I arrived home from classes excited about the warm weather that guaranteed I would play soccer with my friends that evening. As I was finishing my reading assignment for 10th grade English, I received a phone call from my mom informing me my dad was at the police station for a minor traffic violation. Naively I thought to myself, “He’ll be home tonight,”  but as I entered the lobby I was greeted by my mother with tears racing down her face. Immediately, my heart sank as I heard the words, “They called ICE on him, he’s being deported.”

I sat down on a bench crying at the realization that my worst fears were coming true. A sea of emotions flooded my body, drowning my sense of reality. Connecticut was supposed to be a pro-immigrant friendly state. I never thought a deportation would happen– until it happened in my own home. In recent years, Connecticut has taken measures to ensure the protection of immigrant communities, such as the TRUST Act of 2013: a policy limiting the collaboration between local authorities and ICE. However, those protections are in danger.

This November’s is an election where every level of government is going to witness a change of leadership. Most notably, this year’s governor’s race has received massive public attention given the position’s influence on Connecticut’s future. Needless to say, the next governor wields crucial power to continue protecting the immigrant communities across the state or endanger them. A lot rests on who takes the governor’s mansion this November. At the federal level, immigrant young people have been left hanging. In our state, we have managed to do a lot — and need to build on these bipartisan accomplishments. As such, it is imperative for each voter to understand the positions of each candidate.

The Greater New Haven vote 2018, a non-partisan initiative created by the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, is undergoing an effort to engage the public in civic participation through registering and mobilizing citizens to vote in New Haven County. The newly registered voters will also sign a pledge to vote in the primary and general elections.

On Wednesday, July 25 from 5 – 9 p.m. at the Tagliatela Center in Albertus Magnus College, the Greater New Haven Vote will host a governor’s forum wherein the public will be able to listen to candidates’ positions on issues such as affordable housing, education, healthcare, immigration, and criminal justice. Food will be provided between 5 – 6 p.m, with the program running between 6- 8 p.m. Directly afterward, there will be a meet and greet with candidates for lieutenant governor until 9 p.m. As such, I would like to invite you to attend the event and have your questions, comments, and concerns answered.

Jonathan Gonzalez-Cruz is affiliated with Connecticut Students for a Dream.

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