Sunday, August 16, 2009

August is Meet Your Representative Month: Report at Mid-Month

by Kathy Drasky

The month is half over and Out4Immigration members have had some successful meetings with their representatives. Robert is from Georgia, a very conservative state. Still, he met with staffers of Rep. David Scott (D-GA-13) and tells us, "Many Democratic congressmen like mine here in Atlanta do not know about UAFA. Meeting was great, I was nervous, and I choked my tears back but I got my message across, they promised to look into this and have Congressman Scott cosponsor the bill."

Sandy in Connecticut, a state with gay marriage, met with Rep. Chris Murphy's staff (D-CT-5) and says, "The meeting went very well. They understood the issues that we brought to their attention and were happy to receive the literature from the Kit put together by Out4Immigration . While they did not promise that Representative Murphy would sign on as a co-sponsor, they were confident that he would support the UAFA bill and have promised to discuss the legislation with him."

Juan and his partner in Florida met with a staffer for their representative in Miami. Juan reports "I think it was a quite successful meeting considering that this particular staffer was extremely ignorant about both LGBT civil rights and immigration policy.... Once she understood our issue, she was extremely sympathetic and kind. If anything, it was a great opportunity to educate someone who has direct contact with our representative in the House about our struggle. We also put together the action kit that Out4Immigration sent to everyone . Our kit included our pictures, stories, resumes, and business cards, letters that my partner and I have written to one another, the Out4Immigration brochure, and the list of UAFA co-sponsors. This ended up having an even stronger impact because the staffer will not only verbally pass a message but actually deliver a nice compilation of our struggle."

Have you made an appointment to speak with your Representative or their staff yet about immigration inequality in the United States and how this affects same-sex binational couples?

If so - Out4Immigration wants to hear from you. Please keep posting your stories to

If not, here's some more encouraging words from three of Out4Immigration's members who have taken the time this month to personally go and make a difference. Robert says, "I know it is hard to find free time, I went and met during my lunch break.... We have to stand up for ourselves, because no one else will, we will not win unless we become more active, letters and emails help, but FACE TO FACE IS THE BEST."

Sandy agrees: "I really feel that it was worth the time and effort to go there and meet with staffers. I think this is so important to do, as the face to face meetings and having them listen to actual stories of the hardships we face makes a much bigger impact when they see that it affects real people in their district."

Juan adds, "It is time to go beyond netroots lobbying and actually start making appointments to meet with our Congresspeople. With such a small percentage of people being affected by our issue and so many other agencies pouring tons of money into their lobbying efforts, we will always have to go the extra mile if we want to be taken seriously and right now the extra mile is meeting our representatives."

Do you need more encouragement to take part in our grassroots efforts for "August is Meet Your Representative Month"? You can download the Out4Immigration toolkit for more information. Click here:

Then, pick up the phone. Make an appointment. Meet with your representative or their staffers. If you need assistance please contact Out4Immigration's volunteer coordinators who have been instrumental in getting this program off the ground and running, Mr. Tom Tierney at and Ms. Zoe Oka at whom we want to thank again - this project would not be possible without their efforts.

Kathy Drasky
Volunteer, Communications Coordinator

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