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During the 2008 general election, the Equal Voice Network convened 2,000 community members from the Valley to five town hall meetings.

This group contributed to the creation of a vision, a mission, and a platform. Over the past eight years, the Network’s member organizations and working groups have expanded the Network’s scope and reach to 50,000 community members across the Valley. Our constituency are families of limited financial resources, living in marginalized, rural subdivisions. Our communities recognize and celebrate the vitality and strength of immigrant communities.

As the transition to a new presidential administration begins, Equal Voice partners offer formidable resources to a community that has long, hard experience with a militarized border. We have deep relationships with national as well as statewide pro-immigrant networks. We share a profound sense of the true nature of a secure border—that is, a region where everyone has access to healthcare, a dignified place to call their home, and a job that allows them to support their family.

For us, our region will be prosperous and secure on the day when each child has access to a fine education, all citizens participate in governing their communities, and all people are treated with respect, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender, race, ethnicity, religion or nationality.

Even as this transition brings change to the nation, the Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network will continue its work of uniting the voices of our families and communities. We will exercise this responsibility within the scope of the civil rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution. Indeed, the Network points out that many federal programs remain in place, even with a change in administration. In this instance, the Network will continue our work to cover all Texans with health insurance. The open enrollment period is happening now, and we encourage people acquire their coverage.

Among the many other organizing activities that our members are involved in, we are immediately offering Know Your Rights workshops, open to the public. These workshops aim to help the community understand the rights guaranteed to us by the Constitution, and which uphold our social fabric.

The first workshop will be held in Brownsville on Wednesday, November 16th from 9 am until noon at the Brownsville Community Health Clinic, 191 East Price Road. (For more information on the Brownsville workshop, contact Maria Cordero at (956) 465-6872.

Another workshop will be offered on Monday, November 21st from 10:30 am until 12:30 pm at the offices of ARISE, 1417 S. Tower Rd., in Alamo. To learn more about the Alamo workshop, contact Ramona Casas at (956) 783-6959).

Editor’s Note: The slideshow of photos accompanying this guest column were taken from the first RGV Equal Voice Network town hall meeting, held in San Juan, Texas, in January, 2008. (Photo: RGG/Steve Taylor)