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  #46 (permalink)  
Old 06-16-2010, 09:03 AM
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I, unfortunately could not make it to DC, however, I would love to hear more about what was done in DC and the kind of responses IV got from the offices...... I am positive there are thousands of members who wanted to participate in the event and could not do so for unavoidable reasons - and if the participants could post their experiences, it will give us a better idea and make us feel that we are a part of the efforts too (many thanks to those who have already done so - it is inspiring).

Please share your thoughts with us. Thank you.
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  #47 (permalink)  
Old 06-16-2010, 12:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by needhelp! View Post
A Great Big Thank You to all of you who have been Contributing to enable IV to organize an event of this proportion.

Thank You IV for providing us with this platform to get our voices heard where it matters the most. Go IV!
Quote:
Originally Posted by StarSun View Post
The phenomenal experience of actually doing something positive to solve our problems is - but I am just acknowledging the great enthusiasm that was vibrating with our members - they realized the gravity of the situation, the opportunity that was within their grasp and wanted to make the best use of it. Hats off to you guys!!

IV realizes that our strength lies within our members and their dedication - both in terms of participation and funding. And if there is one thing that almost every single participant took home from the event is that - we still have a long way to go and we need far more support and participation. .
Thank You needhelp!, Devang, StarSun for summarizing the DC Experience. Each one of us that went to DC came back with a more positive outlook, the satisfaction of doing something good. I will write in detail my personal experience, but in a nutshell- The camaraderie, the enthusiasm and the tireless effort that some members put in is just commendable.
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  #48 (permalink)  
Old 06-16-2010, 01:11 PM
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Default Thank you For the nice words

Thank you New horizon .

That is the least i could do for you guys . lets keep in touch and fight for our cause.

Thanks
Redds777

Quote:
Originally Posted by new_horizon View Post
I was one of the guys from MI that redds777 hosted. I must say I can't thank enough for the hospitality he and his family had shown us.

Also I know a couple of other DC members who hosted outside folks. Thanks to them also.
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  #49 (permalink)  
Old 06-16-2010, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by new_horizon View Post
I was one of the guys from MI that redds777 hosted. I must say I can't thank enough for the hospitality he and his family had shown us.

Also I know a couple of other DC members who hosted outside folks. Thanks to them also.
Ajay and his family hosted us. Thanks a lot to him and his family.
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  #50 (permalink)  
Old 06-16-2010, 02:14 PM
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Smile It was our pleasure

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Originally Posted by amitjoey View Post
Ajay and his family hosted us. Thanks a lot to him and his family.
Thanks Ameet for your compliments. It was our pleasure also to have you with your family with us. We also enjoyed your stay.
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  #51 (permalink)  
Old 06-16-2010, 05:01 PM
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Good to have you back in action. Your attitude towards IV issues, lawmaker meetings and advocacy efforts in general is inspiring for others.

Quote:
Originally Posted by needhelp! View Post
A Great Big Thank You to all of you who have been Contributing to enable IV to organize an event of this proportion.

My sincere gratitude for the countless hours/days/weeks/months that IV leadership has donated in doing the background work and getting the advocacy days put together. Special thanks to Aman, Himanshu, Pratik, Anu, Jay, Sivkanth, Gopal, Puneet, Kiran, Meenal, Prasad, Bimal, Vikrant, Devang, Ravi, Renji, Ameet & all the DC folk who arranged for out-of-staters to stay in their homes and helped with all the logistics. I got to witness your contributions first-hand. Thank You to your families who supported you and to all the other volunteers working remotely and finally to the ones that I inadvertently left out, a humongous thanks to you too! Kudos to the member from California who attended the event despite having a sick baby at home. Many many attendees have made many many personal sacrifices to come for this event and they are worthy of applause.

