The story of 2018? Immigrants and refugees organize to defend our families and advance democracy at the ballot box

Eric Shew Uncategorized

Relentless attacks on immigrant and refugee communities under the Trump Administration are energizing a movement to create change at the ballot box in Washington State.  Immigrants, refugees, and people of color are stepping up to run for office at record levels, and in communities across Washington State, grassroots community members are looking ahead to this fall’s elections.

At stake are congressional races that will determine whether Congress can block the Trump anti-immigrant agenda.  At the State level, last year State Senator Manka Dhingra’s victory (LD45) in a special election shifted control of the Senate to a pro-immigrant majority that took action to finally pass the Washington Voting Rights Act and to fund a new legal defense fund to ensure access to legal counsel for immigrants at risk of deportation.  Emboldened by this renewed momentum, immigrant and refugee communities are ready to work with candidates committed to working with them and advocating on their behalf.

This spring, panels of community members from immigrant and refugee communities across Washington State interviewed dozens of candidates seeking office, evaluated their responses and voted their preferences.

“Often community members don’t get this opportunity where everything was intentional. I really appreciate that we were able to put candidates under pressure and ask them questions we deserve answers to,” said youth leader Salma Silva-Licon. “I like and appreciate the [endorsement] process to feel and appreciate our voice. We are large and represent many people that aren’t here with us. I like that I am here to represent them and how our voices and thoughts were centered.”

Their recommendations were reviewed and affirmed by the OAV Board of Directors.

“We only need to look at the 2016 presidential election and the 2017 special election in Washington State to understand that elections matter,” said Rich Stolz, Chief Executive Office of OneAmerica Votes. “Our communities and those who care about our nation’s commitment to being a just and welcoming society cannot afford to stand idly by and allow others to determine the fate of our families and communities at the ballot box.  Our path is to build the political power of immigrant and refugee communities to defend our children and families and to fight for a society where we all belong.  There is no better response to the outrages of the Trump Administration than voting and holding our elected officials accountable.  OneAmerica Votes proudly announces our 2018 primary candidate endorsements.”

You can see the full list of endorsements below:

Election Candidate
CD 1, US Representative Suzan DelBene
CD 3, US Representative Carolyn Long
CD 7, US Representative Pramila Jayapal
CD 8, US Representative Shannon Hader
CD 9, US Representative Adam Smith
LD 5, Representative, Position 1 Bill Ramos
LD 5, Representative, Position 2 Lisa Callan
LD 17, Representative, Position 1 Tanisha Harris
LD 26, Senator Emily Randall
LD 30, Senator Claire Wilson AND Tirzah Idahosa
LD 30, Representative, Position 2 Kristine Reeves
LD 30, Representative, Position 1 Mike Pellicciotti
LD 31, Representative, Position 1 Victoria Mena
LD 33, Representative, Position 2 Mia Gregerson
LD 37, Senator Rebecca Saldana
LD 40, Representative, Position 1 Debra Lekanoff
LD 45, Senator Manka Dhingra
LD 47, Representative, Position 1 Debra Entenman
State Supreme Court, Position 8 Steve Gonzalez
State Supreme Court, Position 9 Sheryl McCloud
LD21, Representative, Position 2 Lilian Ortiz-Self
LD32, Representative, Position 1 Cindy Ryu
LD49, Representative, Position 2 Monica Stonier

Women of Color & Allies for Women of Color Candidates

Eric Shew Uncategorized

In just a few weeks, we’re hosting a Women of Color and Allies of Women of Color fundraiser headlined by OneAmerica’s founder Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal.
  • What: Women of Color and Allies for Women of Color candidates fundraiser
  • Where: The Riveter, 1517 12t Ave, Suite 100, Seattle, WA 98122
  • When: Saturday, June 23, 7pm
  • Who: You!

RSVP by ordering your tickets, or make a contribution in lieu of attending. Our goal is to raise $6,000 and your early support means a lot to our candidates.

