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.

This #GivingTuesday Help Build the Resistance 

This #GivingTuesday Help Build the Resistance 

2017 has been an unforgettable year, to say the least. Since the presidential election a little over a year ago until now we have seen what can only be described as some of the most racist political attacks against people of color, immigrants, women and LGBTQ folks. What we have learned though in these dark times is that the best defense we have against hate is each other. So while 2017 was difficult for many of us, it also inspired hope in each other and we were witness to some incredible acts of resistance in Philadelphia and beyond.

2017 marked some important resistance milestones for Juntos.

  • On May 1st we organized the largest Philadelphia based pro-immigrant rights rally in recent history for our “Day without Immigrant, Black and Brown Bodies” with over 5,000 people in attendance.
  • On October 11th, after 11 months in sanctuary in Arch Street Methodist Church, we were able to help Javier Flores be free from the fear of deportation and to be with his family after three years of persecution at the hands of ICE.
  • More recently, in November of 2017, we built our first “Community Resistance Zone” a vision established by our community to educate and protect our families from the threat of deportations, raids, criminalization and hate by educating our community and their neighbors to be our best defense in these times. In just two days over 250 volunteers door knocked on over 3,000 doors in South Philadelphia and trained over 1,300 people on their rights to defend themselves and their neighbors in case of a raid and over 500 families signed up to resist hate and racism in our community in a 4 mile radius in South Philly.

We can only hope to build this kind of power, hope and resistance in 2018 but we can’t do it without you. Today on #GivingTuesday we launch our #Juntos15for15 campaign in celebration of 15 years in the movement and for 15+ years more.

Please consider donating at
www.gofundme.com/juntos15for15
to build with us.

  • A $150 donation helps to provide food for our “Know your Rights” or “Community Resistance Zone” trainings and community events.
  • A $1,500 donation will help secure our youth leadership retreat in 2018 for our youth to fight the school-to-prison/deportation pipeline
  •  And even $15 will help us get to our goal.

Please be on the lookout for our official Quinceñera party invite coming soon! You for sure will be invited.

In the Resistance,

Erika Almiron

Executive Director of Juntos

Philly #ResistanceZone Built but More to Come.

Photo by Harvey Finkle

Philly #ResistanceZone Built but More to Come.

Over 200 volunteers descended on Juntos this past weekend to learn their rights, to teach others and to knock on doors and we couldn’t be more grateful. In less than 48 hours we

  • Knocked on over 2,500 doors in South Philly 
  • Trained over 1,300 people on their rights & 
  • Signed up over 500 new resistors

Every participant in our Community Resistance Zone made a personal commitment to stand up and defend their neighbors in South Philly against any and all abuses at the hands of police and/or ICE. They learned their rights. And we built history together by building a network of defenders.

We need each other more than ever now. One year after the presidential elections and we have seen a spike in deportations, police abuse, racial profiling, hate crimes, etc. This is not a coincidence. Our current power structure preaches violence and hate and we must unite to fight back. So thank you. Thank you to every volunteer, every canvasser, every Juntos member, all of you, for helping us build the Resistance.

Special thanks to our friend and amazing artist Erika Guadalupe Núñez for designing our beautiful poster. (For more of her beautiful art make sure to follow her on Instagram)

Also, special thanks to:
Reclaim Philadelphia
ACLU Pennsylvania
Unite Here Local 274

Asian Americans United
Media Mobilizing Project
SEIU 32BJ
VietLead
Students from Swarthmore University, University of Pennsylvania Law School, Drexel University, Cornell University and the Migrant Rights Coalition of Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges.

As we continue to build and strengthen our resistance we must be aware that there are those in power who wish nothing more than to stop us. Please help us continue to build in 2018 by signing up as a Juntos volunteer and/or by donating.

Mil gracias,

Juntos