At first, I was hesitant to join because I hadn't been as actively involved in the past months; there was too much personal stuff going on that needed to be dealt with; too much work load, and taking vacation now meant I would have to take unpaid leave when I needed it later. Plus the cost of tickets and getting away from family responsibilities. I thought I could escape with a $ contribution and let someone else do the real work. However, a few phone calls later, I realized how lame all this sounded when people that didn't need to be doing this were working hard for my issues and volunteering for an effort of which I was going to be a beneficiary. It helped that we had a team of members from Texas chapter who had already come forward to go to DC and others were contributing to enable more members to participate.

Many conference calls were organized by IV leadership right up to the day of the event and many volunteers made hundreds of phone calls to request our members to participate and represent their state and districts. After all, members of congress are working to solve issues that are most affecting their own constituents and having members from their own district coming to DC carries a lot of weight. Many IV members I spoke with had some problem or another and couldn't make it, and then there were few that really wanted to help out in any way they could. In the background, meetings were being sought from both Senate and House representatives, and confirmations were coming in right up to the last minute.

Situation Room on Sunday:
Got to the Situation Room in Hyatt on Sunday afternoon. Nervous excitement was in the air. Meeting new faces & reconnecting with old ones brought back memories of September 2007 and the atmosphere of college festivals. Training sessions were already in progress, followed by mock sessions which I thought were a terrific idea. There were printers set up and volunteers were at work printing business cards and IV information materials and arranging them into folders. Another row of tables had been set up for signing in, IV coordinator & state chapter leaders were matching up meetings with team members , reaching out to members to confirm their attendance and new members were pouring in throughout the day and evening. Pictures were being taken and posted on the blog. Past and present USCIS Ombudsman visited us there and supported us and spent time talking to us one on one. There were a couple of people that had joined IV just a few days ago and now participating in Lobby Day. Then there was my DC host who was not going to be able to participate in the meetings, but the energy of the situation room got to him and made him change his decision. And how couldn't it! I stayed there helping out until midnight, but a few folks didn't leave until the wee hours of dawn. I must confess that IV Situation Room is THE most fun thing to do in DC. For those of you who missed it, I hope Congress does nothing and you get another chance when IV plans this again. (just kidding...)

Monday - Day 1 of Advocacy:
We met in situation room in the morning. Everyone picked up their schedules for the day and were off to a day of true grass-roots work of educating Congressional staff of our issues and proposing solutions. The most important part was telling our own stories of how the process is affecting our lives and driving talent out of the country. The staff members were very polite and listened carefully to our points. Not one of them argued against any of our issues. The support was there, although we did hear things about political climate causing the delay in action on part of Congress. I was done with meetings at 4 pm on Monday and we walked across the Capitol and onto New Jersey Avenue enjoying the perfect DC weather on our way back to the Situation Room. Folders had to be prepared for the next day and schedules created as well, since there were some last minute meetings coming in & some members not able to make it for the next day. We also had to pack and move and set up the new room upstairs since we switched rooms in the Hyatt. Once again, we got out of there at 3.30 am, and had to get back in by 9am.

Tuesday - Day 2 of Advocacy
Another full day of meetings was in store for everyone. We had fewer members on Tuesday since a lot of them had gone back on Monday and a lot of members did at least a few meetings by themselves. By this time we were all experts at the message we needed to deliver. Once again the response was similar. Some of the offices gave us leads into other representatives that might be able to champion the issue. Some of them were supportive of administrative fixes that could be done while Congress contemplates on larger fixes. Tuesday was the first time I had meetings on both the House and Senate side and we walked through the Capitol to get to the other side. There is a little mini train you can ride and the building has impressive murals and architecture. But we had very little time to appreciate those in detail. I had the opportunity to meet one Senator himself and it was a whole new feeling being face-to-face and talking to someone that shapes American future laws everyday and is directly going to vote on my issue. This is what democracy was all about, and IV was the enabler providing me the opportunity to be heard on the Hill.


Tuesday - Congressional Reception
This was held in the Capitol itself, we had leading lawyers attend as well as Ombudsman and Congressional staff and lobbyists. There was some nice food to be enjoyed by all, informal discussions, humor and brainstorming for the future. After the 2 hour reception many had flights to catch and rest of us went back to wrap up in the Situation room and brainstorm for the future.