Join the OneAmerica family at an event hosted by our sister organization, the OneAmerica Votes Justice Fund. This is an event for women of color and their allies to support women of color’s political leadership and their runs for elected office (WOC4WOC). We will be joined by OneAmerica’s founder and resistance leader U.S. Congressional Representative Pramila Jayapal and her campaign. This event supports women of color running for office, a key part of OneAmerica Votes’ Summer of Unity.

Our Summer of Unity is about leveraging our movement to build immigrant and refugee power. Just like a summer BBQ, it’s better with friends! This is the Summer of Unity where we do the work to fill the halls of our city councils, Olympia and Washington DC with legislators who come from our communities and share our values.

Summertime at OneAmerica means gearing up to hit the doors and hit the streets, keeping our issues at the forefront of the conversation. With your help supporting our Summer of Unity and our sister organizations OneAmerica Votes and the OneAmerica Votes Justice Fund, we can elect a Congress and State Legislature that believes everyone has value in America, no matter where they came from, their gender, the language they speak, or what their status is. A government that truly believes in family, and an immigration system that fights to keep families safe and together. With your help, we will look back on this as the Summer of Unity that changed everything, setting us on a new course.

OneAmerica Votes endorses Hira Singh Bhullar for Kent City Council

Eric Shew Uncategorized

The City of Kent is one of the largest in Washington State, and the city is growing increasingly diverse.  OneAmerica Votes believes it’s vital for the Kent City Council to be representative of the immigrant and refugee communities and communities of color that call Kent home.  That’s just one reason why we’ve endorsed Hira Singh Bhullar to fill the open seat on the City Council following the resignation of Tina Budell.

Of the 36 individuals who applied for the open Council position, eight moved on to the next phase of the selection process and will be interviewed by current members of the Kent City Council.  Hira Singh Bhullar is one of the eight.

Hira ran a strong campaign for Kent City Council in 2015, when he first earned OAV’s endorsement.  He entered the race late in the process after being recruited to run by community leaders from immigrant and refugee communities in Kent.  And though he lost, his candidacy helped to inspire other immigrant and refugee community members to run for office, including Kent City Council Member Satwinder Kaur who won her election campaign in 2017.

Since then Hira has emerged as an active community leader aligned with important causes important to communities across Kent, including immigrants and refugees, lending his voice to numerous causes supported by OAV ranging from public transportation to affordable housing and immigration reform.  He has actively participated in efforts to bridge communities, break down stereotypes, and lift up the voices of marginalized and otherized communities in Kent and across Washington State.  His voice has been an important one in efforts to combat hate crimes and harassment based on race and religion.

Statement from Rich Stolz, OneAmerica Votes:

“OneAmerica Votes is proud to endorse Hira Singh Bhullar for appointment to the open seat on the Kent City Council.  Kent is a vibrant and growing community, and it is growing more diverse.  Hira will bring an important perspective to City Council, as a business leader, as a community leader, and as a leader in one of Kent’s largest and growing immigrant and refugee communities.  We’re confident that Hira will be an important bridge-builder on the City Council, highlighting Kent’s growing reputation as a welcoming community.  And we know from experience from his upstart campaign in 2015 that he’s willing to work hard for Kent, and for all of its residents.”

Washington Voting Rights Act a New Dawn for Democracy

Eric Shew Uncategorized

With the recent signing of the Washington Voting Rights Act, Democracy in Washington is about to get a lot more vibrant! This month, Governor Inslee signed the Washington Voting Rights Act into law, ushering in a new era for democracy in Washington State!

For years, communities across Washington have had to live under unfair voting systems that leave many voices out. Currently, many of Washington’s communities use at-large voting in general elections. So, the same majority of voters can decide the result for every council or school board seat in a town, city, or county.  As a result, some communities do not have a fair chance to elect candidates of their choice – candidates who will advocate for their needs in local government.  In many local jurisdictions, this dynamic has disproportionately impacted lower income communities and communities of color.

