tv [untitled] September 20, 2013 6:30am-7:01am PDT
get this agenda today rest of congress, to the house of cogv. it's a big, big challenge. the president, our senators, our leader pelosi, senator feinstein, they're all engaged. we have to push very hard. and i think our voices are going to be that much stronger if we add an additional 100,000 people on our way to citizenship because that's the full circle. and that's why we need immigration reform. we also need to make sure we bring some path of citizenship to all those that are living in the shadows as we have been a sanctuary city. we need everybody to be full participants, and that's what we're doing today. so, again, i want to thank sandra. i want to thank annie, i want to thank all the community groups that are standing behind us, people that we'll work with to help us be the successful city that we always feel we are, but we want to get more out of our citizens than just living and enjoying life here. we have to participate in the fullest way and this is what's going to make our city even more successful.
thank you very much for participating here today. (applause) >> thank you, mayor lee. we would not get all these things done in san francisco without the leadership and support of the san francisco board of supervisors. and supervisor david chiu is a former criminal prosecutor, civil rights, and immigration attorney, technology, entrepreneur, senate judiciary aid, and democratic council. he's done a lot of things in his life. he's also talented and highly effective leader of the san francisco board of supervisors where he has served as president since 2009. president chiu. (applause) >> thank you, and good morning, everyone. first of all, i want to join the mayor in thanking all the folk behind me who represent the funding community that has so wonderfully stepped up. thank you, dr. sandra hernandez and your colleagues.
i of course want to thank all the amazing nonprofit social service providers and immigrant rights organizations that have been part of the fabric of why i'm so proud of san francisco as a city that welcomes and protects our immigrant communities. and i also want to take a moment and thank all of you. you're taking pictures of us because i think behind us represents the diversity of our city. but we are looking at you. if you actually looked among yourselves, this room effects the diversity of the world. san francisco, we were built by immigrants. the presence of our city is successful because of the vitality of our immigrant community. and we know the future of san francisco rests with the future of our immigration and i am grab community. so, i want to thank you for being part of this. ~ immigrant as adrian mentioned in the late 1990s, the first time i set foot in city hall was when i was working as an immigrant rights attorney. working on the fact as you know our immigrants, our noncitizens have incredible challenges in becoming citizens. not only do they have to wade
through immigration codes that are many inches thick. they orphan have to spend a ton of money to pay attorneys as well as immigration fees. not only does our federal government have enormous backlogs when it comes to immigration applications, but it's a very daunting process and this is why as the mayor said, it is so important that we get immigration reform done. in the mid 1990sst i actually worked for the u.s. senate. the last time they passed a so-called immigration reform bill. ~ that immigration bill was a punitive bill. it essentially sent the message to the world that america was not open to immigrants. we need a different message, and this is the message that we need to get out today from san francisco. fast forward to 2010, i was proud at that time to ask mayor gavin newsom to spend a couple hundred thousand dollars to make sure we counted all members of our san francisco community. and who did we ask to step up to make sure that money was well spent?
it was then our city administrator now mayor ed lee, adrian and folks behind us who made sure we were counting everyone who was a resident regardless of their citizenship. today we're talking about taking that next step. it's such a wonderful moment to be part of i think the celebration of who we are as a city, to be able to say now that we have gotten everyone here, we need to make sure that we get everyone through the immigration process so that they don't have to ever fear that they are not part of our body fabric, our city fabric, who we are as americans. and, so, i'm delighted to be part of this conversation and i'm delighted to represent a board of supervisors that has stood repeatedly for the idea that regardless of your citizenship you deserve a spot in san francisco. i serve on a board where over half of us are the sons and daughters, the grand sons and granddaughters of immigrants. we have immigrants on our board of supervisors and the last thing i'll just mention is regardless of how long your family has been here, at some
point in your lineage, you came to this country, you came to this state, you came to san francisco, and part of what we're seeing today is we all deserve to be here. we deserve to make san francisco and america great. thank you very much. (applause) >> thank you, supervisor. many of you may not know that over 35% of san francisco small businesses are owned by and operated by immigrants today. our next speaker is a real role model for many of us, a ceo of the san francisco foundation, dr. sandra hernandez is an advocate, a physician of philanthropic leader, a role model and definitely a ground breaker ~. she's the former director of san francisco department of public health and nationally renowned expert on health care and nonprofit sustainability. dr. hernandez. (applause) >> well, good morning, everybody. thank you, adrian. i want to appreciate you, mayor
lee, supervisor chiu, and really all of our philanthropic partners that are launching this extraordinary pathway to citizenship in san francisco. the san francisco foundation for over 60 years has held very central to its core mission the notion that we need to engage every citizen, every resident in order to make our democracy better. and all of the philanthropic organizations that are part of this pathway initiative likewise believe that our democracy is better when everybody is included in it. the san francisco foundation is proud to be a leader and investor in this necessary work, bringing together the deep commitment of all of our immigrant communities, their partners, to assure economic mobility, education, health care access, and, of course, that they are civickly engaged. as the mayor and supervisor chiu said, we are a nation ~ and a city of immigrants. we are a testament to america's
