MIGRANTS AND FAMILIES BUILDING
ECONOMIC POWER AROUND THE WORLD
The formula is not easy or straightforward; La Liga Global members are working on different strategies in a coordinated effort to promote a more fair and equitable global economy that can sustain our transnational families.
With 18 events in 16 cities and 5 countries, over 3500 people learned the stories of La Liga Global members. Thousands more were reached through radio and television interviews, blogs, and journal articles.
In New York City, ROC-NY, Taxi Workers Alliance, Damayan, NEDAP, IIPSOCULTA, Queens Community House, and Tepeyac held a press conference to alert the public that they are working with Appleseed to ensure that migrants receive more federal consumer protection and for greater regulation in the multi-billion dollar remittance industry. They have introduced a provision in the Wall St. Reform and Consumer Protection Act for disclosure to consumers of fees and exchange rates in remittance transfers and a federal baseline for protection that mandates a national standard for error resolution. The provision has passed the House and is waiting at the Senate. Meanwhile, TIGRA continues to negotiate with and accredit socially responsible money transfer companies to ensure they commit to reinvest in our communities.
Companies accredited by TIGRA are moving ahead to partner with ASEFIN and FEDECACES, community microfinance institutions in El Salvador, in order to reinvest in Remit For Change: a 16-week field program that combines the promotions and use of these accredited remittance and banking products with a grassroots strategy of financial education and leadership development. The collective experience of participants in the program will inform further development of the products and the refinement of La Liga Global’s empowerment strategy.
Dominican migrants of Olneyville Neighborhood Association in Providence, RI, rallied their community to raise funds to support sustainable development projects in their home communities. TIGRA and La Liga Global are forming a Transnational Community Reinvestment Fund, which will redirect corporate reinvestments as well migrants’ philanthropy to home countries. The Dominicans’ message of cross border solidarity extended to include solidarity with their Haitian neighbors, especially now since the devastating earthquake.
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Mexican migrants with IIPSOCULTA, The Institute for Social and Cultural Practice and Research, led a caravan from New Haven, CT, to Tlaxcala, Mexico, visiting immigrant communities along the way in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Texas. Upon reaching Mexico, IIPSOCULTA celebrated the first Mexico-US Popular Assembly for Migrants and their Families, where close to 100 people and 10 organizations signed a declaration of affiliation to La Liga Global and affirmed their right to transit around the world without restrictions. The declaration will be handed out to Assemblymen and District Representatives in both Mexico and USA next May 1st.
TIGRA screened the film documentary La Americana in San Francisco, highlighting the very personal reasons why people migrate, in particular women’s increased need to migrate while maintaining their families together across borders. During the audience dialogue that followed, community members reflected on the importance of remittances to sustain families and how this practice can be used as an organizing and empowerment strategy. Organizing together transnationally, migrants and families are leveraging their power to win corporate and governmental accountability on the issues that affect their lives.
On the other side of the world, migrant families in Bangladesh celebrated La Liga Global Family Day with a human chain organized by WARBE Development Foundation, OKUP, BMAD, BOMSA, and PEACE Foundation. They highlighted the need for protection of the rights of migrant remitters and their families: national banks must insist on the corporate social responsibility standards promoted by TIGRA while the 1990 UN convention on the rights of migrants must be ratified. In a country where the president attends International Migrants Day celebrations, there was much discussion on the role of government to reduce migration costs and ensure security and reintegration of returned migrants into the country. Families demand that the government encourage economic empowerment, especially for women, as well as reinvestment opportunities through policy advocacy and financial support.