At the end of it all, I was a little sad to leave all the excitement and return to "normal" life. But there is tons of work to be done in local chapters and those of us who have been to DC know how important it is to go and seek out the members from each and every constituency from our state, get members to come forward and talk to the media, and finally raise funds so that we can continue lobbying Congress to fix this problem.

Thank You IV for providing us with this platform to get our voices heard where it matters the most. Go IV!
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  #52 (permalink)  
Old 06-17-2010, 03:20 PM
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Default Live updates: Advocacy day Event

Be Unreasonable & a cause of progress, not just a beneficiary.

Hello everyone,

I will explain the title of this thread in a minute (the unreasonable part) but before that I would like to share my experience in DC last week during, before and after lobby days.

A few weeks ago, when Aman called me to join him in lobby days, just like many others, I was having a difficult time scheduling vacation days off from work. I somehow convinced my boss to let me take those days off and finish the work in the weekend prior to June.

The Airport pickup:

When I reached the Airport, Aman and Pratik were there to pick me up. And this is where it got funny and really hilarious. The car was a compact rental car and it was full of printers, laptops and folders -- all in preparation of lobby day. There was barely enough place to sit in the car. After shutting all the doors tight (we really had to compress the luggage and force the door shut) we started driving towards the hotel. And the dome light would not shut off. So everyone outside can see a car full of luggage, printers and people packed like a can of sardines. Fortunately Aman knew the way to the Hotel and we could go there without having to stop for directions.

Preparation and training on Sunday:

Sunday was hectic, busy, tiring and very very interesting. I met a lot of new people on Sunday who had come to DC for the first time. And it felt really really good to reconnect with people who we had met earlier in 2007 rally in DC and the earlier rally in San Jose in July. Just felt like I had met my friends from college with whom I spend 4 years. The kind of relationship and chemistry that we have is impossible to describe in words. Crisis and calamity have a way of creating bonds that last a lifetime. We all may get green-cards in next 1 year or maybe 10 years. But I will remember the people I met in DC twice and in San Jose for the rest of my life. And I am sure others feel the same way. These are the people who were sitting on the laptop scheduling lawmaker meetings and connecting members to appointments till 4:00 AM on Monday morning and then back to work by 8:00 AM. We ate whatever was ordered or whatever we found in the hotel. There were people printing business cards in one corner. Others were printing the drop-off material for lawmakers, preparing neat folders for meetings. There was training and mock-meetings going on in another corner for people who had never been to the Capitol Hill before. There was so much purpose and so much goal-oriented motivation in the room, I felt really glad to have not missed this even one out of 3 times we done this both in DC and in San Jose.

The next two days:

Over the next two days, I went to about 7 meetings in the House and Senate side and had very very interesting experiences, mostly positive. I cannot share the details of the response for each office as this is a public forum, but I can tell you that having been to DC about 6 times now since 2006, there are Hill Staffers who know many of us and even remember our names. Our conversations do not begin with introductions, but where we left off in our last meeting. More than 60-70% of the offices of Congressmen and Senators know about Immigration Voice and know about the issue. Some offices may have newer staff and not know, and that's where education helps.

Every single day consisted of going to the Hill from the situation room, (I mostly took a cab, I am lazy that way even if its only 4 blocks), coming back, getting some work done, going back to the Hill, accompanying someone if they are alone in the meetings (it helps to have 2 or more IV members go to a meeting). We worked till 11 PM mostly, and got about 4-5 hours of sleep each night. And that is true for everyone who was there. EVERY SINGLE one. Walking between the office buildings (and they are big) and walking a few times back to the Hotel also made some of us realize (like me) that how out of shape we are physically

And now to the UNreasonables:

Quote:
The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
George Bernard Shaw
Irish dramatist & socialist (1856 - 1950)

Every single person who came to DC this time or the time before, or who came to San Jose rally has been told by friends, family and colleagues "Why are you going to DC, let others go, take care of yourself, all problems get fixed eventually, Congress will take care of it".

They sound very reasonable or try to convince you that they are the reasonable ones and you are being unreasonable by going to the Capitol and working on your cause.

