CISPES Chapter Update: Seattle
You may not be able to see through the clouds just yet, but exciting things are happening on the ground in Seattle. At the end of March we hosted a report back and fundraiser where we heard excellent analysis and inspiring stories from our own Janae Choquette, Western States Development Coordinator who went on the Defend the Vote 2012 Elections Observation Delegation. After helping out with the planning and organization of the 12th annual May 1st march and rally, Seattle CISPES is now gearing up for its annual Solidarity Cycle! The theme of the 2012 Solidarity Cycle is “Putting the Brakes on Deportations,” and we are specifically seeking to reach out to Seattle’s immigrant community, which has recently come under attack with the statewide implementation of the Department of Homeland Security’s immigrant tracking system, also known as Secure Communities. Funds from the Solidarity Cycle will help the committee to continue educating the public about issues that affect immigrants in the United States and in particular issues of importance to the Salvadoran community both here and abroad. We will be riding out from Seattle on June 16, and heading to Bainbridge Island and the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, where we will spend the night before returning the morning of June 17. To participate contact Chaim at 206-325-5494. Seattle CISPES is reaching out to local medical schools, such as the University of Washington School of Medicine and Bastyr University, to recruit medical professionals to El Salvador to take part in the positive changes implemented by the FMLN government and learn about a range of social issues, from immigration to health care to the war on drugs, and how they are interconnected. At our six month planning meeting on we had the opportunity to engage in robust discussions about the direction of our committee, as well as who may be being included in or excluded from our work. We have decided to ramp up our outreach to organizations oriented toward immigration issues in Seattle, such as the Salvadoran Committee and OneAmerica. We are also planning to take advantage of the proximity of the Salvadoran Consulate so that we can bolster our outreach to the Salvadoran community here. In addition, we are planning a couple of political discussion nights for the spring and summer. Also, because developing local political consciousness is so important to the movement as a whole, we have also extended our political discussions to regularly-held Spanish practice groups at the University of Washington campus. We are also planning presentations at other local colleges and high schools, such as The Northwest School to share the exciting news about El Salvador’s transformation in progress and build the movement to defend it.