The Tennessee Immigrant Rights Coalition began in 2001 as a union
of grassroots immigrant leaders, groups and their allies. The
formation of this alliance began in January of that year, after
a bill was introduced into the Tennessee legislature promising
immigrants increased access to driver's licenses. Shortly after
the entry of this bill, groups from around the state began communicating,
and working together to devise a strategy for its passage. In
May of 2001 the bill was signed into law.
Since the 2001 campaign over 20 additional grassroots immigrant
groups have been identified, and incorporated into the Coalition
membership. These groups represent a multitude of different ethnic
groups including: Latinos, Nigerians, Somalians, Iranians, Kurds
and Egyptians. Many of the new groups have received substantial
support from the Coalition since 2001. This assistance has been
primarily in the areas of: community organizing, advocacy, media
strategy and organizational development/fundraising.
Since 2001, the work of the Coalition has expanded significantly.
After a brief respite, Coalition leaders decided the group should
continue working together, focusing its' energies in the following
areas of action:
1.) Identifying and supporting grassroots immigrant leaders and
groups throughout the state.
2.) Uniting immigrant groups from around the state around common
3.) Creating a powerful voice in the public arena that is truly
representative of the interests of the state's immigrant community.
4.) Educating policy makers and the public at large about the
positive contributions immigrants are making to the state.
5.) Promoting unity and collaboration with other oppressed groups
and the Tennessee community at large.