By Markita Blanchard, Detroit Public School Janitor
I live in the same family-owned household I grew up in, for the past 57 years now, with my mother Orgaeretta and three brothers, Carlton (a former United Auto Workers representative), Yaameen, and Edward. As my brothers and I continue to look after our 94-year-old mother on the westside of Detroit, our neighborhood is nothing like it was when we were growing up. It's empty now, deserted, hardly any stores.
In my community and beyond, I dedicate time to encouraging people to vote. For months before the last presidential election, I knocked on hundreds of doors and stressed to people of all ages and from all backgrounds that we've got to take this right seriously.
This past December, I went to Washington, DC with other SEIU Local 1 union members, many of them immigrants, to urge our elected officials to pass the Build Back Better plan and include immigrant protections to keep families together.
I connected with many of my sisters and brothers in the union who moved to America in search of a better life and came to realize what their plight is. They need a fair share. Immigrants who come over here deserve the same things I deserve.
I’ve been struggling with civil rights all of my life — and then to connect with people who are less fortunate than myself who are actually trying to get a better life for themselves and their children … it has made me stop and think.
Let’s talk real talk. From where I’m from, we like to keep it real, and one thing I’ve come to realize is that as a society we’ve been brainwashed to believe immigrants are "taking" from us. But now I know it’s another big lie to divide us and keep us from coming together to demand dignity and respect.
My neighbors and co-workers aren't taking from us. They're crucial to America’s economic recovery and giving back to their communities by doing the essential work needed to keep our country running. They work hard and want the same things we want: the freedom to live, love, and provide for their families.
That’s why we need to urge our elected leaders to take action and provide immigration protections with a path to citizenship. Call 1-888-204-8353.