Opportunities for Involvement
The Task Force offers many ways to get involved in ways to improve the climate for immigrants in our communities.
If you see a way you would like to get involved in the list below, please contact the “point person” leader in the given initiative area. You can, of course, become involved in more than one of the initiatives. Contact information for each of the initiative leaders is given on the page that describes the initiative.
Please consider this a general invitation to participate in meetings of the Task Force. The meetings are usually held on the second Mondays of the month at the Needham Congregational Church. This will provide a way to get involved in the range of issues the Task Force considers. These meetings include brief presentations from each of the initiative point people leaders about the current activities of his or her area. And more extensive discussion of priority issues for the group in the month of the meeting.
We invite you to consider the following opportunities for involvement:
The Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) initiative
- Ask to be added to the email list of those who are willing to respond to action alerts that call on national legislators to support bills that either support immigrant rights or to vote against bills or amendments to bills that compromise or deny immigrant rights.
- Stay abreast of articles circulated to mailing lists regarding immigrant-related measures that will prepare you to be a more informed and effective advocate for immigrant measures.
- Join the Needham Area Immigration Justice Task Force.
- Learn more about immigration reform.
The State Policy Initiative
- Attend public hearings on bills we are following that support the rights and opportunities of immigrants.
- Write letters or call our state representative, Denise Garlick, and our two state senators, Richard Ross and Michael Rush, in support of these bills.
- Submit letters and op ed pieces to the editors of our weekly newspapers, the Needham Times and the Hometown Weekly, explaining the need for selected pieces of legislation and urging readers to support the measures.
- Learn more about Massachusetts immigration policy.
The End Wage Theft Initiative
- Learn about this issue on the internet and by reading the book, Wage Theft in America: Why Millions of Americans Are Not Getting Paid—and What We Can Do About It by Kim Bobo.
- Support state House Bill 1723 that addresses this issue, written by Task Force member, Bill Okerman.
- Participate in protest actions sponsored by the Metrowest Worker Center and other groups that bring pressure on employers who cheat workers out of rightfully-earned wages.
- Learn more about wage theft.
The Asylum Now Initiative
- Asylum-seeking women and children, from Central America, who are now in Massachusetts need your help. Learn about their needs from the Task Force.
- The Task Force works in collaboration with the Irish International Immigrant Center, where Ms. Sofia Vergara, a case manager, reaches out to every family with the help of a core group of trained volunteers.
- What you can do: (1) Work with your community to assemble bins/boxes of household goods; (2) deliver the bins/boxes of household goods to an asylum-family; (3) help with fundraising because cash assistance for the families will be needed in the future.
- For the delivery of goods, we will pair you with a Spanish-speaking advocate so we can learn more about what the family needs.
- Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help with 1 or 2. For more information and regarding cash needs of the families, contact email@example.com.
- You can make a difference in the lives of these families; 134 Central American women and their children have successfully migrated to Massachusetts since last November, after being released from Texas prisons.
- Join the Task Force to define a role for yourself that fits with other work and family obligations you may already have. Your ideas are welcomed.
The Domestic Worker Rights Initiative
- Attend workshops and forums on this issue that are directed toward raising the consciousness of employers of domestic workers regarding best practices in the employer-worker relationship.
- Study “The Guide for Domestic Workers and Their Employers,” written by Lydia Edwards, Esq., a staff person with the Brazilian Immigrant Center.
- Support legislation filed for consideration in the current legislative cycle, called “Creating a Domestic Workers’ Day on June 14.”
- Become a English language tutor with the Needham Community Council, which offers English as a second language to immigrant workers who live and/or work in Needham.
- Learn about pressing issues faced by immigrant domestic workers having to do with adequate medical care and their need for valid driver’s licenses.
- Learn more about domestic workers rights.
The Welcoming Needham Initiative
- Participate in planning for future events that will promote us as a more welcoming community.
- Seek out immigrant people in your wider neighborhood to help them meet other longer-term residents and to invite them to neighborhood activities.
- Become an English tutor through the well-planned and executed Community Council program.
- Join with the Task Force to promote activities designed to make ours a healthier, more inclusive community for all of its residents.
- Learn more about the Welcoming Needham Initiative.