For more than 20 years, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) has been a champion for immigrant rights in the Los Angeles region. This diverse coalition of ethnic and religious organizations and individuals develops grassroots leaders, educates voters and organizes its members to protect the rights of immigrants and to defeat anti-immigrant policies.
In advance of the 2010 elections, CHIRLA registered 8,000 new immigrant voters and conducted a voter outreach campaign that brought more than 10,000 new voters to the polls. CHIRLA is Los Angeles County’s only nonprofit partner in the registration of new citizens at naturalization ceremonies and has registered more than 72,000 voters since this program started in 2004.
Today, CHIRLA is supporting a network of immigrant students across the state as they seek to educate the public about the challenges facing undocumented youth and their need for improved access to higher education and financial aid. In addition, CHIRLA leads a California coalition in support of comprehensive federal immigration reform; participants include 85 labor, faith and immigration advocacy organizations.
CHIRLA’s executive director, Angelica Salas, recently received the “Woman of the Year” award from the California State Assembly in recognition of her 20 years of outstanding leadership of the organization.
“The fight for justice takes people of courage and vision for an America in which immigrants are treated with dignity and respect,” Salas said. “Together, we can win and CHIRLA will keep fighting until reform is a reality.”
“CHIRLA is a bridge that connects local, state and national efforts to protect immigrant rights,” said Cathy Cha, senior program officer for immigrant rights and integration with the Haas, Jr. Fund. “The organization brings an important grassroots voice to the cause.”