LUCHA: Fight for your rights

Keyra Ramos, Politics Editor, Puma Press

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Living United for a Change or LUCHA is an Arizona Latino-rights organization dedicated to helping the community by advocating for social and economic justice for while teaching in the process.

LUCHA started in December of 2009. According to Aldo Gonzales, a member of LUCHA, one issue the organization addresses is immigration. In a study conducted by Pew Hispanic, from 2000-2011, only 46 percent of Hispanic immigrants that were eligible for citizenship applied. LUCHA helps guide people through the citizenship process. This can be a very intimidating process, Gonzales said, therefore the organization gives potential applicants the tools they need, such as classes.

Another big issue LUCHA deals with in its immigration work is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Many of its clients are deferred action students and, with support, they have been able to gets jobs and college educations. Some are even able to help their families.

As Gonzales says, “Some are even purchasing their first houses, gaining credit and stimulating the economy.”

LUCHA has also been active in supporting protests. For example, on Mar. 31, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed bill HB2541 that will require immigrants to serve longer prison sentences. What LUCHA does in these occasions is get together with other organizations and hold protests to veto these types of bills because they are harmful to the community.

“People don’t just come in and have a transactional experience with LUCHA … we try to engage them in politics and things that affect them and their families,” Gonzales says.

LUCHA, along with its sister organization ACE, provides tools to build leadership in the community. Training focuses on empowerment skills, such as developing a personal narrative, which is a way of telling yourself why you care and advocate for these humans rights and passing that narrative along to someone who might have never heard about it and bringing them into the LUCHA community as an ally.

Gonzales refers to Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. LUCHA has been part of civil disobediences as part of their protest component, just as Parks and King. Planning protests is a skill to be learned.

On March 19, protestors interrupted a Donald Trump rally in Fountain Hills, Ariz., delaying Trump’s arrival along with many of the rally’s attendees. LUCHA helped organize this event days in advance, according to Gonzales.

Another fight for which LUCHA advocates is the Arizona Fight for $15, a national rally to raise the minimum wage and create more opportunities for paid sick leave. LUCHA is starting a minimum wage ballot initiative. In the November elections, this would give voters the opportunity to choose to raise the minimum wage from $8.05 to $10 by next year and to $12 by 2020.

On April 30, LUCHA will be holding a citizenship fair.

Gonzales says, “If you really want to impact Donald Trump, you can say whatever you want about him on social media, but that isn’t going to do anything.

“If you really want to teach him a lesson, then lets help you become a citizen so you can vote and make sure that he is not the next president.”

For more information you can visit LUCHA’s website at luchaaz.org or contact LUCHA by phone at (602) 388-9745.

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LUCHA: Fight for your rights