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OneAmerica leaders are working hard to create a thriving home for immigrants and refugees in the Pacific Northwest! The organization, which was founded in 2001 by Pramila Jayapal, increased training and celebrated a successful legislative season by marching on May 1 with labor groups and all those who, like OneAmerica, know “working people are the backbone of Washington state.”

OneAmerica was featured in the Seattle Times for marching with health, home care and domestic workers and people from “every walk of life who know that working people are the backbone of Washington state.”

The march capped a successful legislative season. The group is celebrating the passage of HB 1228, which writes dual-language education into statute. This victory is the result of seven years of grassroots advocacy for multilingualism and multiculturalism in schools, to create a more inclusive learning environment for students whose heritage language is not English. This helps safeguard future funding for this critical learning model.

In another victory, Washington’s 2024 supplemental budget includes an additional $25 million in funding for the state’s Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance. OneAmerica and other organizations came together in a coalition to advocate for the funding after an emergency housing crisis this winter for refugees and asylum seekers in South Seattle and South King County.

OneAmerica also celebrates the passage of HB1889, which offers eligibility for several professional and commercial licenses to qualified workers regardless of immigration status, such as nursing and firefighters.

These victories came after more than a hundred OneAmerica members traveled to Olympia for a lobby day to meet with lawmakers, and 227 people sent 647 letters to their lawmakers to advocate for our policies and budget items.

The group is also expanding its training program, hosting its first daylong training for leaders focusing on dominant narrative, and launching a new Training Academy. The six-month program, which starts on May 15, aims to develop a cohort of organizers to build a base of immigrant leaders in King County, Yakima County, and potentially other geographies in Washington by combining basic community organizing skills development with practical field experience.

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