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N2N Spotlight: EmPower

Local nonprofit supports immigrant communities to protect their rights and traditions


September 05, 2017

By Elaine Chu, Seattle Foundation Philanthropic Advisor

Imagine you are having dinner at home when there’s a knock on the door, and suddenly strangers are taking you away from your family. You don’t know your rights or who to contact and you struggle with the language and a complex legal system. Emotions run high and misinformation compounds your distress. These are the fears and realities that have increased as families are being targeted, detained and even deported as a result of anti-immigrant executive orders and other related policies.

Helping immigrant communities facing these challenges is the focus of EmPower, one of the six recipients of our most recent Neighbor to Neighbor (N2N) grant cycle. EmPower works to support, empower and unite immigrant communities to defend and protect their rights, liberties and traditions. Its mission is to decrease the number of immigrants who are unjustly targeted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement by building a coalition of partners advocating for families in the immigration system and by providing a low-cost alternative for legal representation to them.

The N2N grant will fund EmPower’s efforts to build a coalition for their work in Kent and South King County, as well as connect with broader efforts across King County. Working with partners, they will educate members on the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) program and expand the number of volunteers who can become partial or fully-accredited BIA representatives. These representatives provide immigrants with access to competent legal services, increasing their likelihood of withstanding deportation and reducing the danger of becoming victim to predatory legal services. Representatives are affiliated with community-based nonprofit organizations, which also refer and connect families to necessary services.

For more information on EmPower, please contact Patricia Gonzalez at jgd.patricia@gmail.com.

The Neighbor to Neighbor grantmaking program is a key pillar of Seattle Foundation's Center for Community Partnerships. N2N supports grassroots efforts that increase engagement, power and influence of community members affected by poverty and racial disparities in South Seattle, White Center and Kent.

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