A broad coalition gathered on Wednesday, January 30th at the Mississippi State Capitol for MIRA’s annual Civic Engagement Day. Workers, immigrants, activists, community members, and religious leaders joined together in urging legislators to support immigrant and worker rights in Mississippi. The day consisted of a walk to the Capitol building; a news conference; and crucial meetings with legislators.
Civic Engagement Day is a key component in MIRA’s advocacy work, because it allows us to engage directly with legislators at a critical moment during the legislative session – just prior to the deadline for legislative committees to bring up bills for a vote before the deadline for committee reports to the respective chamber.
After our 12:30PM news conference in the Capitol building’s rotunda, participants formed delegations (about 6 people per group) and moved to meet with specific legislators. The delegations included immigrants and people from Mississippi’s Latino and Muslim communities; there was also a bilingual person in each group to translate for any non-English speakers.
Each delegation was able to effectively connect with their targeted legislator. We specifically met with the chairs of the House and Senate Judiciary committees to communicate our concerns and ask those legislators not to bring up the anti-immigrant and anti-worker bills that had been referred to their committees.
We’re proud to report that none of the proposals on our “bad bills” list were brought up for discussion in these legislative committees, meaning that the bad bills have all died (see here for our lists of “good bills” and “bad bills”).
Allies in attendance included MS Human Services Coalition, Mississippi Alliance of State Employees Union / CWA, people from Mississippi’s Latino and Muslim communities, among others. Our longtime friend Rep. Kathy Sykes authored many of the pro-immigrant and pro-worker bills. We’re grateful for the Mississippi Black Legislative Caucus, and our allies, volunteers, and friends who demonstrate real support for immigrants and workers, year after year.
For more on Civic Engagement Day, take a look at this excellent article in the Jackson Free Press.