Last Friday, CAA celebrated parent leaders from the Immigrant Parent Voting Collaborative on their amazing work to educate and engage immigrant families in San Francisco. The half day celebration also brought together friends, family, supporters for congratulations, appreciation and discussion in anticipation of the coming November elections. Elected offices of David Chiu and Scott Weiner presented certificates of recognition to parents leaders to acknowledge their achievements. Afterward, parents joined in shared dialogue over their motivations to tackle another round of education and outreach during the upcoming election season.

Parent leaders from across the IPVC shared how they believed their shared unity and power would spark even more civic participation that last year. Non citizen suffrage has been a vital victory for our communities. This was  evident from CAA’s success last year at launching a community education campaign. The ability for SFUSD immigrant parent’s ability to vote in school board elections cannot be taken for granted. Through fostering civic power, these opportunities activates future possibility for equitable political participation. For example, immigrants comprise a significant number of SFUSD parents and their voice can have a drastic impact on school board elections and beyond. 

However, distrust in the federal government remain a barrier for many could be immigrant voters. For the past 2 years, CAA has trained a team of parent leaders, otherwise known as outreach specialists, to conduct peer to peer community outreach and education to expand awareness of their new voting rights. CAA’s Outreach Specialists facilitate workshops and perform outreach so that the LEP Monolingual Chinese speaking community understand the rights and risks associated with their new voting rights. 

Beyond just educating immigrant parents of their voting rights, CAA outreach specialists encouraged their peers to become active participants in their children’s education. During a sharing circle activity, CAA Outreach Specialist Ivy shared how they’ve seen a visible uptick in school participation from her peers as a result of their personal outreach. Through partnerships with community based organizations, schools and city departments, IPVC parent leaders were able to reach more than 60,000 immigrant parents with crucial information on their new right to vote as well as the risks involved.