I was lucky to be a part of the SAALT/ACLU forum a few days ago. After attending the Townhall Immigration Forum, my perspective has been enlightened and truly widened.

Immigration is a hot topic in today’s world – tell me something I don’t know. But how it affects the actual immigrants is truly the issue at hand. I’ve heard accounts of the trials and tribulations that so many people have had to go through in order to get a better start in this world, and my heart goes out to them.

The forum itself not only provided more information to the uninformed, but allowed for a healthy and knowledgeable discussion for both the informed and uninformed. It’s so important to stand up for what is right, and immigration rights is, in essence, human rights.

The event, which was co-sponsored by the ACLU of Georgia, gave lots of information about the immigration processes, as well as the hardships involved with them. Deepa Iyer (the executive director of SAALT), Aparna Bhattacharyya (executive director of Raksha), and our own Azadeh Shahshahani (director of Immigration and National Security at the ACLU of Georgia) were all speakers at the event and encouraged a discussion-based atmosphere for the forum. Every single person who made the effort of coming out to the forum left having gained insight, perspective, and lots of useful information.

The important question is: What more can we do about it? Well, really, everyone who was able to make it to the forum has already taken the first step – stay informed. It’s as simple as that. You can make a difference by staying informed, whether that’s catching up on the current issues on Google News, or joining a human rights advocacy group (GA Detention Watch, Human Rights Atlanta, Raksha, SAALT, etc.). The more allies we have, the bigger the impact we can have – not to mention strategic pull.

So, take 10 minutes a day to read what’s going on in the human rights/immigration front, and from there, I swear, it will be plenty easy to get involved!