Soy Iris

[cmsms_row][cmsms_column data_width=”1/1″][cmsms_text]

Soy Iris, y llevo dos años en Filadelfia. Vine aquí con mis hijos y mi nieto, y actualmente estoy en el proceso de asilo esperando mi audiencia final.

Antes de 2009, no entendía la migración. ¿Por qué? Porque mi vida era la casa y el trabajo. Mi esposo había migrado, pero yo no había entendido o visto la migración en mi propia carne. Sabía que era difícil, pero que era diferente a entender el dolor que está involucrado. Yo era enfermera en Honduras, pero cuando las maras empezaron a amenazar a mis hijos y yo, todo comenzó a cambiar. Entonces, todo era diferente cuando mi hijo desapareció. No me preocupaba sólo el hogar y el trabajo. Tuve que irme por mis hijos.

Soy parte de los promotores porque el trabajo une a la gente. Ese es nuestro objetivo, llevar a la gente al NSM y crecer juntos. Es importante para mí poder traer a una person a un evento, se lo dirá a sus amigos, que le dirá a sus vecinos, que le dirá a sus amigos y se convierte en un cadena de personas. Es por eso que vale la pena centrarse en cada individuo, nuestro movimiento crece una persona a la vez.

A menudo las personas no responden a mis llamadas. Pero he aprendido que si les envío un mensaje de texto con más información y les dejo aprender un poco sobre lo que estoy haciendo, me llaman de vuelta y quieren reunirse conmigo. Personas que no saben lo que es NSM no confían en él de inmediato. Asumen que es como todo lo demás aquí en los Estados Unidos: que cuesta dinero, que va a abusar de su información personal, que tomará demasiado tiempo y conducirá a cosas malas, al igual que la policía. Estas son las razones por las que es más difícil aquí en los Estados Unidos. Aquí, hay más reglas, todo cuesta dinero. Y es por eso que la gente no confía en NSM. Eso es lo que pensé inicialmente. Y tiene sentido porque para los inmigrantes, los inmigrantes que han sufrido y que tuvieron que sufrir para llegar aquí, que ha sido su experiencia. No tienen pruebas de que el NSM sea diferente. Por eso tengo que hablar con ellos y darles pruebas.

Cuando voy a encontrarme con la gente, los escucho. Oigo el tremendo dolor que muchas personas han padeciendo por el dolor que no puedo imaginar. A pesar de que he soportado más dolor de lo que alguna vez pensé que una persona podía, todavía oigo historias de sufrimiento que me hacen pensar: “no podría haberlo hecho”. Me ayuda a escuchar otras historias de supervivencia y a saber que otras personas tienen un dolor inexplicable. La gente necesita experimentar lo que es para los miembros de NSM a aparecer junto a ellos, con sus insignias de NSM y abogar por ellos de forma gratuita. Cuando las personas no creen el uno en el otro, las relaciones se cierran. Si creen el uno en el otro, nuestras creencias crecen y las relaciones se fortalecen mutuamente.

Creo que más personas no conocen sobre NSM porque ha sido anónimo. Ha estado en silencio, y la gente no entiende lo que hace NSM. Si la gente no sabe lo que es, no puede creer en ello. Pero si las personas se reúnen y escuchan a un promotora, estarán interesados en lo que hacemos. Una vez que entienden lo que hacemos, está claro que es importante y empiezan a creer en él. Hablar en persona es clave, nosotros (las promotoras) hemos acordado que es una discusión personal que hace que la gente confíe en nosotros y nuestra invitación a unirse a NSM. NSM ofrece protección y me hace sentir bien para llevar a las personas a este movimiento.

Hablo muy directamente. No puedo evitarlo porque he vivido tanto sufrimiento que no me sirve hablar en voz baja o pasivamente. Las personas que han luchado escuchan de manera diferente y entienden la necesidad de hablar en voz alta. Entienden la necesidad de estar enojados y de seguir creciendo el movimiento. Las personas que no han sufrido no entienden, no entienden por qué me siento como yo, por qué me preocupo tanto, por qué soy tan independiente. Esto es lo que traigo al grupo promotores. Tengo mucho positivismo y me gustaría compartirlo con cada una de las personas.

[/cmsms_text]

[cmsms_divider type=”solid” margin_top=”50″ margin_bottom=”50″ animation_delay=”0″]

[cmsms_text]

I am Iris, and I have been in Philadelphia for two years. I came here with my kids and grandson, and I am currently in the asylum process expecting my final hearing.

Before 2009, I did not understand migration. Why? Because my life was home and work. My husband had migrated, but I had not understood or seen migration in my own flesh. I knew it was hard, but that was different than understanding the pain that is involved. I was a nurse in Honduras, but when the gangs started to threaten my children and me things began to change. Then, everything was different when my son disappeared. I was not concerned with just home and work. I had to leave for my children.

