the county–but I can’t get a permanent position, because I have Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and not permanent residency. If I received permanent residency, I could have a stable position with full benefits, including a retirement plan and Medicare coverage when I retire. My dream is to one day retire after working so hard for decades.

Recently, we also conducted an introductory storytelling workshop with leaders from EBSC’s Mayan Voices program, an outreach team who provides resources and information to the Mayan Mam-speaking community in the East Bay. Continuing the collaboration, VOW will be moderating a session on storytelling, healing, and narrative change with the Mayan Voices team at the the Bay Area Maya Festival on September 16. Community advocates will share their personal stories and audience members will learn about culturally-rooted storytelling, healing, and narrative change.

We plan to continue deepening our relationship and exploring collaboration possibilities during the next several months.

Learn more about the Amplifying Sanctuary Voices coalition and how to partner with VOW.

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