The Evolution of Immigrant Rights: From Political Empowerment to Progressive Change

The Evolution of Immigrant Rights: From Political Empowerment to Progressive Change

Session Type(s): Panel

Starts: Saturday, Jul. 18 6:00 PM (Eastern)

Ends: Saturday, Jul. 18 7:15 PM (Eastern)

President Obama’s executive order on deportations was a major victory for progressive leaning forces in the immigrant rights community. This panel will analyze how grassroots organizing and elevating the voices of undocumented immigrants got us from comprehensive immigration reform inaction to a victory in 2015. We’ll also discuss how we can unleash that potential for progressive change for humane immigration reform, the 2016 elections and beyond.


Alfredo Gutierrez


Alfredo is a long-standing political force in Arizona; elected to the Arizona Senate in 1972 and its Majority Leader in 1973. He served as leader through the remainder of his tenure. He founded Jamieson & Gutierrez, the state’s leading public relations and policy firm. In 2001 he was an unsuccessful candidate for Governor. Subsequently he founded the Internet newspaper – La Frontera Times focused on immigration. Alfredo hosted Arizona’s most listened to talk radio program in English or Spanish: “Escucha y Ponte Trucha con Alfredo Gutierrez” heard daily.

Alfredo received the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Fellowship in its inaugural year. He was Arizona Chairman of the first Jimmy Carter Presidential Campaign, and recipient of a Fulbright teaching fellowship at Colegio de Mexico. Alfredo received a Doctoral Degree, Honoris Causa, from Arizona State University. He has completed his first book, “To Sin Against Hope”. Verso Books is the publisher.

Other sessions: The People vs. Arpaio, How Progressive Arizona Became Tea Party Arizona


Erika Andiola


Erika Andiola is a former Congressional Staffer for Arizona Congresswoman, Kyrsten Sinema and co-founder of the DRM Action Coalition. Erika started her community organizing experience when she co-founded the Arizona Dream Act Coalition. She then served in the National Coordinating Committee and the Board of Directors for the United We Dream Network. Her personal struggle as an undocumented woman herself, with an undocumented family, has given her the drive and the passion to keep fighting for immigrant rights.

Other sessions: Undocumented in Arizona: Immigrant Leaders Share their Stories, Turning Young Activism into Policy

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Arturo Carmona


Arturo Carmona is the Executive Director of is the largest national Latino online engagement organization in the US, focused on amplifying the political voice of Latino communities.

For well over a decade, Arturo has used his leadership and experience to bring people together on important challenges impacting communities from across the nation. Arturo has served as a political analyst, community spokesperson, and community organizer with an established expertise is in the evolving political, cultural, and demographic trends of the US. He is recognized as a change-agent.

His management and leadership skills have made him a national spokesperson on behalf of the Latino community and working families. He has appeared in many news stories, interviews, and political discussions through outlets such as MSNBC, ABC, CNN, Time Magazine, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Univision, Telemundo, USA Today, NPR, La Opinion, and many others.

Other sessions: Progressives' Role in the 2016 Primary Debate, A Movement Not a Moment: Fighting Fast Track in Arizona (sponsored panel)

Marisa Franco

Marisa Franco

Marisa Franco is the #Not1More campaign director. With family hailing from the mining towns of Sonora, Mexico, Franco was born in Guadalupe, Arizona. Marisa organized with low and no-wage Black and Latina/o workers with POWER in San Francisco where she co-wrote the book Towards Land, Work and Power. In New York, she was part of the trailblazing campaign to win the first Domestic Worker Bill of Rights and was a founding member of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. Franco returned to AZ in the wake of SB1070, and subsequently joined the staff of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network where she helped lead national campaigns to stop deportations and turn the tide on the criminalization of migrants. She’s a regular contributor to MSNBC, Fox News Latino and other outlets and is the co-author of How we Make Change is Changing: Open Source Campaigns for the 21st Century.

Other sessions: Building Black-Brown Coalitions

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Tefere Gebre


Tefere Gebre is the Executive Vice President of the AFL-CIO, the national federation of labor unions representing 12.5 million workers. Tefere was the first former political refugee and the first local labor council leader elected to this national office. As a child refugee from Ethiopia Tefere found his way to Sudan and then to Los Angeles, California where he studied and earned a college scholarship. His first union job was a UPS night shift loader with Teamsters Local 396. Later Tefere led political and government relations for the Laborers Local 270 and the California Fed. He then helped redefine and dramatically grow the labor movement as Executive Director of the Orange County Labor Federation by doubling its political capacity and growing key community partnerships. Now EVP Gebre leads efforts to improve local labor political and organizing capacity, as well as to advance voting rights, racial justice and immigrant workers’ rights.

Other sessions: The Great Equalizer: Advancing the Cause of Civil Rights through Organizing, Keynote: A 2015 Progress Report

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