May is full of excitement and hope; spring has arrived, flowers have bloomed and summer feels ever so close. This spring there is even more to feel rejuvenated by. I see a new level of conversation that says we are committed to providing decent working conditions for all who labor, that we have respect for all who come to our state, to America seeking freedom from persecution, an opportunity to practice their beliefs, good schooling, and the chance to be a part of strong, vibrant communities. I see a new day coming so full of promise and offering everyone the opportunity for full participation in the American dream.

Just last month, we heard a slight change in the national debate on immigration. The typically-partisan debates began to turn the corner toward authentic work to craft reforms that offers an opportunity for progress. No, we’re not there yet, but we’re closer than ever before and there’s momentum to keep pushing it forward.

Here in Oregon, I’ve watched good organizing successes among MRG allies –a number of whom have been our grantees, and I’m excited about the level of grassroots organizing and leadership that is setting a standard of leadership that others across the country are paying attention to.

Several recent successes are the result of hard work that built collaborations between grassroots groups, coalitions in communities of color, and a number of legislative allies.

The first major victory was the recent passage by the Oregon Legislature of tuition equity, which eliminated the practice of charging undocumented in-state youth expensive out-of-state tuition for higher education. This remarkable result ends a ten year campaign for education justice and was led by college youth in Oregon Student Foundation, and youth in Latinos Unidos Siempre and Momentum Alliance, as well as statewide organizing groups like CAUSA, APANO, and the Center for Intercultural Organizing (in 2015 became Unite Oregon).

Then, just days ago, I witnessed Governor Kitzhaber standing on the Capitol steps in front of thousands of Oregonians as he signed into law the driver’s license reinstatement bill, thus ending fears of arrest among undocumented workers driving to their job, school, grocery store, or doctor.

Another example of movement on immigration occurred on May 2nd, when funder members of Grantmakers of Oregon and SW Washington met to learn about community collaborations to support young Oregonians who migrated to the U.S. as children and are now eligible for Deferred Action.

As social justice activists, we must relish these victories, even as we prepare for mean spirited attacks on our immigration movement. There is still a long and winding road ahead to realize full immigration reform, but we’re on our way. We must continue to be informed, engaged and supportive of these organizing moments in order to realize the victory that has been long in coming.

I hope you are as excited as I am; that you are following the lead of justice activists throughout Oregon in communities large and small, those raising hope and bringing their leadership to the forefront to achieve the ultimate American prize: the right to dream, to pursue freedom, and to be part of our beloved Oregon.

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