The truth is...yes, we may be. But we are the ones who will eventually make a difference. If you read the quote from George Bernard Shaw, you will realize that the reasonable men and women will sit around and talk about us, save their time for family and leisure and comply themselves to the system. They will comply themselves to a system that keeps in hanging without a green card for 20 years. They will never be capable of ushering progress.

The unreasonable ones, the ones like us, who contribute to this cause in various forms, are the gifted ones. We are the lucky ones. For we have the wisdom and the strength to do the unreasonable and get the world to comply to our point of view.

  • And flower campaign, the DC rally -- that got bulletin reversed in 2007,
  • the popularity of removing per-country ceilings in the offices that exist today and didnt exist before --


All this a work of men and women like us who are unreasonably resilient, who will not listen to the advise of reasonable men who sit on the sidelines and refresh the Visa Bulletin page every first friday of every month 20 times a day.

But to those who get it...I have one more quote for you, a final one, I promise:

Quote:
"If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves."
Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931)
I wish the problem of greencard backlogs get cleared soon, but if it doesnt, I will do this a 100 times again and with same or more passion, determination and purpose. Our energy and determination would outlast and outlive the intertia of Congress.
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  #53 (permalink)  
Old 06-17-2010, 03:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rayoflight View Post
Very Well Written. It was a pleasure meeting and working with you.

Cheers,
Rayoflight
Ditto.. Advocacy lectures by logiclife are an experience you CANNOT miss. And those who got LIVE training in lawmaker offices because they were too new and didn't make it on Sunday.. absolutely not fair..
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  #54 (permalink)  
Old 06-17-2010, 09:23 PM
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Default My story

I also joined the group in DC and wow! What a rush! I did not attend the 2007 rally and have regreted it ever since, so when Aman asked me to join this time around I was 100% ready.

Highlights:

1) The training we received on Sunday was outstanding, the IV core group is very experienced in lobbying our Congress folks, but they need manpower! So we were all there to learn and prepare.

2) Meeting so many people in my same situation was enlightening and uplifting, you could feel the energy in the room and a hundred people getting ready to change the world!

3) Monday and Tuesday were incredibly hectic. I figured out how to navigate the House and Senate office buildings sort of by the end of the first day, once you see all the tunnels you start to get the hang of it.

4) We met with staffers from Congressional offices from the west coast mostly and some from the east coast. Some of the were clearly our allies, some others not so clear, although many pedged to support our provision even if they would not support CIR as a whole for example. This was very encouraging.

5) DC was a buzz with tlka of the November elections and how that will affect the agenda for 2011, luckily we were there to start shaping it!

6) Several staffers were aware of our issues (thanks to IV efforts), but they still don't know the subtle details like per-country quotas, AC21 interpretations and other issues that impact us. That's why we need to reach out in DC as well as our districts.

7) Highlights were meeting with White House staffers and an actual Senator, I was very impressed. The Sen. was aware of our issues (although some confusion with H1B) but the staffers were very aware. I feel we really touched a nerve and made her realize the gravity of the situation for many.

8) We met with the Microsoft government affairs people in DC and the outlook was bleak, they were in full damage-control around the Sanders-Grassley ammendment that would essentially throw out visa and GC holders from companies that had done or needed to do layoffs. WE NEED TO ADVOCATE FOR OURSELVES! WE CAN'T RELY ON CORPORATIONS TO DO IT FOR US!

9) The reception on Tuesday evening was a great opportunity to meet other lobbyists that are our allies and discuss next steps and serve a s a capstone for a job well done.

Great work on organizing this IV! We all need to support IV so that these events can keep happening and our cause can gain more visibility!

Last edited by goosetavo; 06-23-2010 at 07:57 PM.
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  #55 (permalink)  
Old 06-18-2010, 10:25 AM
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Thumbs up Unreasonable Logic that makes sense!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by logiclife View Post
Be Unreasonable & a cause of progress, not just a beneficiary.