spirit of risk and its spirit of innovation. and the heart of every immigrant is a risk taker, a bold and courageous person who has risked everything to make a better life for themselves, but also to make a better life for all of their neighbors and communities in which they live ~. like mayor lee and the supervisor, i'm a proud daughter of american immigrants. they came to this country with odds stacked against them to build a better future for my siblings and my cousins. my father served in the army, but more important to him was that he served at every polling station in every election from the time he was legally able to do so. and at breakfast before every election was a very, very, very engaged, vivid, enlightened conversation about how my mother should vote, even though she didn't always agree with him, and that really it was our
responsibility to comment on the things that mayor lee referenced. what kind of health care should we have? what should be the caliber of our schools? what kind of open space should we have? how should we use land? these are all very critical parts of our democracy and our voice, and i'm very, very proud on behalf of the san francisco foundation to partner with the city, adrian and her staff, our philanthropic partners, but most of all to partner with the nonprofit organizations who on the ground will be working to find ways to reach the hundred thousand folks living in this city today who have not yet found their pathway to citizenship. we believe it's a fundamental part of our city life to do so and the san francisco foundation is extremely proud to have partnered with this group, to bring it together. we look forward to three years of learning and to reaching as many of these folks as we can, to have them become citizens,
and to come to health commission meetings and tell the director of health and all of our other commissioners what it is they would like to see their city be. thank you very much on behalf of the san francisco foundation. (applause) >> thank you, dr. hernandez. a final aspect of the san francisco pathway to citizenship initiative is civic engagement. this component is not just another hurdle potential citizens must pass to complete naturalization exam, but an opportunity to instill lifelong active engagement among our new naturalized citizens and to encourage meaningful participation, to contribute to san francisco's overall success and prosperity. seven local community-based organizations with decades of expertise were selected for the pilot year of this initiative. but the outreach will extend to the many diverse immigrant communities that makeup the san francisco population and family.
together these partners will inform, educate, provide language services, counseling, legal assistance, and many other services to residents who may be eligible for citizenship. our next speaker is a very special person. it's rare to find a leader as universally beloved and valued as annie chung, president and ceo of self-help for the elderly. self-help is the lead agency for the citizenship initiative. annie is a model of compassion and highly effective leadership, efforts for the under served combined with savvy connections and her ability to bridge differences and create models of mutual respect are phenomenal. many of us are fortunate to call her our sister, our friend, and our inspiration. annie chung. (applause) >> good morning, everyone.
i'm annie chung. the san francisco pathway to citizenship initiative is a dream becoming a reality for many of us in the community who have been working closely with both the city through adrian and the office of civic engagement and immigrant affairs, the five foundations and gsa. they are providing the much needed funding for this initiative. there is a national effort called the new americans campaign which is working on naturalization in multiple cities in the country and the seven cbos who makeup the san francisco collaborative are truly grateful. now that san francisco is part of this americans campaign. melissa rogers from the immigrant illegal resource center who heads up that campaign is here today. i want to quickly introduce.
and irlc is providing [speaker not understood] to our collaborative. besides self-help for the elderly, there are six other community based organizations and their representatives whom i'd like to introduce to you now. if i call your name, would you step up and stand beside me? because we're not doing this alone, we're doing everything together. so, from the advancing justice asian caucus executive director hen june ro. from the asian pacific islander legal outreach, executive director dean ito taylor. program director from the catholic charities cyo christopher martinez. amy wang [speaker not understood]. cheryl madrid, jewish services. and [speaker not understood], executive director from la rasa community resource center.
together all the partners have invited over 30 of our clients to join us to celebrate today and they're standing in the mayor's office right now, so happy that they're part of this celebration. i think together we represent the diversity of san francisco and many of the ethnic communities that so desperately need naturalization services, from legal consultation to completion of the 10-page n. 400 forms, to the fee waiver forms to help them get a waiver for the 680 dollars application fee to become citizen. together our collaborative covers all of the major languages spoken by our clients, chinese, spanish, vietnamese, russian, other eastern european languages, burmese, tagalog and others. we urge you to attend upcoming
naturalization workshop on august 10, 2013, to take advantage of the naturalization services which will be offered that day at number 1 south van ness. no appointments needed and free of charge. on behalf of all of our collaborative partners and our clientsv i want to thank mayor lee, president chiu, dr. hernandez, and all of our philanthropic funders. thank you so much for your generous support and your continued support through the san francisco pathway to citizenship will be a great success. we will give you our 200% effort. thank you very much. (applause) >> there is nothing more exciting and challenging as going through the process of naturalization in the united states. we're now going to hear from three individuals who are
sharing their first person stories and have been very courageous and open about sharing these stories with us. first we will hear from claudia rodriguez and then mrs. su fong gau and then mr. gregory takakun. please come up, ms. rodriguez. >> good morning, everybody. i'm gloria rodriguez. [speaker not understood] catholic charities cyo and i am happy to say that now i -- my voice now counts. i can vote. now i can have my rights that were taken away. [speaker not understood]. i just want to thank public charities to help people like me to make it for the people [speaker not understood] for the community. so, thank you very much. (applause)
i had attended june 29th workshop and they provide the free service for me and filled out the application form. now i feel [speaker not understood] to apply for citizenship family. [speaker not understood] and can benefit our community. thank you. (applause) [speaking in native language] >> good afternoon, everyone. my name is gregory taku. i am 78 years old. i came from armenia. i became a citizen in april of this year.
