PRESS RELEASEFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 10, 2019Contact: Hamp Price | firstname.lastname@example.org | 256-749-6420
Immigrant Voting Power Rising:Nearly 700+ Gather to Hear How Mayoral, At-Large Candidates Would Protect, Invest in Nashville’s Growing Immigrant Communities
NASHVILLE — The growing electoral power of Nashville’s immigrant community reached new heights Monday as candidates for mayor and council at-large endorsed pro-immigrant policies.
Candidates, speaking to the Immigrant and Refugee Forum’s nearly 700-person audience at Plaza Mariachi, echoed support for various initiatives included in the recently released policy platform, Beyond Welcoming.
The Beyond Welcoming platform, crafted by the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) and dozens of organizational partners, provides comprehensive recommendations for pro-immigrant policies across nine issue areas, including housing, criminal justice and access to services.
“At a time when national politicians are dividing immigrant communities, tonight was a victory for the growing number of immigrant and refugee families who call Nashville home and want a fair shot at thriving in our city,” said Stephanie Teatro, co-executive director of TIRRC. “Nashville’s immigrant voters have high expectations in this election, are ready to go to the polls, and hold these candidates accountable to the community’s priorities.”
The forum, which was hosted by a coalition of immigrant and refugee organizations, questioned candidates on a variety of immigration issues from combating wage theft to protecting residents from deportation. Mayoral candidates Mayor David Briley, Julia Clark-Johnson, state Rep. John Ray Clemmons and Council Member John Cooper and six at-large candidates, Burkley Allen, Fabian Bedne, Gicola Lane, Bob Mendes, Gary Moore, and Zulfat Suara, all participated in the program.
The Immigrant and Refugee Forum was streamed live online and can be found here.
As the percentage of foriegn-born Nashville residents pushes closer to 13 percent of Nashville’s population, elected officials are taking a closer look at the policies affecting local immigrants. Recently, TIRRC completed a series of trainings for 42 municipal candidates who were interested in learning more about the Beyond Welcoming platform and how local government actions can make a difference.
The Immigrant and Refugee Forum was hosted by:
Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition
American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee
American Muslim Advisory Council
Casa de la Cultura Latino Americana de Nashville
Equal Chance for Education
Ethiopian Community Association of Nashville
Hispanic Family Foundation
International Union of Painters & Allied Trades - DC91 Local 456
Islamic Center Of Nashville
Midnimo Community Center
Nashville Jewish Social Justice Roundtable
Nashville International Center for Empowerment
National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum - Nashville Chapter
Oromo Youth of Nashville
Salahadeen Center of Nashville
Somali Community of Middle Tennessee
Sticky Rice Collective
Tennessee Justice For Our Neighbors
Tennessee Kurdish Community Council
Vietnamese Community of Middle Tennessee
YMCA Latino Achievers
Zomi Community of Tennessee
TIRRC is a statewide, immigrant and refugee-led collaboration whose mission is to empower immigrants and refugees throughout Tennessee to develop a unified voice, defend their rights, and create an atmosphere in which they are recognized as positive contributors to the state. Since its founding in 2001, TIRRC has worked to develop immigrant leadership, build the capacity of its immigrant-led member organizations, help immigrant community members understand and engage in the civic process, and educate the public about policies that would better promote integration of new immigrants and facilitate their full participation in US society. In just a few years TIRRC has grown from a grassroots network of community leaders into one of the most diverse and effective coalitions of its kind, a model for emerging immigrant rights organizations in the Southeast and throughout the United States.