And now to the UNreasonables:

Quote:
The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
George Bernard Shaw
Irish dramatist & socialist (1856 - 1950)
Every single person who came to DC this time or the time before, or who came to San Jose rally has been told by friends, family and colleagues "Why are you going to DC, let others go, take care of yourself, all problems get fixed eventually, Congress will take care of it".

They sound very reasonable or try to convince you that they are the reasonable ones and you are being unreasonable by going to the Capitol and working on your cause.

The truth is...yes, we may be. But we are the ones who will eventually make a difference. If you read the quote from George Bernard Shaw, you will realize that the reasonable men and women will sit around and talk about us, save their time for family and leisure and comply themselves to the system. They will comply themselves to a system that keeps in hanging without a green card for 20 years. They will never be capable of ushering progress.

The unreasonable ones, the ones like us, who contribute to this cause in various forms, are the gifted ones. We are the lucky ones. For we have the wisdom and the strength to do the unreasonable and get the world to comply to our point of view.

  • And flower campaign, the DC rally -- that got bulletin reversed in 2007,
  • the popularity of removing per-country ceilings in the offices that exist today and didnt exist before --


All this a work of men and women like us who are unreasonably resilient, who will not listen to the advise of reasonable men who sit on the sidelines and refresh the Visa Bulletin page every first friday of every month 20 times a day.

But to those who get it...I have one more quote for you, a final one, I promise:
Quote:
"If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves."
Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931)
I wish the problem of greencard backlogs get cleared soon, but if it doesnt, I will do this a 100 times again and with same or more passion, determination and purpose. Our energy and determination would outlast and outlive the intertia of Congress.
Not having participated in any previous efforts, the skepticism I had when I landed in DC vanished the moment you started the training session. You are right, if we are not goaded into action, we are content to refresh the visa bulletin every 1st Friday of the month - why 20? 50 times a day!!

Never once did I realize that by clicking on refresh button - I am actually doing nothing to change the outcome of what will be published. However, during the training, during our lawmaker meeting in DC - I realized I AM ACTUALLY WORKING TO CHANGE THAT VISA BULLETIN

I realized that my participation will not bare immediate fruits but just that I added a good dose of Miracle Grow and Water. The amount of sunshine is controlled by the powers beyond me, but IV and I are working to make sure that our plant does not get overshadowed by larger trees. Will I be ready to add more Miracle grow in the next 4/5 months? ABSOLUTELY.

Every IV member can take this as a challenge or as a request - watch the political environment and follow what is happening on the IV forums and action items. As things get warmer, talk to your bosses, spouses and be prepared to participate in Lobby or Rally efforts that will propel our issues to the forefront and get the solutions (be it in whole or partial). Be prepared to participate. Find reasons to participate in such efforts and not excuses/contention/indifference. If you can't do it, find others to take your spot. Do what it takes.

We may be high skilled in technology but we have a long way to go in terms of communication - and to find you LOGICLIFE, an excellent communicator - it is a privilege, be trained by him, and to actually be in a meeting with him - Priceless.

Lastly, I want to say, that I have become so "Unreasonable" and am trying to convince every friend of mine to be active in IV for our issues, that I have come to a point where I want every high skilled immigrant to perceive solutions to immigration the way I do!!!
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  #56 (permalink)  
Old 06-18-2010, 12:35 PM
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donated $50; learned about the organization on June 8, participated in the event - not knowing any of the issues. Was an eye opener to the legislative process. I did not do much, just accompanied the IV members to the meetings - these members were well prepared to present the case as well as to answer questions. I am impressed, and here I am registered and donated.
Thank you IV for being pro-active. Feels good to be part of the action.
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  #57 (permalink)  
Old 06-18-2010, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Motivated View Post
donated $50; learned about the organization on June 8, participated in the event - not knowing any of the issues. Was an eye opener to the legislative process. I did not do much, just accompanied the IV members to the meetings - these members were well prepared to present the case as well as to answer questions. I am impressed, and here I am registered and donated.
Thank you IV for being pro-active. Feels good to be part of the action.
Thanks Motivated for your contributions.
Please post on the funding drive.
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  #58 (permalink)  
Old 06-18-2010, 01:06 PM
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Jay,
You never cease to amaze me, impress me, and educate me.

