Juntos Community Leader Speaks at the 2018 Women’s March in Philadelphia

Juntos Community Leader Speaks at the 2018 Women’s March in Philadelphia

One year after Trump’s inauguration, hundreds of women and allies packed the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia for the 2nd annual Women’s March. Among them was our own community leader, Olivia Ponce, who addressed the crowd and urged us to remember the warriors we are descendants from and to embrace the “chingona” that resides within us as we fight back against sexism, xenophobia, and racism. You can read her moving speech in full below.

“Good afternoon everyone, my name is Olivia Ponce.

Several years ago I joined a local community organization by the name of Juntos, which exists to build the leadership of Latino immigrants in Philadelphia and to fight for our rights. I am proud of being a leader in my community in Juntos, and I am proud to be standing here today, with you, even though I know my existence is everything Trump and the rest of his sexist and racist administration hates. I am a person of color. I am an immigrant and I am a woman.

I was a 25-year-old mother when I made the difficult decision to leave Mexico and come to the U.S. Yes, it was difficult. It was difficult to leave everyone that I knew and loved, including my daughter and my parents who were getting older, not knowing when I would ever see her or them again.

Many immigrant stories are the same as mine; we leave the place and people we love because U.S. interventions and U.S.-led wars make it impossible for many of us to survive back home. Borders do not exist when you are thinking about the future of your child.  And I need everyone here to know: it takes immense courage to make that journey, especially as women. Many women who cross are vulnerable to assaults, to rape and even to death. But courage, strength, and determination are the basic ingredients that make up every woman here. Yes, we all have to deal with sexism. Yet, women of color, Black and Latina women in particular, have to deal with racism too and as immigrant women, our mere existence is criminalized every day in this country.  But, we are not victims! We are the descendants of grand warriors and their blood runs through our veins and it is that history that makes us strong.

I am blessed to say that my daughter is with me now in the U.S. She joined me several years after I came and she is such a source of inspiration for me. It is from her fearlessness in fighting for our community that I learned to not be afraid, to speak up and to raise my voice.

So, to all the beautiful women out here today, I want you to know that when I fight, I fight for ALL OF YOU! That is why I ask that when you fight, you be sure that you fight for all of us too. Find your inner warrior, cross your own borders and let’s fight together because the only way we will win is if we work together.

Thank you”

Join Juntos on MLK Day & the Women’s March This Month

 

Join Juntos on MLK Day & the Women’s March This Month

 

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” The late Martin Luther King Jr. wrote these words in his letter from a Birmingham jail back in 1963. Now in 2018, these words have never rang truer.

Within the first week of the new year, we have seen that the Trump administration is wasting no time in continuing their onslaught of hate. This means that we must not waste any time in fighting back against any injustice coming from them. Please join us at two important upcoming events this month us as we, along with many other communities in our city, resist against hate.

  • On Monday, January 15th our Executive Director, Erika Almiron, will be one of the speakers during “A People’s Call to Action Rally and Teach-Ins organized by our friends at POWER.
    The event will take place at Dobbins Technical High School at 2150 W Lehigh Ave at 1:00 pm.
  • On Saturday, January 20th Juntos Community Leader Olivia Ponce, will be speaking during the “2018 Women’s March On Philadelphia.” The march will take place at the Benjamin Franklin Parkway here in Philadelphia starting at 10:30 am.

We hope you are able to join us during these two incredible events as we remember and honor the legacy of those who have come before us and march towards a brighter future together.

May 1st: Statement of Resistance!

This May 1, 2017 the city of Philadelphia and hundreds of cities across the country will be participating in a national day of action. Locally, in Philadelphia, Juntos and Black & Brown Workers Collective along with our allies will stand together in the name of resistance for a day without immigrant, Black & Brown bodies. This is in effort to highlight the unilateral attacks that the administration has committed against not just immigrant communities, but Black & Brown communities, our LGBTQ family, HIV positive people, Muslims, women, young people, workers and many more. Together we make up over 75% of our city’s population.  We are the majority.

We are standing in collective power against the terrorist deportation machine that has been passed down through different administrations, anti-black policies/practices, and the genocidal and colonialist foundation of this country, which continues to inform those in power.  We stand together to show that we as a people are worth more than our labor that our value comes from being human beings. We will not allow any one of our community members to be scapegoated and targeted because the liberation of our people is tied together and if one of us is targeted, none of us are safe.

