GRAND RAPIDS, MI, April 22, 2020 – Eight community organizations came together to establish La Lucha Fund, a short-term, emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic designed to provide financial resources directly to all undocumented mixed-status families in Kent County who are not eligible for unemployment, CARES Act relief, or other government support.
Community members who are undocumented do not qualify for federal assistance or state unemployment benefits, making them particularly vulnerable at this time. Fear of deportation and barriers to navigating the system, such as language proficiency and knowledge of official institutions, keep many immigrants from pursuing other services, even when they are qualified to do so. La Lucha Fund will allow families to pay for basic needs such as rent, groceries, cleaning supplies, and medicine.
La lucha means the struggle or fight. “The lucha is all of us working together to support people whose systems are leaving behind. This is just the beginning of not only fighting COVID-19 but also for dignity and respect,” says Lorena Aguayo-Márquez, volunteer organizer for Movimiento Cosecha GR and Grand Rapids Area Mutual Aid Network.
La Lucha Fund is a collaboration between Movimiento Cosecha, the Grand Rapids Area Mutual Aid Network, The Hispanic Center of Western Michigan, and the other LatinxGR organizations: the Latino Community Coalition, Latina Network of West Michigan, West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and West Michigan Latino Network. These organizations are coordinating their response effort through the fund partnership. Grand Rapids Community Foundation serves as the fiscal sponsor for the fund, accepting and processing donations on its behalf. The Community Foundation also made an initial investment of $100,000 to the fund.
More than 13,000 people who are undocumented live in Kent County according to 2016 data from the Gateways for Growth initiative. While La Lucha fund is Latinx led, access to funds is open to all families who are undocumented in Kent County and are unable to access traditional forms of support.
Applications in multiple languages can be found at bit.ly/laluchafund. Text LUCHA to 555888 or visit www.givegr.org/LaLuchaFund to make a donation to support families who are undocumented, and for more information about La Lucha Fund, including other ways to give.
About LatinxGR: The Hispanic Center of Western Michigan, Latino Community Coalition, Latina Network of West Michigan, West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and West Michigan Latino Network originally convened as LatinxGR in 2018 as a way for five of the major Latinx leadership organizations in Grand Rapids to use their collective voice to strategize and advocate for our community. Together, we are powerful.
About Movimiento Cosecha: Cosecha is a nonviolent movement fighting for permanent protection, dignity, and respect for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. Cosecha believes in using non-cooperation to leverage the power of immigrant labor and consumption and force a meaningful shift in public opinion. For more information, please visit lahuelga.com.
About Grand Rapids Area Mutual Aid Network: We are neighbors in the Greater Grand Rapids Area who are supporting each other through the 2020 COVID19 crisis or the Coronavirus. For more information, please visit facebook.com/GRAMutAid.
About Grand Rapids Community Foundation – Grand Rapids Community Foundation leads Kent County in making positive, sustainable change. With its endowment, the Community Foundation supports local nonprofits, leads to significant social change, and helps donors achieve their philanthropic goals. For more information, please visit grfoundation.org.
Contact: Erika VanDyke / p: 616.648.6079 / e: firstname.lastname@example.org