Marisa Franco, director and co-founder, Mijente.
Mijente, a grass-roots organization that mobilizes Latinx and Chicanx voters, decided to make its first-ever presidential endorsement in response to President Donald Trump’s rhetoric and policies targeting Latinos. The endorsement adds to the growing collection of progressive groups coalescing around the Vermont senator, after earlier expectations they would be divided between him and Elizabeth Warren.
The organization will use its reach on social media, its roughly 1,000 dues-paying members and more than 300,000-person email list to mobilize Latinos to vote and hit the pavement for Sanders in Nevada and other states.
Marisa Franco, director and cofounder of Mijente, said the group’s members picked Sanders after a lengthy process that included sit-downs with multiple candidates. In January, its members voted on four options: endorsing Sanders, Warren, both of them, or no endorsement at all. In the end, 70 percent of its members voted to endorse Sanders.
Sanders’ economic justice platform and moratorium on deportations were key to Mijente’s members in addition to Sanders' exhaustive outreach to Latinos this cycle.
“Something that's very appealing to people is his consistency and the concept of palabra,” said Franco, “And what that means in our community is giving people your ‘word.’”
Mijente held public talks, called “El Chisme 2020,” which means the gossip, with Sanders, Warren and Julian Castro last year. The decision to back Sanders isn’t meant as a negative commentary on Warren, Franco said, but rather as a way to maximize the group's sway in the primary.
Sanders’ name recognition and ability to build off of his 2016 infrastructure and liberal base also factored into Mijente’s endorsement as the primary heads into more diverse states.
“We're not picking a savior, we're picking our target,” Franco said, noting that the group’s membership intends to hold Sanders accountable. “We didn’t pick him to be the fixer of all things.”
Part of Mijente’s influence among Latinos includes its use of art, culture and digital media to reach Latinos politically.
Tomas Garduno, national field director for Mijente, said the group intends to knock on doors and phone bank for Sanders in the final days before the Saturday caucus in Nevada, which will be Sanders' first real test with Latino voters.
In the key Super Tuesday states of North Carolina, California, and Texas, the group will run a volunteer effort aiming to activate more than 500 people to commit to phone banks and door knocking for Sanders.
Mijente will also focus heavily on the Arizona and Georgia primaries. In 2016, the Latinx group played a role in mobilizing Latinos to oust former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who illegally detained Latinos. In 2018, Mijente contributed to driving Latino turnout in the Georgia governor's race, which more than doubled compared to 2014.
Ejeris Dixon November 1 2019,
Hi all. So excited that Beyond Survival: Strategies and Stories from the Transformative Justice Movement is now available on pre-order through AK Press starting today. With contributions from Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Janae E. Bonsu, Adrienne Maree Brown, Amanda Aguilar Shank, Generation Five, Mia Mingus and the Bay Area Transformative Justice Collective, Amita Swadhin, Kai Cheng Thom, Philly Stands Up, Mariame Kaba, Shira Hassan, Mimi Kim, Creative Interventions, Mijente, Oakland Power Projects, the Audre Lorde Project, Chanelle Gallant, Trans Lifeline, Audrey Huntley, and sooo many more... It was an incredible experience to co-edit this book with Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha.
Alejandra Pablos case
On March 7, 2018 immigration right activist Alejandra Pablos was illegally detained at the Eloy Detention Center in southern Arizona. This Thursday, April 19, Ale has a chance to be released from Immigration Customs Enforcement’s custody at her bond hearing—but only if the people help.
How did this happen?
Alejandra Pablos was a legal permanent resident who was placed in deportation proceedings stemming from a drug-related arrest in her youth. She spent 2011-13 detained at the Eloy Detention Center, in compliance with court orders. She is presently requesting political asylum based on the dangers she would face as a political organizer in Mexico, should she be deported.
Since her release in 2013 she has dedicated her time and efforts to organizing for immigrant rights as well as for reproductive health rights. She has become known nationally for her activism. She is a member of Mijente, a national Latinx organization, and is a field coordinator for the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.
In early January, she was leading chants at a demonstration outside of the Department of Homeland Security. She was singled out and detained by DHS agents. Although she was released thereafter, her case was flagged. On March 7, when Pablos showed up to for a routine check-in with ICE, was taken into custody and not allowed to pay a bond. She was “silently detained.” Several high-profile immigrant rights activists have been “silently detained” in the past year and a half to stop their activism.
In an interview for AZCentral, Jacinta Gonzalez, a field director for Mijente explained:
“Alejandra is a very well-known activist with deep ties to her community and is not a flight risk. The fact is that their only reason to re-detain her is for an arrest that came out of a protest really shows that people are targeted for these arrests.”