On May 1st we will use our collective economic power to shake this nation to its core but there are many ways you can be a part of this resistance movement. Funnel your energy into actions like walkouts, boycotts, strikes, marches, town halls, etc. and point them all towards building coalitions focused on dismantling all the mechanisms in place that serve only to criminalize us, incarcerate us or deport us.

It is important to note the complex and complicated histories of Black people and African Americans in the U.S. Black bodies whose blood lines have been displaced through slavery and through forced economic violence must be honored in this struggle, must be lifted up in this struggle and in the broader sanctuary movement and while our individual struggles play out differently in the types of violence suffered by our people, collectively we ALL have a stake in the broader struggle for freedom.  America was never great. It was founded and built on the genocide of our indigenous peoples, on slavery and the forced migration of people caused by the U.S.’s socio-economic policies that have decimated the global south.

But collectively we can demand that it bends to the will of the people. Black and Brown communities have for far too long been pitted against each other in an effort to to keep us all oppressed. We will not be silenced. We will not be scared into compliance.  We WILL NOT let history repeat itself. All Power to the People!

Yours in the Struggle for Liberation,

Black and Brown Workers Collective and Juntos

Mayor Nutter Prioritizes Politics Over Immigrant Communities

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Mayor Nutter with Juntos member Maria Elena Cardenas in City Hall, a mother of two who had just lost her husband Pablo to a deportation just days before.

Mayor Nutter Prioritizes Politics Over Immigrant Communities

November 20th, 2015 will mark the one year anniversary of Obama’s announcement on immigration in which he created Deferred Action for Parents of American Citizens (DAPA). Despite the promise of relief from deportations for millions of families, the attack on immigrants continues. This last year has brought not only disappointment and continued deportations, but hate mongering from Presidential hopefuls that inspired anti-immigrant bills in Congress and in Harrisburg. In Pennsylvania, we have also seen the prolonged, unjust and inhumane detention of families in the Berks Family Detention Center where infants have been detained as young as 11 days old with an unlawful license and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) continues to terrorize our communities in Philadelphia and across the state.

On Thursday, November 12th, the Nutter Administration held a closed door meeting with Philadelphia immigrant rights organizations, including the Philadelphia Family Unity Network, in regards to the City’s collaboration with ICE. The Administration announced that it intends to roll back the historic Executive Order limiting City interactions with ICE, passed on April 2014, by introducing provisions that re-establish these communications.

Members of the immigrant community, the Philadelphia Family Unity Network, the Shut Down Berks Coalition and allies will be holding a press conference Monday, November 16th at 11am at City Hall to address this latest development as well as the state and national anti-immigrant attacks.

We are heartbroken that the Nutter Administration wants to reverse this groundbreaking policy and once again use local law enforcement as an arm of the federal deportation system. The proposed changes will increase the number of deportations of Philadelphia residents and will erode the trust building begun between immigrant communities and local law enforcement since the Executive Order was signed and implemented. What community members will hear is that the administration has gone back on their word and that local law enforcement will once again serve as immigration agents. These proposed provisions also contradict our City’s values of honoring the dignity of each individual, redemption, second chances, and the ability of human beings to change, by subjecting Philadelphia residents to double punishment by deporting them after they have served their time. Mayor Nutter must listen to immigrant communities, advocates, and allies, and stand strong in his support for a policy that has made our communities safer.

Only seven months ago, Nutter stood with community in City Hall, and after listening to the story of Maria Elena Cardenas, a mother of two who had just lost her husband Pablo to a deportation just days before, said, “I can’t imagine that a real elected official, someone who really believes in public service, would think that it was good policy to rip a family apart. Somehow, some way, at least to me, that appears to be completely in contradiction to this great country that we all love called the United States of America. We still have work to do.”

A month later the city made it clear it had no intention of resuming cooperation with ICE requests. In an interview with the LA Times, City Managing Director Richard Negrin said, “The broader Latino community loses confidence when they see us treating new Philadelphians that way, I think it makes us less safe (to cooperate with ICE), to be honest.”

We need public officials at the local, state and national level that will take a stand against hate toward immigrants and towards people of color. We must stand together to stop the criminalization, detention and deportation of our communities.

The Philadelphia Family United Network members include 1Love Movement, Juntos, New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition and Victim/Witness Services of South Philadelphia.
The Shut Down Berks Campaign is a grassroots coalition fighting to shut down the Berks County Detention Center immediately and end family detention. Members include Detention Watch Network, GALAEI, Juntos, #Not1More, Migrant Power Movement, PICC, UUPlan and We Belong Together.