You have taught me that this goes beyond just getting our green cards.

This is the difference between people that succeed in life and people that don't, people that bring change to the world and people that sit around hoping the world will change for them.

In you, and many others on IV, I see that kind of drive and motivation, and I hope to absorb some of that positive energy.

At times I have wondered why I do this, when most people that I know, who are in a similar situation don't. But I have always come out of that thought process with nothing but reaffirmation of my actions, and the intent to continue doing what I do, thanks to IV members like yourself.

I might get my green card in another year or so, but seeing the unwavering motivation and passion with which some people continue to challenge and change things that aren't right, makes me want to continue doing whatever little or large I can, to help them (and help myself in the process!).

My next destination after this thread, was this one.

http://immigrationvoice.org/forum/fo...ml#post1964441 (Funding drive: IV needs your support for Advocacy events in DC)
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If my post has been helpful, please consider contributing to immigrationvoice. It will help us continue this effort and serve the community. Thank you.
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  #59 (permalink)  
Old 06-18-2010, 01:12 PM
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Thumbs up Thanks for the post, logiclife!

Logiclife, thank you very much for the encouraging words and your commitment to our cause.

I had the good fortune of attending the IV Advocacy days (albeit only for one day) in DC and walking side by side with great people such as logiclife, Aman etc. and experiencing the amazing feat performed by most of the members (naming a few, please feel free to add more...):
  • Contacting the lawmakers, confirming appointments.
  • Being cheerful, yet completely focussed on the task at hand.
  • Being mindful of what to mention to the lawmakers or their representatives.

All this was accomplished with the limited resources that IV has in terms of volunteer and monetary support. I, like many of the people here, was skeptical of how IV spends the money that is being donated by many donors we see on this forum. It was an eye opener to me when heard that we are doing the advocacy event after 3 long years because of the limited resources we have. I mean, think the 40,000+ users we have on this forum. If each one of us members donated $1, it would have pretty much covered the advocacy day costs. Instead, I read that we could collect only $20,000 for this event (even after most of people paid $50 at a minimum!).

I am not a donor on this forum yet, but I would like to be one just to support the activities of IV. I am more than convinced that the money I will spend will be put to good use for the good of this community. Mind you, many of the IV advocacy day volunteers had already received their green cards, yet they are fighting for me and you. What good would it be if we still continue to sit on the side and not support such wholesome activities made by these sincere guys? Hats off to IV (and the leaders of IV) for providing us with a great platform and opportunities to make an impact and make out issues heard by the lawmakers.

So, I request you all to take some action to help IV and help yourself, in turn. If you have any misgivings, by all means direct questions to any of the IV leaders and I am sure they can provide answers..

Lastly, I really liked the "passion" part of logiclife's message very much and would like to end with a quote about passion:

Quote:
"Swami Vivekananda said, "Give me men of passion." Passion means a passionate nature, that if I do this, I must do it perfectly. I must do it as well as I can. I must do it now. And promises do not constitute work. He who wants to give must give now."
Quote:
Originally Posted by logiclife View Post
Be Unreasonable & a cause of progress, not just a beneficiary.

Hello everyone,

I will explain the title of this thread in a minute (the unreasonable part) but before that I would like to share my experience in DC last week during, before and after lobby days.

A few weeks ago, when Aman called me to join him in lobby days, just like many others, I was having a difficult time scheduling vacation days off from work. I somehow convinced my boss to let me take those days off and finish the work in the weekend prior to June.

The Airport pickup:

When I reached the Airport, Aman and Pratik were there to pick me up. And this is where it got funny and really hilarious. The car was a compact rental car and it was full of printers, laptops and folders -- all in preparation of lobby day. There was barely enough place to sit in the car. After shutting all the doors tight (we really had to compress the luggage and force the door shut) we started driving towards the hotel. And the dome light would not shut off. So everyone outside can see a car full of luggage, printers and people packed like a can of sardines. Fortunately Aman knew the way to the Hotel and we could go there without having to stop for directions.

