OneAmerica’s mission is to advance the fundamental principles of democracy and justice through building power in immigrant communities, in collaboration with key allies. Founded in the wake of the 9/11 attacks in 2001, OneAmerica has since expanded into the largest immigrant advocacy organization in Washington State, organizing in and advocating with a diversity of immigrant communities including Latino, African and Asian.
OneAmerica’s grassroots organizing efforts are the core of our work and essential to connecting real people to effective policy changes that their communities need. OneAmerica uses various models of organizing to reach different communities throughout Washington State. The main focus is to build leadership and establish community base groups throughout the state to lead the struggle for justice and fight for policy changes at the local, state, and federal level. Within these spaces immigrants and refugees gather and share experiences, build new skills and consciousness and use their creative talents to inform, educate and mobilize their communities towards power building.
In response to direct feedback from our members regarding equity and opportunity gaps in the education system, OneAmerica has launched a specific effort organizing parents in South King County, a region where over 160 languages are spoken and diversity is growing significantly. Through a focus on leadership development in two parent cadres in the Latino and Somali community, parents have formed the Somali Parent Education Board and the Empowered Familias Alliance to be a voice for issues facing immigrant and refugee children in the education system. Parents work collectively and across ethnic and racial lines to shift traditional decision making structures in schools so parents are seen as equal partners, present a unified front of parents and immigrant family childcare providers to impact the cultural and linguistic responsiveness of the early learning system, build public awareness around the benefits of bilingualism, end exclusionary discipline practices and the school to prison pipeline, and advocate for the specific needs of undocumented and refugee children and families.