for a few months before my citizenship interview, i took classes with jewish family and children services through the instructor, which is me. [laughter] >> i'm very grateful. thank you, everybody. (applause) >> i'm very proud to be here and i'm happy to have left armenia so that i can take advantage of being an american citizen. (applause) >> something magical happens here in san francisco under
mayor lee's leadership. before he begins the question and answer session, we have a few thank yous that we would like to make to our community and philanthropic partners for helping to make this initiative and this lunch possible. we'd also like to recognize tessa rivero callejo. (applause) >> [speaker not understood] who is a wizard with the pen with the san francisco foundation. richard whipple, the office of immigration and civic engagement affairs. (applause) >> [speaker not understood] rodriguez sack burn of grant makers concerned with immigrants and refugees. (applause) >> and as always, the excellent team from sfgovtv and mayor lee's communications team. thank you very much. the mayor will now take a few questions. (applause) >> i don't have violet's energy.
[laughter] >> >> any questions about our initiative here? >> [speaker not understood] about what this means to you? >> well, in many ways, certainly for my life, having been the son of immigrant parents, i knew that they were very focused on being citizens because they wanted to get fear out of the way when they were adjusting. to me, i think that's been the story of so many of my clients when i was an attorney at the asian law caucus for a number of years that, as i serviced seniors and people living in low-income housing, oftentimes they wouldn't even want to use the legal process because of their fears. they didn't know what would be behind each door. and even speaking to an attorney sometimes was difficult for them, especially when i was trying to educate
residents at [speaker not understood] about what is the warranty of habitability. something that we'll become more and more familiar with. but i think that's why i think going through a citizenship process, gaining the confidence that the individuals who have just spoken and feeling that you're as an american as anybody else offers you the ability to say, hey, i've got an opinion, too. i want wetter schools. i want to do all these other things. i want to be a part of that decision making, not be a recipient or victim of someone else's decision. and that's the key, i think, to this initiative. we always felt that we didn't do enough just by doing the census count. and in this city, i think we want that full participation. we want it so badly that even david chiu and all of us are saying, let's give people a vote who are not necessarily citizens to the education system because we need that -- we need that input.
we don't want parents disengaged in what's going on with their kids. education is so important to everybody and so much a part of the future, but there are a lot of things we want to do, but i think the path to citizenship and what we have outlined here particularly with the funding agencies have so much experience in dealing with refugee and immigrant families, to have the nonprofits on the ground to do this work with us in collaboration i think is going to be -- you'll see in a very short time period, you're going to see a lot more levels of competence happen. and i suggest to you, it isn't just the individuals that will improve their confidence. when they live in their communities, they get to be part of their neighborhood associations. they get to be part of more nert. they get to be part of resident improvement associations. they get to tell us where our planning grants get to go to. what kind of flowers they want planted. they want a tree in front of their house? okay, put it on the side. and then all of this comes
with, i think, full participation and get the fear out of the way, get full engagement in. that's what -- and that's why we created the office of civic engagement, to give everybody the power of being in the city that we welcome them in to participate. >> we don't have immigration reform. >> well, we don't have it today. that's not stopping us. that's why we went ahead and made this announcement because we want to give people across the country, and hopefully some congressional representatives that are not maybe in the state of california, but other states, a vision for what people really want. they want to be participants. they don't want to live in the shadows. and there's many parts of the immigration reform that we have to pay attention to. i happen to believe very strongly, and i think everybody in this room does, we can't lose family unification as part of it. we have to have a path for people who have been here,
maybe on paper not legally, but they're americans like everybody else. it's just on paper they weren't. we've got to get them fully participating, not subject to some immigration judge's decision that because their paperwork of their parents weren't right that they have to be ousted from this country. i think there are so many parts of immigration that must be had and that's why we're advocating. and i am together with literally every elected leader in this city that san francisco is special. we know we're not the only voice in the country. so, we have to talk to other mayors in iowa, in indiana, in alabama and in florida, saying that there's a lot for immigrants to contribute to this country. we also have to have the talent come here as well. a lot of technology companies are reaching out to talent across the world and they need that talent to stay here to build the companies so that more jobs can get created. that's part of the immigration bill along with family, along
with pathways to citizenship for those that are technically not legally here. how do you spend the $1.2 million on this program? >> thank you. that's over a three-year period and half of that money is coming from the foundations that are participating. that's why we wanted to officially thank them. the other half will come from the city general fund through the office of civic engagement and immigrant affairs that adrian has. and she will be working with all the nonprofits to fund them appropriately for the activities that will get people the training, the orientation, the classes, but also the outreach, building their confidence that they should go through the citizenship process. thank you. thank you, everybody. (applause) ...
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