Carlson Leadership & Public Service Center

Puentes’ Community Mobilization Fellow – Ending Migrant Detention (2016)

Context

Puentes-Seattle is a Latin@­founded and led organization serving undocumented migrants and their families in Washington State through direct services, community organizing and grassroots advocacy. It mobilizes mental health resources and promotes therapeutic spaces that are culturally and structurally relevant through psychosocial assessments, horticultural therapy, and accompaniment to migrants in detention and their families. It strives to help undocumented migrants and their families cope and flourish despite a broken immigration system, by both supporting community members and building partnerships within the larger movement of immigration reform and social justice.

Puentes has concentrated its mission on undocumented migrants as opposed to “immigrants” because it recognizes illegality as an expression of structural violence. Puentes sees the barriers to well­being of migrant families as deeply intertwined with the dehumanizing conditions of illegality. Therefore its programs are geared toward the recovery of “social agency” and “political consciousness” to promote the well­being of all members of its community. At the core of this strategy is making space for the perspective of migrants and placing it at the forefront of Puentes’ programs. Thus, its services incorporate core elements of the Latino tradition, such as ethics of liberation and resistance; solidarity; a priority to serve those who are most disenfranchised; finding wisdom in the community; and making sure that its projects resonate with those who matter the most: undocumented migrants and their families.

 

Fellowship Position

Puentes focuses deeply on the urgent needs to end to migrant detention, advancing change through legal and political advocacy as part of a broad ecosystem of immigration justice (Puentes is part of the Detention Watch Network and collaborates heavily with local grassroots movements). Puentes recognizes that a key element in effecting change is mobilizing faith communities towards awareness (specifically the national Evangelical Church, as a large percentage of decision-makers in Congress are evangelical).* The Fellow will support Puentes’ grassroots effort to mobilize religious communities towards local and national immigration reform and ending migrant detention by building personal relationships, and developing and implementing strategic advocacy campaigns.

The Fellow will:

  • Work with Puentes’ Executive Director to learn, carry out and expand current campaign strategies;
  • Build and facilitate partnerships with key stakeholders and other organizations campaigning for immigration reform (via conference calls, meetings and events, and supporting ongoing communication);
  • Collect and translate testimonies from detention and prepare them for religious leaders to share with community members – and research and produce educational content that tells stories from detention and sheds light on human rights issues that help community members better understand detention-related injustices (through OpEds, blog posts, info-graphics, etc.). This work may require visiting individuals detained at the NW Detention center.
  • Learn about nonprofit management, community-based initiatives and social entrepreneurship by participating in staff meetings and working at the Impact Hub, which houses other “social good startups.”

 

As a new, developing organization Puentes’ office culture is collaborative, creative, fluid, flexible and generally non­traditional; it is important that the Fellow feel comfortable working in this kind of environment. As such, the ideal candidate will:

  • Be an active listener; recognize that learning that can come through listening, especially to those who are detained;
  • Possess emotional intelligence, curiosity, a servant heart (no task is beneath them – a good team player!), and above all, a spirit for self-reflection and a desire to grow;
  • Have strong communication and networking skills;
  • Be good with computers and have the ability to quickly learn new technologies;
  • Preferably speak Spanish – basic skills are ok.
  • *NOTE: Religious affiliation is not a requirement for this position.