Thursday, April 21, 2016

Statement Against Racist Backlash on the UIUC campus

As an organization dedicated to creating a community that is more inclusive and immigrant friendly, the CU Immigration Forum would like to take this opportunity to condemn the provocative chalk writings that have been appearing around the campus recently, and their blatantly anti-feminist, Muslim, Black, and Latin@ sentiments, as well as the racist Facebook group which also surfaced around the same time.

As its name suggests, the CU Immigration Forum was created with a belief that dialogue is key to fostering communication and building ties within the community. Only through sharing our stories and creating a positive atmosphere for interaction do we create the potential for understanding one another, and so a belief in the power of speech and an open exchange of thoughts and ideas is a foundational aspect of our organization.

These writings however, pervert this process and use speech as a weapon. Their intent is to assault, and violence does not build, it only destroys, so it is the violent intent of the words that were chosen and the placement of those messages that we wish to condemn in the strongest possible terms.

We at the CU Immigration Forum believe that our community is at its best when we stand, work, and dream together, and we therefore join with the many other campus and community organizations who categorically reject these crude attempts at exclusion and intimidation.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Move For The Movement! Fundraiser To Support IF


Dine & Dance to Support the CU Immigration Forum

[ February 27, 2016] The CU Immigration Forum (IF) invites you to come out and dance or learn how in support of their work in the community on Saturday, February 27th at the University YMCA. Attendees will enjoy an afternoon of Salsa, Bachata, and Cumbia dance instruction led by local professional Latin dance instructors, Shawn Mendez and Uli Ayala. Catered lunch will be served. 100% of the proceeds support IF’s initiative of promoting permanent and positive changes that will improve the quality of life for immigrants in our community.

The CU Immigration Forum is a community non-profit organization of immigrants, clergy, service providers, labor and business representatives, students, residents and community groups concerned about the progress of immigrants in Champaign County. Your generous contributions will directly support our grassroots organization that serves local immigrant communities and advocates for just and humane treatment of all immigrants.

Tickets are on sale now for $45 or $30 for students by online reservation or in person at the University YMCA, 1001 S. Wright Street in Champaign, IL. Please make checks payable to “CU Immigration Forum.”
To purchase a ticket online, please click this link to view the reservation form:

Can’t make it to the event, but would like to support? You may donate to the CU Immigration Forum, by following this link to IF’s secure online donation form: The CU Immigration Forum is a registered 501(c)3 organization. Your gift is tax deductible to the extent allowed by the law.

Where: The event will take place at the University YMCA in the K Rooms (downstairs), located at 1001 S. Wright Street, Champaign, Illinois on the University of Illinois campus.

Program: The Move for the Movement fundraiser for the CU Immigration Forum will begin with catered lunch at 1:00pm followed by Salsa dance instruction from 2:00pm to 3:00pm, and closing with Bachata and Cumbia dance instruction from 3:30pm to 5:00pm.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Apoyando Sabino, Supporting Sabino

Please consider helping, Sabino Vazquez, a wonderful wonderful member of our CU community during his battle with cancer. Por favor considere ayudar, Sabino Vazquez, un miembro mavavilloso de nuestra comunidad durante su batalla con cáncer.

Sabino Vazquez, 40 years old, the husband of Maura and father of 5 children was diagnosed with colon cancer 3 years ago. Sabino was born in Atoyac Guerrero, Mexico and came to the United States over 16 years ago. He travelled alongside his wife Maura and their 3 children. The couple had 2 more children in Champaign and their youngest is 8 years old. 

Sabino has been receiving medical treatment, but unfortunately the cancer has spread to his lungs. The health services at Carle are covered under the Community Care Program, but his medicine is not. The Vazquez family spends over $1,000 a month on his medicine and other needs that are not covered by Carle. The family holds onto hope as they search for cancer treatments that can cure Sabino's health. 

If you personally know Sabino, you understand and love his cheerful energy, optimism, and friendliness toward everyone. He strives to provide the best for his family. The cancer has certainly been a great test for Sabino and his family, but they continue to fight every day. 

We are asking our community, friends, and family to help and provide support to Sabino's family during this hardship. All of the proceeds will immediately pay for Sabino's medicine and cancer treatments. His treatments require daily expenses that are not covered. Your support for Sabino will relieve pain and help maintain the faith of his family while they still search for treatments that can save him. We are so grateful for your support and love for Sabino and his family. Thank you. 

Sabino Vázquez, hombre Mexicano de 40 años de edad, casado con Maura y padre de cinco hijos fue diagnosticado con cáncer de colon hace 3 años. Sabino es originario de Atoyac Guerrero y emigro a los Estados Unidos hace 16 años con su esposa y tres de sus hijos. Ya en Estados Unidos ellos tuvieron dos hijos mas, el mas pequeño tiene 8 años de edad. 

Desde que recibió el primer diagnostico de cáncer hace 3 años, Sabino ha estado recibiendo tratamiento medico pero desafortunadamente el cáncer se ha expandido a sus pulmones. Los servicios médicos que Sabino esta recibiendo ahora en Carle están cubiertos por el plan comunitario del hospital pero la familia de Sabino debe pagar todos los medicamentos. La familia esta gastando cerca de $1,000 mensuales entre gastos de medicamento y buscando otros métodos alternativos que les ayuden a mantener la esperanza de una curación.

Quienes lo conocen saben que Sabino es un hombre muy alegre, optimista y muy amigable aparte de ser un hombre muy trabajador quien siempre esta luchando por darle lo mejor a su familia. Esta enfermedad sin duda ha sido una gran prueba para Sabino y su familia pero el sigue luchando cada día contra ella. 

