Minneapolis April 28th 2014
To our members, allies, elected officials and progressives across Minnesota.
Members of the MN Mesa Latina, a grassroots Latino organization, have decided to conduct a series OF incremental direct actions against the office of the Minnesota Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Thissen, to demand a hearing for the HF348 bill. This is a cause for social inclusion and human rights. The time is now!
The HF348 and the SF271, or driver’s license bill, will undo the last 14 years of less safe roads, struggling communities, and decreased opportunities for many families. It will end the suffering and family separations that undocumented Minnesotans and their US born children have endured by the anti-immigrant and anti-family policies implemented in the year 2000. It will be a piece of the puzzle to demand that we are ONE Minnesota, not groups divided, not groups living in the shadows, not groups whose contributions are less valued than others. SF271 passed the MN senate in the 2013. The MN Mesa Latina thanks the courage and leadership of senate members for supporting the bill.
Early this year members of Mesa Latina met Rep. Paul Thissen to discus HF348. Rep. Thissen was concerned that HF348 did not have the support of Governor Mark Dayton, enough support from law enforcement, the business community and a Republican legislator. We walked away from that meeting with an assignment!
On April 24th we came back to Rep. Thissen with our assignments done!
· Governor Mark Dayton expressed on public radio his position on HF348 stating that he would not veto the driver’s license bill and acknowledging the contributions of many of those who cannot currently obtain a driver’s license.
· We have collected numerous letters of support from a range of police chiefs and other leaders within the law enforcement community that understand the need to pass this legislation and know that it will make Minnesota a safer state
· Several businesses and associations already support this initiative.
· Tuesday, April 23rd, Rep. Rod Hamilton added his name to HF348 and we got the commitment of at least 3 more republicans. MN Mesa Latina deeply appreciate the leadership and support of Rep. Hamilton.
We went back to Rep. Thissen with our assignments complete, excited that we had done our part. Now his response is that he needs more because the bill is too controversial and too risky.
HF348 and SF271 are a step in the right direction in building an inclusive and equitable Minnesotan for all. On the heals of historic legislature around the Freedom to Marry, Minimum Wage and Safe Schools, it is clear that Minnesotans want to live in a state where all people are valued and have the right to live out their dreams.
It appears that Rep. Paul Thissen is unaware of the sentiment of the state. He believes that safe roads are riskier than safe schools, that minimum access to transportation is riskier than a minimum wage, that the freedom of movement is riskier than the freedom to marry. Rep. Paul Thissen, now is a great moment to be a bold leader and to walk in the steps of our beloved Paul Wellstone:
"Politics is not just about power and money games, politics can be about the improvement of people's lives, about lessening human suffering in our world and bringing about more peace and more justice."
Minnesotans, including police officers, religious leaders, unions, citizens, mothers, children, teachers, and students have spoken loud and clear. THE TIME TO DO THE RIGHT THING IS ALWAYS NOW. Let democracy work. We demand a vote on HF348.
Twelve other states across the nation have taken similar measures. Rep. Thissen, let the progressive state of Minnesota join Washington DC, Illinois, Ohio, California, Utah, Oregon, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Maryland, Connecticut and Vermont in prioritizing public safety
We ask our members and allies to join us on Monday April 28th at 10am to gather outside the office of Rep. Thissen: 463 State Office Building 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155.
You can also call the office of Speaker. Thissen at 651-296-5375 or 651-296-5492 or email to remind him that:
SOCIAL INCLUSION AND HUMAN RIGHTS ARE FOR EVERYONE NO MATTER THEIR CLASS, GENDER, SEXUAL ORIENTATION OR RACE. THE TIME TO DO THE RIGHT THING IS ALWAYS NOW.
With you in the struggle,
MN Mesa Latina.