The problem has led to successful lawsuits under the federal Voting Rights Act that have changed the election systems in Yakima and Pasco. But such federal litigation is very time-consuming and costly – both for communities seeking fair representation in government and for the jurisdictions that are sued.

OneAmerica Votes community leaders saw this problem and sprang into action more than six years ago when the bill was first introduced in the Washington State Legislature.

Momentum shifted significantly for the WVRA’s enactment following the special election in the 45th legislative district in 2017, when OneAmerica Votes Justice Fund leaders and volunteers helped elect Manka Dhingra to the Washington State Senate, shifting control of the Senate to a           new Democratic majority.  As the 2018 legislative session began, Representative Mia Gregerson and Senator Rebecca Saldana led the charge for the WVRA.  Both Gregerson and Saldana were initially appointed to their seats by the King County Council at the behest of OAV and our allies.  In both cases, the local Democratic Party prioritized a difference candidate, and in both cases community members demanded that these qualified women of color be appointed to the legislature over objections from local Party leaders.

The potential impact of the WVRA cannot be overstated.

“The Washington Voting Rights Act will solve real problems that our communities face in Wenatchee,” said Liliana Fausto, a college student from Wenatchee who traveled to Olympia in January to speak to her legislators about the Washington Voting Rights Act. “Right now, in Wenatchee, community funds are not being equitably distributed. On the south side of town, we see broken roads that go unplowed when it snows, and poorly maintained parks and sidewalks. But in Wenatchee’s upper-end, the streets are plowed immediately and the roads are well-maintained.”

“This is due to a lack of representation on Wenatchee’s city council, where a majority of council members live in Wenatchee’s upper-end. This inequity is why I went to Olympia to fight for the Washington Voting Rights Act. With the WVRA, our communities will have the tools we need to fix our unfair voting systems and ensure that all communities in Wenatchee have a voice.”

Just as grassroots communities led the years-long effort to pass the Washington Voting Rights Act, local leaders will be at the center of the Act’s implementation. We look forward to working with local communities to ensure that election systems are fair and take all voices into account.

This victory, six years in the making, was the result of tireless activism from communities who have a passion for democracy. It just goes to show that when we organize, we win!

2017 Election Endorsements

Eric Shew Uncategorized

Ballots will be arriving soon in mailboxes across Washington, and we have a fantastic opportunity this year to lift up voices from communities that are under attack from the Trump Administration. Though this year got off to a rough start, Washington communities banded together like never before – and now form the backbone of the resistance to Donald Trump’s harmful, anti-immigrant policies. At the airports, in the streets and at the ballot box, communities have firmly rejected a divisive agenda that seeks to tear communities apart. This November, vote for these champions of the resistance!

Vote Rebecca Saldaña for Washington State Senate, 37th Legislative District. Since her appointment to the Senate in December, Senator Saldana has put her skills as a community organizer and strategic coalition-builder to work passing important legislation to protect victims of human trafficking, fighting for immigrant and refugee communities, and proposing important proposals to counteract the impact of regressive taxes and fees on low-income residents. She has also fought for the residents of the 37th District in Olympia on issues ranging from transportation to housing, voting rights to paid family leave. As a long-time community leader and woman of color, Saldana’s leadership is an inspiration to young people, in her district and across Washington State. There’s no better choice to represent Washington’s most diverse legislative district

Vote Manka Dhingra for Washington State Senate, 45th Legislative District. Manka is a respected prosecuting attorney, an award-winning parent leader, and powerful advocate for women and immigrant communities.  As a member of the Sikh community in Washington State, Manka’s election would also significantly improve the religious, gender and racial diversity of Washington’s legislature, which will be critical to ensuring that all of our communities are represented in Olympia.  On issues ranging from inclusion to the environment, Manka brings a creative, collaborative mind and a genuine grounding in the needs of the families and communities of east King County.

Vote Lorena González for Seattle City Council, Position 9. Lorena González has long fought for the rights of immigrants and refugees in Seattle and Washington State. As a Councilmember, Lorena spearheaded a $1 million legal defense fund for immigrants. This invaluable support will provide a lifeline hundreds of community members who find themselves under attack from the current administration.