La familia de Sabino esta pidiendo ayuda y apoyo a nuestra comunidad, amigos y familiares. Todas las donaciones irán directamente para ayudar a Sabino con su tratamiento. Sabino esta sufriendo de dolores muy fuertes y la medicina para controlarle el dolor es muy necesaria. Su apoyo aliviara el dolor de Sabino y ayudara a mantener la fe de su familia mientras siguen buscando algún método o tratamiento que pueda salvarlo. Les agradecemos infinitamente su apoyo y amor hacia Sabino y su familia.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

#GivingTuesday #ILGIVE National Day of Giving

Join the celebration of generosity by participating in ‪#‎GivingTuesday‬‪#‎ILGIVE‬ and donate to CU Immigration Forum! Today community leaders, nonprofits, businesses, donors, families, and foundations around the world give back on the national day of giving Tuesday, December 1st. Thank you all for your continued support. We are so excited to announce our 501c3 community nonprofit status last month and grow with our community! Please click on our "support" page if you wish to donate:

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Clothing / $ Drive for Students in CU -- from Guatemala

The CU Immigration Forum is hosting a clothing drive for students from Guatemala who are in Champaign-Urbana alone. In 2014, over 68,000 children from Central America crossed the US Mexico border alone. Several of these children are here in our community. The students in Urbana left Guatemala to escape poverty, violence, and crime. They live independently and support themselves and have to pay for expensive legal representation to support their asylum cases. We hope to provide warm clothes for the upcoming winter months. 

We are collecting winter coats, winter boots, hats, gloves, scarves, and sweaters. Sizes ranging from small and medium adult shirts, medium jackets, 28-30 pants, and 7-8 shoes. Also one younger child who is size 12 pants, medium children's jacket & shirts, and size 5 shoes. 

You can drop off clothes at 1001 S. Wright St. in Champaign, IL from 9am-8pm Nov. 7th - Nov. 14th. If you wish to donate money please click on our "support" tab on our website. Thank you so much for your support! 

Friday, November 6, 2015

There's some changes happening around here!

Dear Friends,

It is our community members who encourage the CU Immigration Forum to reach out and connect in new and meaningful ways. We invite you to grow with the Champaign-Urbana Immigration Forum as we have officially become a 501c3 community non-profit.

Please join us for our new CU Immigration Forum meeting format starting this December 2015! (Our November 10th meeting will be cancelled as we are hosting the Immigrant-Friendly Fair & Forum at the Unitarian Universalist Church that evening. We'd love to chat with you there! Also, mark your calendars for The Forum: More Than One Story to take place on Tuesday, December 8, 2015 at 5pm at the University YMCA, 1001 S. Wright Street, Champaign.)

The CU Immigration Forum was created in order to bring together people who were interested in and working on issues related to immigration. We wanted to share information and resources in the hopes that this would not only increase our individual effectiveness, allowing us to better serve our chosen communities, but also create a space for a mutually beneficial and productive cross-fertilization of ideas to take place.

Over time, however, as we have transitioned from being primarily a communications hub to an active hands-on organization, our meetings have become increasingly exclusive, requiring those in attendance to posses prior knowledge of the topics being discussed or risk being sidelined with no easy point of entry into the conversation.

We are committed to changing this.

We are restructuring our monthly meetings in a way that allows us the space to encourage discussion and dialogue as it fits to our mission, while promoting opportunities for interested members to join a working group and help tackle specific problems and areas that concern them.

To this end, our monthly meetings have now become monthly forums, as we will host facilitated group discussions, and occasional presentations by guest speakers on important topics related to our shared work. In so doing, we work to better our understanding of each other and to lift up and engage each other in our mission to serve and advocate for the progress of immigrant lives.

The discussion of most of the day-to-day operational details will take place in the individual working groups themselves, and from those to the monthly steering meeting for final coordination and allocation of resources. At the beginning of each monthly forum, we will share a brief overview of what is being done by each of these groups so that everyone remains informed.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Our Statement on the Dehumanizing Daily Illini Cartoon

Recently, on Tuesday, October 27th the Daily Illini (DI) published a cartoon that portrays a white man dressed as stated “an illegal immigrant” for Halloween. We, the CU Immigration Forum, are disappointed by the publication, but more so the limited knowledge and understanding that surrounds immigration reform and the term “illegal” to describe human beings.

Our nation is built on the foundation of immigrants and should celebrate the diversity and cultures that immigrants offer. However, this cartoon is ignorant to the risks involved and what people leave behind who immigrate to the United States. The cartoon also dehumanizes the reasons why people cross the U.S. Mexico border in the first place. Our DREAMers who already experience daily forms of institutionalized racism on this campus are affected by the image because of the sacrifices they themselves, families, and friends have made to live in this country.

Several children in CU were forced to migrate here on their own to escape cruel poverty or gang violence. There are thousands of children throughout the United States in this situation. We consider their journey dangerous and brave—not a joke. The cartoon attempts to silence the deaths of over 6,000 men, women, and children along the border since 2000. Every person deserves the right to have access to food, water, shelter, live without violence, and happiness. When these fundamental rights are denied the human spirit will fight.

In this moment, CU Immigration Forum stands in solidarity with our DREAMers at UIUC, and the immigrant and Latino/a communities of Champaign-Urbana. We want to shed light on the strength of our DREAMers and immigrants who continue to strive in the face of these “accidental” or “well-intentioned” acts of violence, from the symbolic to the visceral (or “physical or “deadly”), on a daily basis.

This cartoon is unacceptable, but let it be a reminder to raise your voice against injustice, advocate for transparency and inclusion, and appreciate the diversity of our classroom, workplace, and home. We will continue to organize for the progress of immigrants because no human being is “illegal,” and everyone should be treated with compassion and dignity, whatever their status.

In Solidarity,
CU Immigration Forum