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Nationwide Alliance of Organizations Launches Unprecedented Civic Engagement Movement

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We Are America Alliance To Mobilize One Million Voters in 2008

Today, a nationwide alliance of organizations launched an unprecedented, nation-wide civic engagement movement called We Are America Alliance (WAAA). This Alliance is comprised of immigrant rights organizations, ethnically-based organizations, and community and leadership organizations all across the country who have joined together in an effort to increase civic participation within the Latino, Asian, and immigrant communities.

The combined effort of the WAAA partners will register 500,000 new Latino, Asian, and immigrant voters so they can participate in this election cycle. WAAA partners will work in 13 different states to register more than 1,000,000 Latino, Asian, and immigrant voters during a comprehensive GOTV effort. The targets of this effort are young people under 25, newly naturalized citizens and those least likely to vote (infrequent voters). These voters are traditionally overlooked by campaigns and more susceptible to being disenfranchised, but the WAAA partners will work together to ensure that they are motivated to vote utilizing the grassroots outreach and internet strategies coordinated by WAAA.

“The We Are America Alliance partner organizations have fought for the rights of immigrants in their respective communities, but this year, they are coming together to make voter engagement their number one priority,” said Holli Holiday, Executive Director of the We Are America Alliance. “This is an unprecedented civil engagement movement involving a multi-ethnic alliance of national, state, and local organizations working together toward a common goal. The partners involved in this effort will be collaborating to mobilize more than one million Latino, Asian, and immigrant voters this election cycle.”

In a national survey recently commissioned by WAAA, 70% of Latino registered voters responded that they had voted in their state’s presidential primary. These findings are extremely significant when considering that primary elections are often characterized by low turnout and participation from frequent and engaged voters. According to the survey, the respondents noted the act of voting as an effective mechanism for changing the political system, with 70% of Latinos identifying voting in a presidential election as the most effective way to participate.

“Over the past decade, the immigrant electorate has grown significantly. The tremendous turnout in the presidential primaries sent a clear message that the Latino, Asian, and immigrant communities are prime for exercising their growing electoral power,” said Arturo Vargas, Executive Director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund. “As the country prepares for an historic presidential election in 2008, one of the major stories after Election Day will be the rise of immigrant voters as increasingly engaged in the political process.”

As a result of this research and other messaging work of the partners, WAAA is pleased to announce the slogan that will be used as part of this coordinated movement:

My Vote, Our Future: Millions Standing Up for the American Dream

“The 14 organizations that are part of this collaborative have committed their energy and resources on increasing the size of the Latino, Asian, and immigrant electorates and the participation of these communities in the American democratic process,” said Tram Nguyen, New Virginians Initiative Director, Tenants and Workers United.

The civic engagement program will also work closely with the Ya Es Hora campaign and other ethnic media to reduce barriers to voting and provide voters with information about the electoral process, details on what documents are needed to vote, and where to vote.

Specifically, the WAAA partners will coordinate throughout the election cycle to:

· Offer ESL and citizenship classes, and naturalization application assistance. In particular, there will be coordinated efforts on Saturday, July 12, and Saturday, September 20, when cities across the country will host citizenship workshops to assist Legal Permanent Residents in completing their naturalization applications;

· Register new voters at naturalization ceremonies;

· Connect interested community members with local volunteer opportunities through a calendar of events on www.weareamericaalliance.org during the month of August in preparation for a Fall voter registration effort;

· Make phone calls and knock on doors to encourage the Latino, Asian, and immigrant communities to get out to vote on Election Day;

· Collaborate with the ya es hora campaign and other ethnic media to distribute information about the voting process, about where to vote on Election Day, and what documents are needed in order to cast a valid ballot.