Brief History

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 causes.
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.

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