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After DACA Decision, A Push To Organize Pittsburgh's Latino Community

Virginia Alvino Young
90.5 WESA
Members of the immigrants' rights group Fuerza Unida en Resistencia de Inmigrantes en Accion, or FURIA, protest outside the City-County Building Monday, May 1, 2017.

In light of President Donald Trump’s announcement to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program or DACA, Latino advocates in Pittsburgh are beginning a monthly series of community meetings to set priorities and help cultivate leadership.

For years, the non-profit Casa San Jose has been holding “know your rights” sessions, and legal workshops for the Latino community. Now, it’s time to coordinate a plan, according to Monica Ruiz, organizer for Casa.

She said the community needs to band together, and further engage with the issues that impact them.

“Decisions are being made on a daily basis that affect our lives, and if they don’t have a voice at the table, then these decisions are being made without the representation,” she said.

Ruiz said there are a lot of issues that concern her community, the most important of which is DACA.

“It’s fear they’re instilling fear in people,” she said. “DACA was supposed to be something to temporarily protect people. These people came out of the shadows, they gave out all their information…they can easily be targets, and that’s just attacking the most vulnerable…and many people didn’t get DACA because they were afraid something like this was going to happen.”

Other issues Ruiz believes the community will confront include the perception that their communities are over-policed, racial profiling, parents’ relationships with schools and lack of access to services because of language barriers.

The first community meeting is Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. at the United Church of Christ in Beechview.

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