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Immigrant Candidates Shine in the August Primary Elections

Eric Shew Uncategorized

The current national political environment is… ugly.  But because of all that’s happened at the national level, a new generation of leaders is emerging in immigrant and refugee communities and running for office.  The August 1st Primary Elections in Washington State point to a better future, one where candidates who represent long-marginalized communities are ready to fight for a more inclusive and equitable community.  OneAmerica Votes is proud to be at the forefront of the resistance, and we’ve thrown our support behind strong candidates of color in communities across our state.

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OneAmerica Votes Endorses Teresa Mosqueda for Seattle City Council, Position 8

Eric Shew Uncategorized

OneAmerica Votes stands with Teresa Mosqueda for Seattle City Council Position 8, because throughout her career Mosqueda has been a fighter for immigrants, refugees, workers and people of color.  A skilled advocate and coalition-builder, Teresa has been at the forefront of important victories for working families, including the statewide ballot measure passed last year that raised the minimum wage and established a paid safe and sick leave program.  Teresa is grounded in the day-to-day experience of working families and understands how to get things done.  When elected, Teresa is ready to lead on affordable housing and renter rights, public health, supporting small businesses including immigrant and refugee owned businesses, and an economy that works for everyone.  Join us in electing Teresa to Seattle City Council, and help us to build our movement for equity in Seattle and across Washington State.

OneAmerica Votes Endorses Satwinder Kaur for Kent City Council, Position 2

Eric Shew Uncategorized

OneAmerica Votes strongly endorses Satwinder Kaur for Kent City Council Position 2.  A powerful and tireless advocate, Kaur has demonstrated her commitment to the diverse residents and neighborhoods of Kent while remaining grounded in a Sikh faith tradition that values service, equity and resilience.  Kaur brings a strong working knowledge of Kent’s government and a deep personal understanding of the challenges facing Kent’s residents.  Her commitment to transparency, inclusiveness and to working across differences to find real solutions will make Kent a more equitable and vibrant community.

OneAmerica Votes Endorses Lorena Gonzáles for Seattle City Council, Position 9

Eric Shew Uncategorized

OneAmerica Votes proudly endorses Seattle City Council Member Lorena González. She has emerged as an effective legislator drafting and shepherding police accountability and paid family leave legislation through City Council. With her leadership, the Seattle City Council has passed bold initiatives establishing Seattle as the center of the resistance against the anti-immigrant, anti-worker policies of the Trump Administration. 

Recently, González successfully guided the City to enact a $1 million immigrant legal defense fund to ensure that low-income immigrants will have access to legal counsel when dealing with federal immigration authorities.  Grounded in her own experience and upbringing in a family of migrant workers in eastern Washington, González is a powerful advocate and inspiration to a generation of young emerging leaders, here in Seattle and across Washington State.

González’s leadership is a testament to the importance of electing our own movement leaders to office, as OAV works to build the power of immigrant, refugee and communities of color to shape the policies, practices and institutions that impact our opportunities, our families and our lives.

OneAmerica Votes Endorses Zak Idan for Tukwila Council, Position 5

Eric Shew Uncategorized

One America Votes is proud to endorse Zak Idan  for Tukwila City Council, Position 5.  Zak’s story is the American Dream: arriving as a refugee from Somalia as a young child.  His family stressed the importance of education and hard work. Through sheer determination, Zak earned his Bachelor of Science in Construction Engineering from the University of Washington, and immediately went to work for King County as a Project Control Engineer. He’s active in the community and volunteers as a youth soccer coach and serves on several boards and commissions. He’s lived in Tukwila for many years and wants to give back by making sure everyone is represented. His slogan “Tukwila For All” promises to create an atmosphere that brings people of all backgrounds together, and encourages everyone to get involved in the issues that impact their lives. His energy, his knowledge of government, and his vision for a Tukwila that embraces all of its residents sets him apart. Vote for Zak Idan for Tukwila City Council.