Catherine Kennedy • Javier Hernandez • Angelica Salas • Esmeralda Flores
Saturday, 12 October 2019, 1 p.m.
This panel will feature a nurse activist who provided healthcare to asylum seekers in transitional housing at the border after their release from ICE, an ACLU San Diego & Imperial Counties representative discussing the fight to end family separation and detention and border policy updates, and an immigrant rights leaders at CHIRLA and Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice who are building power in the immigrant community through organizing and legal advocacy. They will discuss their firsthand experience as well as the deep political and economic inequities that are being perpetuated at the U.S/Mexico border. They will also discuss multi-organizational alliances that that have come together to respond and provide critical support for asylum seekers in response to the humanitarian and human rights crisis being created by ICE and the current Administration with a focus on unity among workers and organizers as counters to the attempt to divide us against our interests.
Catherine Kennedy, RN, is a working bedside nurse at Kaiser Roseville, Vice President of National Nurses United (NNU), Secretary of California Nurses Association (CNA), and Team Lead for the RN Response Network (RNRN). Cathy deployed as RNRN/NNU Team Lead to an Arizona border shelter twice in 2019 and in October, 2017 to Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria seeing firsthand how the US government created and exacerbated crisis. Cathy was part of a delegation that confronted FEMA on Maria response and testified in front of a congressional committee to expose the unnecessary suffering of Puerto Ricans post Maria. Cathy has been a union RN for 39 years and a bedside nurse for 39 years. During that time she has organized and led shop floor actions, been on strike multiple times and represented NNU nurses at Global Nurses United conventions. Through her union activism she fights for worker, social, racial and economic justice – always bringing the caring and compassion of nursing.
Javier Hernandez is an immigrant and queer leader fighting for immigrant rights in the Inland Empire (IE). Javier believes that justice for immigrant communities includes addressing all the intersections that are crucial to the undocumented identity such as health, poverty, criminalization, and other disparities that keep the undocumented marginalized. He has advocated and taken direct action against anti-immigrant policies and deportations throughout the country and has co-founded several grassroots groups. Since 2015, Javier has been the Director of the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice (IC4IJ), a coalition of over 50 organizations, unions, legal service providers, and congregations, that convene to collectively advocate for immigrant justice in the Inland Empire.
Angelica Salas is Executive Director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA) and is widely regarded as one of the most gifted activist/organizers in the country today. Since becoming CHIRLA’s executive director in 1999, Angelica Salas has spearheaded several ambitious campaigns locally, statewide, and nationally that have led to wins in California such as: in-state tuition for undocumented students; establishment of day laborer job centers; and driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants. Nationally, Angelica and CHIRLA have been integral in the success of the Dream and Promise Act of 2019, a bill to protect Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure holders. Angelica Salas is Board President of Californians for Human Immigrant Rights Leadership Action Fund (CHIRLA Action Fund), a 501(c)4 organization, Co-Chair and Executive Committee member of Fair Immigrant Rights Movement (FIRM).
Esmeralda Flores worked for the past four years as a Staff Attorney with the Binational Defense and Advocacy Program (PDIB), housed at the Casa del Migrante, in Tijuana, Mexico. Her focus was on the documentation of human and civil rights violations, and family separation issues due to deportations. In 2013, presented an amicus curiae brief before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Esmeralda is a native of Tijuana and has an acute and multi-faceted understanding of US-Mexico border issues as a result of personal and professional experiences and a complete overview of the needs and injustices that impact migrants at an individual and policy level. The ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties welcomed Esmeralda in 2015 as the lead for extensive outreach in Mexico for the Lopez-Venegas v. Johnson settlement that challenged government policy on voluntary returns. She currently works on multiple immigrant rights issues in San Diego and across the border. Esmeralda is a graduate from Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, School of Law (UABC). In 2014 she completed a post-graduate International Migration program at the prestigious Colegio de la Frontera Norte (COLEF) in Tijuana, Mexico.