OPINION: Community must organize, advocate to see progressive results from Biden administration

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A crowd of people in a room hold American flags in the air. President Joe Biden’s immigration proposal may allow new citizens to wave their own flags in some years. (Elias Castillo | Unsplash)
By Julio Rodriguez

With the election of President Joe Biden came a unified sigh of relief: President Donald Trump was gone.

I was working my shift at a local windows company the morning it happened, alongside people from all walks of life. My coworkers lived in Perris, Temecula, Lake Elsinore, Hemet and all over the surrounding area.

They were single mothers whose children were home alone while they were at work and men who were the sole breadwinners of their homes.

Hope shone in their eyes when the news reports confirming Biden’s win began rolling in. One of my coworkers high-fived me and, with a look of relief, said, “we won.”

The election alone felt like a real victory. But the real work has only just begun. 

For many around our country, specifically the most vulnerable communities of color and lower-income communities, not very much has changed. Increased and continued community organizing is still as essential as it was under Trump. 

There has been so much hope and optimism. But the issues continue. 

Police officers continue to murder innocent people and are allowed to walk away without any repercussions. Immigrant children are entering this country in large numbers and being housed away from family and loved ones in immigration detention centers.

While there is plenty to celebrate in Biden’s election and Trump’s defeat, the electoral victory can prove to be for nothing if we do not keep up momentum in political organization and community advocacy. 

Biden campaigned on many promises and, granted, has started to deliver to a certain extent. 

He signed into law a COVID-19 relief bill March 11 that is already sending $1,400 stimulus checks to most of the country’s adults and children. 

Vice President Kamala Harris swore into her post the first Native American cabinet member in United States history, Deb Haaland, as Secretary of the Interior on March 18. Just a few hours later, the House of Representatives passed an immigration bill with a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers and undocumented farmworkers. 

But the recently passed immigration bill and future proposals aiming to tackle police reform and gun policy will not become law without the continued focus and engagement from all of us. There are many wonderful organizations locally and nationwide doing amazing work to advance this kind of legislation. Still, this effort will require all hands on deck and help from all of us. We must support organizations doing good work and educate ourselves and those closest to us.

That is why organizing in the political sense is crucial. 

It is crucial for the aspirations and needs of marginalized communities. The fight against a murderous criminal justice system that brutalizes and destroys communities of color must continue, as must the fight for fair taxation, better schools and equitable funding in this country.

We must organize and push for policies in the best interest of ourselves and those we love. This is our moment. This is our call to get passionate. Both left and right-wing millionaire senators have proven for years that they do not listen to their constituents. They must be forced to do their jobs in support of the people they represent.

These feats can be accomplished because history shows that political movements have created positive change in this country. This will happen when we talk to family members, get friends excited, attend town halls with local politicians and get involved in local civic groups. Do something.

If you care about positive change happening in your own life and in the lives of those you love, it is going to require that you stay engaged and active. 

Ensuring that this presidency enacts good social justice policies will require resolve. 

Achieving legal status for all of our undocumented family members and friends and ensuring the immigration bill passed by the House becomes law will require a relentless push.

The fight for police reform through a lens that recognizes law enforcement’s history of violent racism is backed by a simple reason: Black and brown lives matter.

Enough is enough of the blame game the Democratic Party plays. It has control of the House, Senate and presidency. Democrats must make things happen now. 

This country is due for a revolution. 

This revolution will be born out of love for our people and communities, not hatred of others.

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