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TIRRC/ 615.833.0384

August 2009 Volume 1, Issue 1

Creating a statewide voice for immigrants and refugees

2009 Tennessee Legislative Wrap-Up
Number of pro-immigrant bills passed: 1 (of 1 proposed) Number of anti-immigrant bills passed: 2 (of 35 proposed) Number of anti-immigrant bills stopped or amended to remove dangerous provisions: 33 (of 35 proposed) Thank you to everyone for your incredible support this year at the Tennessee legislature. With sustained, positive contact by immigrant leaders and their allies, there is a growing awareness among legislators that anti-immigrant bills are bad for our communities, our consciences, and our state's economic well-being. Business leaders have been effective in explaining the importance of immigrant workers to our continued economic growth. Faith leaders have been indispensable in responding to legislation that would further marginalize and exploit members of the immigrant community. Immigrant leaders and their allies have been more visible than ever this year, explaining to legislators the unintended consequences of these bills on our collective future. Thank you to everyone who responded to action alerts, contacted legislators, and participated in New American Day on the Hill, our most important state advocacy day.
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To read about the specific bills in the 2009 legislative session visit TIRRC’s website at

Each year the legislative session is a struggle when advocating on behalf of the immigrant community. However, as immigrants make their presence known in their community and at the state legislature, we begin to see a decrease in anti-immigrant legislation and rhetoric. For a comprehensive list of this year’s antiimmigrant legislation, please visit TIRRC’s website. Our work continues as we promote immigrant integration throughout the state by pushing for proactive legislation that will no longer marginalize the immigrant community. In the next few weeks TIRRC will be hosting a legislative strategy session to review this year’s legislation and prepare for the upcoming session. If you are interested in attending the legislative strategy session or would like to know more about this year’s legislative session please contact Remziya Suleyman at or call 615.833.0384

TIRRC August Newsletter 2009

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TIRRC Launches New Website!
 The TIRRC staff has been
keeping a secret. For months they’ve been working on a top secret project – a new website! It’s finally time for the unveiling of the new… Communications Coordinator, Elias Feghali has incorporated the latest technology; so stop by the website today to become a fan of TIRRC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or watch our YouTube videos. The new website is not just a one-way flow of information, but also a great way for you to tell us what is going on! Share your thoughts in the community blog, share your events in the community calendar, and share your story in our newsletter.

The address stays the same, but inside you will find all new information! The website will be your online hub for all the latest news, pictures, action alerts, and videos about immigrant and refugee issues in Tennessee. 

Online Rapid Response Team
We're trying to build a team of 10-20 people who are capable of monitoring local media in TN and responding appropriately to positive and negative articles that have something to do with immigration and/or refugee issues. If this sounds interesting and you'd like to get involved or just find out more, contact: Elias Feghali o: 615-833-0364 [ext. 104]

Visit today for the latest information!

August Calendar of Events
3rd l 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm TIRRC Campaigns meeting at TIRRC office 5th l 6:00pm – 7:00 pm TIRRC Volunteer Training at TIRRC office 13th l 5:30 pm Welcoming Tennessee strategy meeting in East TN - Contact or 615-833-0384 ext. 104

TIRRC August Newsletter 2009

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Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition

About Our Organization…
TIRRC is a statewide, immigrant and refugee-led collaboration whose mission is to empower immigrants and refugees throughout Tennessee to develop a unified voice, defend their rights, and create an atmosphere in which they are recognized as positive contributors to the state.

446 Metroplex Dr. Building A, Suite 224 Nashville, TN 37211 Phone: 615.833.0384 Fax: 615.833.0387

Stephen Fotopulos - Executive Director Kasar Abdulla - Director of Advocacy and Education Leticia Alvarez - Organizing Director Marie Alvarez - Office Manager Lisa Barba - East Tennessee Regional Organizer Elias Feghali - Communications Coordinator Lindsey Harris - Project Manager Amelia Post - Middle Tennessee Organizer Sara Jane Saliba - Director of Finance and Administration Remziya Suleyman- Policy Coordinator Katie Vasquez - Administrative Assistant

Creating a statewide voice for immigrants and refugees

Karen Usselman Greg Mecomber Omar Chapa Ryan Ellis

We’re on the Web!

See us at:

Peter Dawson Molly Sehring Elisabeth Dawson Sarah Smith Sandra Sanchez Julio Lopez Julio Fernandez

Maria Fernanda Lopez

TIRRC is a membership organization. Members are what drives TIRRC forward and are involved in all areas of our work. Our members are responsible for electing the Board of Directors and deciding what the key issues and priority campaigns are that TIRRC will work on each year. Members also receive free entrance into our annual Membership Convention, where we strategize for the coming year and celebrate the accomplishments of the past year. Becoming a member is an important step in getting involved! Join today! Call 615-833-0384 or visit