Journalism Next from Manatee School for the Arts

Special to the HeraldFebruary 11, 2013 

UNIDOSNOW.ORG pushes representatives to vote "yes" on comprehensive immigration reform

On Jan. 29, 2013, local pastors and volunteers gathered in one place to see President Obama's address on immigration policy. These faith leaders and community activists closely work together in an organization called UNIDOSNOW.ORG, with local headquarters in Sarasota, with a goal of uniting and mobilizing the Hispanics in our area.

UNIDOSNOW.ORG is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping to advance Hispanics in Southwest Florida. They provide services such as "Know Your Rights" sessions, college fairs to Dreamers, and mediation between local authorities and the Hispanic community.

Aspiring to integrate immigrants into Florida's economy and culture, the organization also lobbies support from the Hispanics to engage in civic activism.

The organization began thriving in 2010, when the Arizona-style immigration law was presented in the state of Florida. Over 100 people rallied alongside UNIDOSNOW.ORG in Tallahassee in a fight to keep the law out of our state. Victory came when the Arizona-style law was denied in Florida. After years of working toward immigration reform in our state, the time has finally come for their work to pay off.

Since the president's address on immigration, UNIDOSNOW.ORG has been rallying support amongst the community to call our local representatives' offices.

One of the veteran volunteers and founding members, Adriana Cerrillo, states that, "The organization has been strongly working to inform the community that the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act is not amnesty toward immigrants. Representatives like Vern Buchanan are presenting this bill to our community as such and discouraging our state from opening up to immigration reform, which is something completely necessary to pass. Our Sunshine State's economy is so agriculturally based. We depend on these immigrants to drive our economy forward."

Regardless of the turnout, UNIDOSNOW.ORG will not give up in its fight to reform the immigration policies. The organization will continue its work to bind the Hispanic community into our culture. Adriana Cerrillo states her belief, "All of these cultures have so much to learn from one another. If we all can unite as one society and one peoples, there's no telling how far our nation can go."

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