Preparation and training on Sunday:

Sunday was hectic, busy, tiring and very very interesting. I met a lot of new people on Sunday who had come to DC for the first time. And it felt really really good to reconnect with people who we had met earlier in 2007 rally in DC and the earlier rally in San Jose in July. Just felt like I had met my friends from college with whom I spend 4 years. The kind of relationship and chemistry that we have is impossible to describe in words. Crisis and calamity have a way of creating bonds that last a lifetime. We all may get green-cards in next 1 year or maybe 10 years. But I will remember the people I met in DC twice and in San Jose for the rest of my life. And I am sure others feel the same way. These are the people who were sitting on the laptop scheduling lawmaker meetings and connecting members to appointments till 4:00 AM on Monday morning and then back to work by 8:00 AM. We ate whatever was ordered or whatever we found in the hotel. There were people printing business cards in one corner. Others were printing the drop-off material for lawmakers, preparing neat folders for meetings. There was training and mock-meetings going on in another corner for people who had never been to the Capitol Hill before. There was so much purpose and so much goal-oriented motivation in the room, I felt really glad to have not missed this even one out of 3 times we done this both in DC and in San Jose.

The next two days:

Over the next two days, I went to about 7 meetings in the House and Senate side and had very very interesting experiences, mostly positive. I cannot share the details of the response for each office as this is a public forum, but I can tell you that having been to DC about 6 times now since 2006, there are Hill Staffers who know many of us and even remember our names. Our conversations do not begin with introductions, but where we left off in our last meeting. More than 60-70% of the offices of Congressmen and Senators know about Immigration Voice and know about the issue. Some offices may have newer staff and not know, and that's where education helps.

Every single day consisted of going to the Hill from the situation room, (I mostly took a cab, I am lazy that way even if its only 4 blocks), coming back, getting some work done, going back to the Hill, accompanying someone if they are alone in the meetings (it helps to have 2 or more IV members go to a meeting). We worked till 11 PM mostly, and got about 4-5 hours of sleep each night. And that is true for everyone who was there. EVERY SINGLE one. Walking between the office buildings (and they are big) and walking a few times back to the Hotel also made some of us realize (like me) that how out of shape we are physically

And now to the UNreasonables:




Every single person who came to DC this time or the time before, or who came to San Jose rally has been told by friends, family and colleagues "Why are you going to DC, let others go, take care of yourself, all problems get fixed eventually, Congress will take care of it".

They sound very reasonable or try to convince you that they are the reasonable ones and you are being unreasonable by going to the Capitol and working on your cause.

The truth is...yes, we may be. But we are the ones who will eventually make a difference. If you read the quote from George Bernard Shaw, you will realize that the reasonable men and women will sit around and talk about us, save their time for family and leisure and comply themselves to the system. They will comply themselves to a system that keeps in hanging without a green card for 20 years. They will never be capable of ushering progress.

The unreasonable ones, the ones like us, who contribute to this cause in various forms, are the gifted ones. We are the lucky ones. For we have the wisdom and the strength to do the unreasonable and get the world to comply to our point of view.

  • And flower campaign, the DC rally -- that got bulletin reversed in 2007,
  • the popularity of removing per-country ceilings in the offices that exist today and didnt exist before --


All this a work of men and women like us who are unreasonably resilient, who will not listen to the advise of reasonable men who sit on the sidelines and refresh the Visa Bulletin page every first friday of every month 20 times a day.

But to those who get it...I have one more quote for you, a final one, I promise:



I wish the problem of greencard backlogs get cleared soon, but if it doesnt, I will do this a 100 times again and with same or more passion, determination and purpose. Our energy and determination would outlast and outlive the intertia of Congress.
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  #60 (permalink)  
Old 06-23-2010, 11:34 PM
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Default My Advocacy days experience..

