The Immigrant Parent Voting Collaborative (IPVC) came together Friday to celebrate the power of immigrant families who participated in local elections for the first time in 2018.
Stemming from the recent partnership between the Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs (OCEIA) and a coalition of local community-based organizations, including Mission Graduates’ Parent Partner Program and its network of Promotoras, IPVC became a unifying voice for the enfranchisement of Latino, Chinese, Arabic, Filipino and African parents and guardians in San Francisco. Through multilingual grassroots organizing, immigrant communities participated in Board of Education Candidate forums, became informed about current elected officials, and created a community of engaged parents eager to engage in the civic process. On Friday, the IPVC shared its plans to continue efforts to inform new and current voters, protect immigrant communities as they decide to exercise their right to vote, and engage eligible non-citizen voters in anticipation of the 2019 special SFUSD School Board Elections.
The real highlight of the event was testimony given by parent organizers, who shared the impact Proposition N and the subsequent Non Citizen Vote had on their own lives. Antonia Lopez, a community leader with Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA), shared her experience of hosting workshops and information sessions for hundreds of Latino parents leading up to the election. “This has not only strengthen an entire community, but also gave parents have access to information that will help lift their voice, and allow them to choose someone to represent them in the school district,” Rodriguez said.
Moving forward, the IPVC looks to secure funding for continued outreach, to build upon the network of grassroots organizers that reached over 60,000 potential voters in six languages. With support from Norman Yee, President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, the collaborative hopes to continue to educate civic leaders of the importance of parent participation. As Supervisor Yee said, ” When parents are engaged, their children will do better in school. We are creating role models for the next generation.”