I am a part of the Promotores because the work brings people together. That is our goal, to bring people into NSM and to grow together. It is fun for me because I know that once I get one person to come to an event, they will tell their friends, who will tell their neighbors, who will tell their friends and it becomes a chain of people. This is why it is worth it to focus on every individual, our movement grows one person at a time.

Often people do not answer my calls. But I’ve learned that if I send them a text message with more information and let them learn a little about what I am doing, they call me back and want to meet with me. People who don’t know what NSM is do not trust it right away. They assume it’s like everything else here in the United States: that it costs money, that it will abuse their personal information, that it’ll take too long and lead to bad things- just like the police. These are the reasons why it is harder here in the United States. Here, there are more rules, everything costs money. And that is why people don’t trust NSM. That’s what I initially thought. And that makes sense because for immigrants, immigrants who have suffered and who had to suffer to get here, that has been their experience. They don’t have proof that NSM will be different. That’s why I have to talk to them and give them proof.

When I go to meet with people, I listen to them. I hear the tremendous pain so many people have gone through – pain that I cannot imagine. Even though I have endured more pain than I ever thought a person could, I still hear stories of suffering that make me think, “I could not have done that”. It helps me to hear other stories of survival and to know other people have inexplicable pain. People need to experience what it’s like for NSM members to show up beside them, with their NSM badges and advocate for them for free. When people do not believe in each other, relationships close. If they do believe in each other, our beliefs grow and relationships strengthen one another.

I think more people don’t know about NSM because it’s been anonymous. It’s been silent, and so people don’t understand what it is that NSM does. If people do not know what is it, they cannot believe in it. But if people meet and listen to a Promotora, they will be interested in what we do. Once they understand what we do, it is clear that it is important and they start believing in it. Talking in person is key, we (the Promotores) have agreed that is it personal discussion that makes people trust us and our invitation to join NSM. NSM offers protection and it makes me feel good to bring people into this community.

I speak very directly. I cannot help it because I’ve lived through so much suffering that it does not serve me to speak quietly or passively. People who have struggled listen differently and understand the need to talk loudly. They understand the need to be angry and to keep growing the movement. People who have not suffered do not understand, do not understand why I feel the way I do, why I care so much, why I am so independent. This is what I bring to the Promotores group. I have a lot of positivity, and I want to share it with every person.

[/cmsms_text][/cmsms_column][/cmsms_row]

Previous slide
Next slide

Immigrant led Community Organizing

Our staff manages our campaigns and programs while our members join our working committees to inform our programming, choose our campaigns, and plan our strategies to win. Through conversation and listening, our members and the community on the ground are the ones directing the organization. When people reach out to NSM, they connect with someone who speaks their language, looks like them, and is committed to empowering immigrant communities because they understand their journey and struggle. At NSM, our communities see their peers guiding our mission, creating trust, and allowing members to recognize NSM as an immigrant-led organization.
NSM works to lift the skills of the affected community and dismantle systems of oppression while promoting systems of mutual support, collective liberation, and respect for all people, which is why we provide interpretation services, respect childcare needs, schedule our sessions during times that work best for members who work multiple jobs or cannot meet in person, and allow members to inform us about their individual needs before meetings.
The community leads our work at every level to eliminate unnecessary barriers and meet the varied needs of our members.

Leadership Development

Our Leadership Development Program is a step in recruiting and training new leaders and training. The program blends the skills and experiences members bring from their home countries with NSM’s signature faith-rooted and anti-racist organizing model.

We have curricula for each level of membership, which includes workshops on the history of detention, community organizing, nonviolent protest, campaign strategy, and ongoing anti-racism training. Our programming encourages immigrant leaders to find their voice, understand the power of collective resistance, and join a community of immigrant leaders fighting for transformational systemic changes rooted in social and economic justice.

Leading this initiative is Bertha Murcia, one of NSM's Community Organizers. She is an alumna of NSM’s Promotoras de Justicia immigrant leadership program and oversees member engagement.

Build Community Power

NSM’s organizing efforts emphasize community building, inviting people to new roles, deepening Black and Brown solidarity, long-term leadership development, and impactful campaigns.

We build a base of people from our 33 congregations and Accompaniment Team and direct that people-power to fight specific campaigns. Staff members work with immigrant members to choose our campaigns, guide our strategies, lead events, and ensure our work is focused on meeting the needs of Philadelphia’s various immigrant communities.

Having a hands-on role in changing policy allows our members to gain a sense of empowerment, confidence, and self-respect. Empowering immigrants of color to organize collectively is part of NSM’s long haul work to create a people-powered movement for immigrant justice.