It has been a real busy year with long working days and multiple complex projects that have been taking away my weekends when I first saw the news about Advocacy days planned by Immigration Voice in Washington D.C. That was definitely not another thing I had time and energy for. My first thought about the event was that I will make it if I can. As days went by I did not want to miss this event. I thought I would regret if I missed this. After a couple of years of no talks about immigration, Advocacy days provided a good opportunity to focus and advocate for issues we all have been living with for many years with many more to come. My vacation request was sent for approval to all the project managers I have been working with and got approved.
I landed in D.C saturday evening and went to the situation room on Sunday. The situation room was filled with passionate people who have made a choice to dedicate their time to advocate for issues faced by our community. All of us had a lot to accomplish over the next three days. Every one of us had anywhere between four to eight meetings with people who write laws that shape this nation and determine its future. There were a few events happening in the situation room throughout the day like registering members, giving out meeting schedules, tracking schedule changes, training members on how to handle meetings with law makers, mockup lawmaker meetings, preparing meeting materials, printing business cards, making sure everyone has necessary accommodation, making sure everyone knows where their meetings are, who their team members are etc. Towards the end of the day, former USCIS Ombudsman made a visit to the situation room and told all of us how important it is for us to take our issues to law makers and keep up with the work we have done when we go back home. Things donít happen in life if we donít try. He really felt bad for all of us who had to walk between House and Senate offices for our meetings over the next couple of days. It was around 11 PM when most of us were ready for the next day. I met my team before I left the situation room and I knew our team was high performing and would do really well. A few people stayed back to finish up and it turns out everyone who stayed back were up until 4 AM.
We had five meetings scheduled for day 1 in three different buildings on the same side of the capital building. We picked up an additional meeting over the ones we were already scheduled for since we had additional time. Everyone we met knew our issues and were very supportive. No one needed an introduction. Our team accomplished a lot on day and we felt really good. Towards the end of the day and my foot started screaming. Walking between three large buildings which serve as offices for House of Representatives and climbing steep staircases gave me one less blister compared to what I normally get after finishing a half Marathon and next day was not going to be a day of rest.
My second day turned out to be more exciting compared to the first one. I had five meetings scheduled and I was going solo for my first two lawmaker meetings. I had an opportunity to give a process overview of obtaining permanent residency (Green Card) for highly skilled legal immigrants in one office and that felt really good. After my second meeting I met my IV friends from Southern California and we all headed to our next meeting together. We went to the Rayburn cafeteria to get lunch after. Just when I thought I had luxury of having a 90 minute lunch and only two more meetings to go to for the day my foot really started screaming. The dress code on the hill did not allow me to take my shoes off and stretch my foot or wear sneakers. It felt better to sit for the next 90 minutes in the cafeteria compared to walking or standing. Our next meeting was in the Senate building which was on the other side of the Capital. Normally it would take about 10 to 15 minutes to walk to other side but it took over 40 minutes to reach the office we were supposed to get to only to find out that our meeting got rescheduled to 4:30 PM. I had a 5 PM meeting scheduled as well which did not give me enough time to stay for this meeting and head to the building I came from earlier. I split from my team and started walking towards the other side of the capitol hill for my 5 PM appointment almost an hour early because of my foot issues. I couldnít really walk for long after I left the senate building. I walked to the nearest bench in front of the capital. I didnít care about anyone watching me and just took my shoes off and sat down for the next 30 minutes before I could walk again. Our 5 PM meeting was with a Congressman himself and had a Core team member, myself and another member who was later offered an unpaid Internship by a lobbying firm. Just when we were wondering why the position would be unpaid we were told that the reason for being unpaid was because the green card process for the member accepting the position would be reset since It would not fall under same or similar category which made all of us crack up.
Our next stop was the congressional reception which gave us an opportunity to spend the evening with present and former USCIS Ombudsman, representatives from law makerís offices, personnel from our lobbying group and a few prominent Immigration attorneys. Our reception was wrapped out around 8 PM and we headed to the situation room for our closing meeting. Our closing meeting went on until 11 after which each one of us took our Action items and next steps to take back to our districts. Everyone we met over the past couple of days told us to keep up the work we have been doing for the past few years. Good work and great follow through always leads to good results.
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