When the board of the SJFVC (Social Justice Fund for Ventura County) selected "immigration" as our theme for 2018 we knew we were on the right track. Identifying this years grantees ended up being quite a challenge. There were many very worthwhile groups doing important things along this topic. We were / are incredibly impressed by the passion and commitment to immigrant empowerment expressed in the Letters Of Interest (LOI). Over all we received 18 forceful LOIs that connected with our goals of supporting:

  1. Grassroots community organizing, engaging local agents of change in Ventura County
  2. Projects that mobilize communities to create lasting positive change
  3. Activities that develop new youth leaders and encourage participants to learn new skills
  4. Projects that develop networks, inspire collaboration and community problem solving

On July 15, 2018 SJFVC along with many of our supporters celebrated "Social Activism" while introducing the 2018 grantees.  We thank Assembly member Jacqui Irwin, CA 44th, for interrupting her busy schedule, on short notice, to attend and provide a short talk.  Over 100 people registered for the event which was held at Art Trek (in Newbury Park).  A special thank you to Art Trek's Nan Young and Janice Wise for working with the SJFVC board and putting together a fantastic night, where we had 2 art activities (to get everyone interacting), great food, atmosphere and just a wonderful evening.

2018 Grantees (w/summaries):

CEDC - (Cabrillo Economic Development Corporation

CEDC is a public benefit non-profit that provides quality affordable housing, with an emphasis on community building and leadership development. Incorporated in 1981, the CEDC is the largest developer of affordable housing in Ventura County, managing 1,152 rental homes for more than 3,900 residents. The CEDC intends to use its grant money to partner with El Concilio to conduct three Immigration Rights Workshops, to partner with the Mexican Consulate in Oxnard to set up mobile one-stop-shops in Santa Paula and Fillmore, and partner with La Hermandad to deliver two 10-week citizenship classes. 

CLUE – (Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice - Ventura County)

For almost a decade, CLUE -Ventura County has been focused on connecting undocumented students with each other and with resources to advance their education. Beginning with its “Dreamers Without Boarders – Ventura County” program, CLUE’s ultimate goal is to empower youth to advocate for themselves and their peers in their high schools and colleges. Building upon its successes at Thousand Oaks High School, where undocumented students gather from Westlake and Newbury Park high schools for skill-building training sessions, CLUE has proposed expanding the program to new schools in Santa Paula, Ojai, Moorpark, Oxnard, and Ventura. The program will assist schools in organizing 12-15 knowledge and skill-building training sessions for club members. 

MICOP – (Mixteco / Indigena Community Organizing Project)

MICOP was established in 2001 to aid, organize, and empower Ventura County’s 20,000 indigenous immigrants. Offering a full spectrum of programs, including direct services, community organizing, and advocacy, MICOP annually serves 8,000 individuals. Seeking to expand the Tequio Youth Program, which builds the leadership skills of its indigenous immigrant students to raise community consciousness for systemic social change, MICOP has been awarded a grant to conduct Training of Trainer presentations for Know Your Rights, U-Visa, Asylum, Permanent Resident, T-Visa, US Citizenship, DACA, and other programs. Additionally, MICOP has proposed compiling a one-page list of immigration resources in Ventura County, creating a safe space for indigenous immigrant youth to share their stories, and hosting a weekly radio talk show and podcast. 

WFC – (Westminster Free Clinic)

Since 1994, the WFC has provided free medical care to the uninsured and working poor, regardless of immigration status. Additionally, the WFC serves as an advocate and safe resource for Know Your Rights information, including access to a free bi-lingual immigration lawyer, and socioemotional support and stress management. Annually, WFC offers free medical, dental, vision, mental health and legal services to over 8,000 low-income, uninsured individuals. Beyond improved access to care, the WFC provides leadership and youth development opportunities to high school students through training sessions and hands-on experience. This program, known as Student Advocates Leading Uplifting Decisions or SALUD, will seek to train parents to be advocates for their children in schools, raise awareness about A-G requirements and student rights, train teachers and school administrators on challenges faced by low-income, first generation Latino students, distribute Know Your Rights information and conduct training sessions on the material. 

CSUCI – (California University Channel Islands)

The California State University Channel Islands was established in 2002 and is the county’s only public four-year institution of higher education. The goals of CSUCI's grant are twofold: First, to educate the Ventura County community about immigration laws and policies. Students will gather and compile both quantitative and qualitative data on non-US citizens who are detained by Ventura County Sheriff and ICE officials. The students will then design an online website for immigration resources in Ventura County to disseminate information to local and national immigrant advocacy groups, partnering with local community organizations to raise awareness. The second goal of the grant is to transform these students into the next generation of immigrant right activists by developing a toolkit and training students to conduct Know Your Rights and Dream Act workshops. 

CLU – (California Lutheran University)

CLU has been serving Ventura County since 1959. Designated a Hispanic-Serving Institution in 2016, Latino students represent 31% of the undergraduate population. This honor is a part of the University’s mission of educating leaders for a global society who are confident in their identity, vocation, and mission. As a part of that mission, Professor Jose Marichal has proposed creating program to train eight Immigrant Empowerment Advocates. This for-credit curriculum will provide 16 hours of training for CLU students who are residents of Ventura County in: community organizing, needs assessment, community mapping, fundraising, event planning, and cross-cultural network building. The same students will then supervise the planning and execution of four projects addressing high-need areas. 

Thank you again to all:

... for your hard work, your commitment to advancing better understanding, your actions to ensure immigrants can pursue their dreams and goals, for volunteering and last, but not least, for your contributions.  Hopefully we can all eventually become agents of change.  We honor the dedication to grassroots social justice displayed by all of this years applicants.

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