Greetings and good wishes to you.
Since 2009, I have served as Strategist for Presente.org, an organization I am proud to have (co)founded. I’m writing to let you know that I will no longer be working in that capacity. I have accepted an invitation to be a research fellow and scholar at UC Berkeley’s Center for Latino Policy Research, and will also continue my journalism and other writing projects. Other endeavors are about to come to fruition and will be announced shortly.
Though the immense challenges we designed Presente.org to face are hardly resolved, I leave the organization contented that our community has a longer list accomplishments with which to draw inspiration from as we continue our historic fight. At a time when the enterprise of “hope” and “change” have been twisted and humiliated to serve Power, Presente.org, with the support and solidarity of allies throughout the country, delivered real hope and concrete change, : Lou Dobbs, the single most powerful anti-immigrant person in the United States, and the media company he co-founded,CNN, no longer enjoy millions in daily profits from the hatred of immigrants and Latinos on primetime national television; The Associated Press stylebook-the stylistic bible for journalists and media organizations throughout the world–has tossed the term “illegal immigrants” and its derivatives into the the dustbin of decrepit, discriminatory words; A Latino-led online organization with zero members in 2009 now has close to 350,000 members and Latino and other communities have a model for technological and political behavior; Presente.org, a multi-issue, consciously-left organization made it known that Latinos are concerned about and engaged with issues like criminal justice, LGBTQ rights, police violence, network neutrality, climate change, drug policy, workers rights, women’s rights, and, of course immigration; The Trail of DREAMs, a little-known group of 4 intrepid youth, helped focus attention on the need for President Obama to stop the deportation crisis; Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio was exposed in and forced to change his anti-immigrant positions as Latinos across the United States clamored “No Somos Rubios”; The historic Caravan for Peace established an unprecedented example of a different kind of solidarity that addresses issues on both sides of the border; Since we began in 2009, when most were delirious with the certifiably false promises of “comprehensive immigration reform”and its backers who were covering the Bush-era policies leading to the current immigration crisis, Presente.org joined those leading the immigrant rights movement -NDLON, NIYA and others on the left of the immigrant rights movement- to focus the country’s and the Administration’s attention on the deportation and detention crisis that began and continues the Obama legacy. Before, people ignored deportations and we were attacked and in the minority opinion. We leave Presente.org in the majority of Latino opinion, as an polls and the recent, though stilted, movements of the Democrats and President Obama towards deportation relief indicate.
Most importantly, during my tenure with Presente, we helped create a powerful and independent voice in the Latino community and in the larger community. At its best, Presente.org echoed the dignity and aspirations of millions of Latinos and their allies who resist the corruption, cowardice and mediocrity that made too much of what we call “immigrant rights” and “Latino politics” subservient to corporate, philanthropic, non-profit and party politic agendas. These powerful interests–Republican and Democrat and their allies–may or may not have liked Presente.org, its independence or its imaginative campaigns, but they learned to respect and, sometimes, even fear our honesty and the singular integrity of our pursuit of justice. We need look no further than the immigrant condition–and at the Washington DC politics that define that condition– to see the very urgent need to continue the kind independent, bold and imaginative vision that Presente.org embodied.
It has been my honor to have led the development of Presente.org and its strategies and I am especially grateful to all the compañer@s inside and outside the organization whose unconditional support made possible the many victories we delivered to our community. Much love to you all and I look forward to continuing the work with you.
Un fuerte abrazo de tu amigo y compañero,