INSPIRED IMPACT is an ongoing blog series that gives voice to social entrepreneurs and leaders of mission-driven organizations who are making an impact in their communities and industries.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
FWD.us is a bipartisan advocacy organization working to expand opportunities and advance the potential for every individual who seeks to contribute to our nation – starting with fixing our immigration system and reforming criminal justice policy. FWD.us was founded by leaders in the tech and business community to promote policies to keep the United States competitive in a global economy. Our nation’s strength comes from the belief that everyone who works hard can reach his or her potential – and it’s our job to help shape policies to make this a reality.
WHY DO YOU DO IT?
FWD.us’ mission is to mobilize the tech community to support policies that keep the American Dream achievable in the 21st century. We support comprehensive immigration reform as well as efforts to reform our criminal justice system at the local, state and national levels.
I chose to live this mission because I believe that no one should be kept from contributing to the communities and countries they call home. Everyone should be afforded the opportunity to give back, to create, thrive, and start anew. Without opportunity, this foundation of our country begins to crack and this is a land of opportunity worth fighting for.
WHAT IMPACT ARE YOU MAKING?
In Colorado, we’ve worked to make sure the voices of the business and tech community are heard in harmony with directly impacted immigrants in our community. We’ve done this through the formation of an Innovation Council and traditional business coalitions that convene to discuss policy and advocacy steps forward. We’ve also helped generate critical resources for directly-impacted communities, such as InformedImmigrant.com, an accessible, one-stop-shop resource hub that empowers Americans, regardless of their citizenship status, to know their rights, protect their loved ones and prepare their families in case of separation. Our supporters have worked tirelessly to encourage reform among our members of Congress and the fruits of our labor show that 87% of Americans support a legislative solution for Dreamers. With that, our own members of Congress, on both sides of the aisle, have co-sponsored multiple pieces of Dreamer legislation in the past year.
WHAT (OR WHO) INSPIRES YOU TO MAKE THIS IMPACT?
Immigrants are among the most entrepreneurial of our society. They uproot themselves to come to this country, and design an entirely new life in which they pursue their dreams and help make our communities better. Tech is a community of dreamers and doers, entrepreneurs and engineers so the partnership FWD fuses is only natural. We imagine new possibilities, and then make them real. At our best, we aspire to make the world a better place for millions of people.
WHAT’S YOUR BIG DREAM FOR THE ORGANIZATION AND THE IMPACT YOU WANT TO MAKE?
Our goal is to make the American Dream achievable for everyone. I hope that our community members, volunteers, business leaders, startup entrepreneurs, and the many other supporters we have get to see the day that our immigration policies reflect the needs of economy and our workforce to create a more thriving United States.
WHAT RESOURCES DO YOU NEED TO MAKE THOSE DREAMS COME TRUE?
Through our work, we’ve found that the overwhelming majority of Americans, including nearly 80% of Republicans, support Dreamers and want them to stay in the country. We’ve created a ton of resources to help everyday Americans become more engaged with the legislative process, such as dreamers.fwd.us, which helps Americans more easily call their members of Congress to voice their opinions on certain issues. Another great resource is InformedImmigrant.com, which provides new and returning users with the knowledge, tools, and resources they need to feel prepared in the current political environment.
WHAT IS (OR HAS BEEN) YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE?
For many, the American Dream seems to be falling out of reach. We are in a critical time in regards to navigating tough choices that hold inevitable effects on the future of this country. Despite the fact that people are more energized than ever across the political spectrum, we are still dealing with advocacy fatigue, a rapidly changing news cycle, and many other issues that plague our nation and are no less urgent. Additionally, despite a party majority across an administration and both chambers of Congress there is little unity in crafting a legislative agenda that actually works for America.
WHAT WORDS OF ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER LEADERS LOOKING TO MAKE AN IMPACT?
Stick to your values. Seize opportunities. Work with allies. Pick the fight where you can make the biggest impact.
HOW CAN OTHERS SUPPORT YOU OR YOUR CAUSE?
There’s a variety of ways people can get engaged with FWD.us. They can join our mailing list through our website or email regional staff directly at Kaytia@fwd.us in order to get involved with volunteer opportunities and trainings. We also have two coalitions; one for conventional business and another for tech and startup groups that want to serve as advocates for the immigrant communities.
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