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Ahri Center addresses immigrant injustice by being a vehicle for youth-led civic engagement and centering the voices of immigrant families in Orange County, even during the pandemic. Building Leaders Organizing Our Movement (BLOOM), made with a local Latinx community-based organization, is a 5-month youth-led paid program to amplify their voice while developing their goals, coping skills, relationship-building, and political awareness. Our multi-ethnic approach lifts diverse lived experiences and emphasizes peer-to-peer learning, youth development, empowerment to change policy, and wellness. We encourage youth participants to share their narratives, submit project proposals, and organize to push representatives to advocate for immigrants. Ahri Center is led by Latinx and AAPI immigrant genderqueer and women of color who have worked together for five years, organizing and serving immigrant community members before forming Ahri Center officially in 2020. Ahri Center's staff reflects the populations of color who live in Orange County. We advocate for immigrant justice by providing youth organizing programs, immigration legal services, and resource linkages to low-income, AAPI, and Latinx youth and families in Orange County. We measure our success by seeing how many people we reach, impacting immigrant youth, highlighting immigrant stories, and tracking activities about institutional change. Success is building a movement where immigrant families and youth mobilize voters in the field and work beyond an election cycle to create sustainable power. Ahri Center's leadership program gives the community the training and tools to become successful community organizers. We strive to empower immigrant youth of color to change their communities' political, social, and economic conditions by providing opportunities to become more engaged in local, state, and federal politics. In 2021, 20 BLOOM youth leaders created and deployed their immigration campaign: leading a virtual townhall with speakers representing myriad generations and perspectives from students, educators, organizers, and parents, and which deeply discussed immigration policies such as updating the "Registry Date" and a pathway to citizenship for all undocumented immigrants. Ahri Center had 400 attendees in total for events and programs in 2021.
About the Organization:
$100,000 - $500,000
The problem Ahri Center seeks to address is immigrant families encounter inequities imposed by systemic barriers that limit their quality of life. Ahri Center focuses on immigrant justice work In Orange County, California, an atypical, conservative county. According to the Migration Policy Institute, 34,000 Pan-Asian undocumented people live in Orange County, California; however, only a few organizations serve Pan-Asian immigrants through immigration services and an advocacy pathway. Immigrant families face barriers enacted by anti-immigrant people in power and policies and often do not reflect the community population. In Orange County, the elected sheriff publicly vilified sanctuary laws, which has resulted in Orange County being the county with the highest rate of transferring undocumented immigrants to ICE. The target of undocumented immigrant communities results in these communities living in fear and the shadows. In addition, with the resurgence of xenophobia and racism, immigrants are vulnerable to hate crimes and being silenced. We must address this issue because immigrant communities will continue to be underserved. Without action and achieving fundamental human rights for immigrant communities, there will be a normalization of unprogressive policies and elected officials that continue harming communities of color. Government officials are supposed to bring diverse voices to the table; however, they lack reaching out to immigrant communities of color whether it comes to giving proper resources.
Ahri Center addresses immigrant injustice by being a vehicle for youth-led civic engagement and centering the voices of immigrant families in Orange County, even during the pandemic. Building Leaders Organizing Our Movement (BLOOM), made with a local Latinx community-based organization, is a 5-month youth-led paid program to amplify their voice while developing their goals, coping skills, relationship-building, and political awareness. Our multi-ethnic approach lifts diverse lived experiences and emphasizes peer-to-peer learning, youth development, empowerment to change policy, and wellness. We encourage youth participants to share their narratives, submit project proposals, and organize to push representatives to advocate for immigrants. Ahri Center conducts peer-to-peer outreach to GOTV and advocating on propositions through phone banking and canvassing. Ahri Center participates in getting immigrant communities to vote every election. Ahri Center contacts immigrant families to exercise their rights if eligible. Our 2022 in-language civic engagement program goals prioritize voter turnout, voter education, and communications with Korean media outlets to disarm the disinformation machine. Ahri for Justice cultivates and educates Korean monolingual field teams to have meaningful discussions with voters regarding the election. As a result, the in-language work ripples empowerment from the group and into the Korean community. This year, our Korean field team works to drive voter turnout in both the June primary and November midterm elections through phone banking, text banking, and community outreach events. Every semester, we collaborate with the Asian American Studies at California State University, Fullerton to run a service-learning class focused on civic engagement. Students developed strategies advocating for redistricting, gender justice, and wellness. Ahri Center's Legal Service Program provides direct legal services (immigration, employment - workers rights, family law) to low-income, undocumented immigrant community members. We prioritize cases that involve domestic violence, and minors, and promote family reunification. Legal Service Program includes: (A) direct legal service; (B) community education; (C) provide resources to community - connecting to other critical governmental and nongovernmental services. We provide both pro bono legal services to survivors of domestic violence and a sliding scale legal service model. Our services are in Korean, Spanish, and English, with hopes to expand into other Asian languages.