UAO aims to serve as the African Community Resource Clearinghouse wherein constituents gather, access information, share experiences, exchange views, and coordinate organizational capacity development. UAO's hub of resources on this website is intended to assist community members in navigating services, programs and resources that are available to help them cope better in the United States.
The phone rang…..
It was the security man downstairs saying there was a delivery.
It was this delightful tray of fresh baked pastries and bite-size cookies from www.bakeforme.com .
who is our secret admirer?
Thank you for making our day!
I am Misturat Ganiyu. Disregard my age, occupation, gender, race, and other details that define a person. Concentrate, instead, on the beginning sentence in this blog. This is where people trip and stumble. At a young age, I realize the difficulty of my name. During that time, I would recite it to other elementary school kids and confusion followed. My name is pronounced as incorrectly as a first grader who utters a challenging word for the first time. A child may split the word into syllables or skip the word altogether, but it will return. The same concept applies to strangers meeting other strangers at a commonplace. Names are introduced and they part ways, but encounters happen.
Repeating a name accurately exemplifies kindness. If you say it wrong and apologize for it, that is alright as long as you try again. Practice helps. Don’t ask for a shortcut such as the person’s nickname. Sometimes, one is absent. Read more →
On Saturday, May 18th, United African Organization hosted its 7th Annual Chicago African Summit & Resource Fair at the Northeastern Illinois University’s Carruther’s Center for Inner City Studies.
At the Summit, attendees had the opportunity to reflect on critical issues that affect the African community. Panel discussions on comprehensive immigration reform, accessing healthcare through the Affordable Care Act, and organizing African immigrants and refugees on the local and national level informed the community on how these policies affect them and the importance of advocacy work to fight African issues.
Congressman Bobby Rush (D-IL-1) gave the keynote speech, further motivating the crowd to be advocates for change in regards to African issues.
We would like to thank all of our panelists for providing thought-provoking information and stimulating conversation throughout the day, as well as all of our interns and volunteers for making this event a success.
A special thanks to the organizations that participated in the Resource Fair providing health, immigration, legal, and employment services to the community.
Want more information on our annual Summit and Resource Fair? Contact us today at 312-949-9980
Until next year!
On May 1, 2013 UAO and allies rallied together to demand legalization for all undocumented immigrants under the Gang of 8′s proposed immigration reform bill.
On Tuesday, April 16, 2013, the Gang of 8 Senators released a proposed CIR bill that would cut the Diversity Visa Lottery program in 2014.
The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program makes 50,000 diversity visas available annually, drawn from a random selection among entries of individuals who are from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.
In 2011 alone, 24,000 out of the 50,000 allotted slots were granted to African immigrants; 48%.
The program accounts for the most African admission as legal permanent residents apart from refugees and U.S. citizens’ petitions for immediate family members.
Programs like the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program are essential to underrepresented nationals who seek to emigrate to the United States.
In an article by NBC Latino, the bill eliminates the backlog for family and employment-based immigration, which for some amounted to more than a 20-year wait. But a big shift is the transition from a family-based unification system to a merit-based immigration system. For example, 18 months after the legislation is enacted, a legal resident or citizen can no longer sponsor adult siblings. The new bill would restrict “immediate relative” to children and spouses of those allowed to become lawful permanent residents.
CITIZENSHIP FOR THE UNDOCUMENTED:
NBC Latino also notes that the bill provides a path to citizenship for the nation’s approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants as long as they entered the country before December 31, 2011. Undocumented immigrants without serious criminal convictions have one year — though that may be extended — to apply for Registered Provisional Immigrant Status (RPI).
This would allow them to be in this country legally, work for any employer and travel outside of the United States. While RPI confers legal status, it does not make individuals eligible for public benefits, including healthcare, under the Affordable Care Act. The costs to apply for RPI status are a $500 fine, assessed taxes and application fees. After six years in RPI status, another $500 fee will be applicable.
A significant aspect of this bill is that an applicant’s spouse and children can be sponsored at the same time under the same application. There is no provision in the bill for same-sex couples, though a person familiar with the negotiations said that a DHS directive could be added if there are changes following a Supreme Court decision.
After 10 years, a person with RPI status will be eligible for a green card provided they have worked regularly, paid taxes, learned English and civics, and paid a $1,000 penalty. After three years with a green card, they can apply for citizenship.
Dreamers can get their green cards in 5 years, and will be eligible for citizenship immediately after that. Under a new AgJOBS Act, undocumented farm workers who have been working in the U.S. would be eligible for an Agricultural Card, and if they pay taxes and a $400 fine, they and their spouses and minor children can adjust to legal permanent resident status.
The bill addresses the issue of families who have been separated through deportation. Undocumented immigrants who had been deported for non-criminal reasons but who had been in the U.S. before the end of 2011 can reapply to re-enter and apply for RPI status, if they are the spouse of or parent to a child who is a U.S. citizen or legal resident, or a Dreamer eligible for the DREAM Act.
FIGHTING FOR INCLUSION:
There is still time to fight for programs like the Diversity Visa Lottery and family petitions. If you are concerned about this proposed bill, we STRONGLY URGE YOU to speak up and voice your opinions to your member of congress to insure that families stay together.
HAVE YOUR VOICE HEARD!
The African Youth Forum, held on March 30, 2013, brought together youth to discuss important issues affecting our communities and provided a space for engagement and interaction.
The Know Your Rights Project led a workshop on Incarceration and the Prison Industrial Complex. Dr. Horace Hall of DePaul University challenged the audience on Racism and Education. The Immigrant Youth Justice League informed attendees about the challenges and fight for Immigration Reform and the work of undocumented youth.
Performances by Umuada Ure dance troupe of Umu Igbo Alliance, the drumming ensemble, W.Side Story/AfriCaribbean Connections ofAfter School Matters, and rapper B1Swagger made the event even more memorable.
The Forum challenged youth from diverse backgrounds, whether native-born or immigrant, to be advocates for change and build bridges through dialogue.
UAO would like to extend a special thank you to thevolunteers, Brown Sugar Bakery, Bryan Echols, and Chioma Anigbogu for making the event a success!
For more information on how to get involved with the African Youth Forum, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Friday, March 22nd, UAO and allies participated in a protest and civil disobedience to demand the Gang of 8 to produce a bill on comprehensive immigration reform (CIR). One day later, UAO hosted it’s African Community Forum on CIR and how the proposed removal of the Diversity Visa Lottery Program would negatively affect future African immigrants to the United States. Here are photos from our actions!
(Click each photo to see full album)
On February 27, 2013, UAO Executive Staff and allies lobbied Illinois legislators in Springfield to ensure that immigrant services such as Citizenship workshops and healthcare awareness are still funded in the next fiscal year.
If you want to get involved with our efforts, contact your representatives today to insure immigrant services are still funded in Illinois by visiting Who Is My Representative, today!