Anacaona's First Year: 2019
A year ago, I started the communications consultancy Anacaona LLC. With some terrific clients and mentors, it’s been a wonderful first year.
By making noise and serving clients and community, I was recognized in La Mega Nota and Cleveland Scene magazine. I also joined the Board of the Justice Action Center, a national organization started by Karen Tumlin to achieve justice for immigrants through litigation and storytelling.
I hope the work we have done together has made Anacaona—the Taína leader who used diverse tactics to resist her Spanish colonizers, and is the namesake of my company—proud.
Media Outreach and Shaping the Narrative
Anacaona’s clients include nonprofit organizations and socially responsible companies. In 2019, together we racked up more than 3,679 media hits (208 original articles and 3,471 reprints). Some of our biggest hits included:
While the national media hits may have reached the most people, I am particularly proud of our local media hits. Local media is often where public opinion is shaped. People choose which national outlets to follow based on perceived ideology and credibility, which can become “preaching to the choir” in some cases. Local media is the “paper of record” for a community, and as such reaches people of diverse ideologies with stories they can relate to, stories about their neighbors.
Anacaona worked with editors at the Des Moines Register to run a reprint of a 1939 Letter to the Editor about the rejection of refugees that, sadly, remains relevant today. The Albuquerque Journal ran an op-ed we pitched from Mohamed Alkwaz ahead of World Refugee Day, which was reprinted 13 times. Mountain West News Bureau interviewed our client and broadcast a radio piece about the impact that ending DACA would have on U.S. citizen children; that story aired in four local media markets.
Our obsession with defining the Detroit Immigration and Customs (ICE) Field office as extreme and cruel turned into a fact sheet about Director Rebecca Adducci’s “appetite for destruction” of Ohio and Michigan families. This narrative was carried by Detroit Free Press and DailyKos and has become part of the conversation locally, as we build more support for immigrants and their families in the two states.
We also worked to shape the narrative in international, national, and local media about the dangers of deporting Black Mauritanians to a country that does not respect their human rights. We built up an impressive collection of clips, including pieces in The Atlantic, NBC News, Cleveland Scene, Columbus Dispatch, and Cincinnati Enquirer. Our friend Awa Harouna took the brave step of appearing in Episode 6 of Netflix’s “Living Undocumented” mini-series, talking about her family’s battle against her father’s deportation, along with the inspiring attorney Julie Nemecek. (Support Awa’s fundraiser for school fees here.)
Writing, Editing, and Translations
Under the tutelage of Lisa Bess Kramer at Cleveland Edits Literary Group, Anacaona assisted on five book projects in 2019. The work included copyediting, developmental editing, book proposal writing, and/or media outreach. This is a growth area for me, and one that I absolutely love. I am excited to continue learning and developing these skills in 2020. Stay tuned for the Ohio Migrant Anthology I am working on with my cousin Kevin and other partners!
Anacaona translated 63 articles and affidavits from Spanish to English, and ghost-wrote over two dozen articles for companies and hospitals. The content of those articles ranged from vaping, heart disease, and doctor profiles to green burials, social justice for children, and trends in hard cider.
Ohio Immigrant Alliance: Supporting Immigrants, Connecting Supporters
In addition to media work to shape public opinion on immigration in Ohio, the Ohio Immigrant Alliance plays a connecting and coordinating role for immigrants and allies across the state. The Alliance is currently a volunteer-run operation.
In 2019 we launched a website (www.ohioimmigrant.org), continued to build our Facebook group, and began using MailChimp to manage our activist and press contacts. The Facebook group has become a place for our allies to share information and events, discuss priorities, and find volunteers to assist with various tasks (e.g. join bus station welcome groups, provide transportation to court and medical appointments, donate funds, and myriad other initiatives led by the grassroots). Thanks to Shoestring Collective for creating our website!
Our periodic mini-fundraising campaigns, known as the “Flash $5 Fundraisers,” raised $1015 for eight people who are detained in Ohio immigration jails. This money goes straight into their commissary accounts, so that they can buy food, clothing, and phone minutes to help get them through the days while waiting for release from immigration jail.
Partnering with African Immigrant Relief and Cleveland Jobs With Justice, we raised $16,500 for legal defense of Black Mauritanians, money which has been instrumental in obtaining legal representation and securing the release of several Ohioans from immigration jail. Donations are still needed, as more than a dozen first-time asylum-seekers from Mauritania are detained across the United States, and most do not have lawyers. We are also working with Cleveland Jobs With Justice, Interreligious Task Force on Central America and Colombia, and other organizations and leaders to raise funds for the general Ohio Immigrant Defense account here. In Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, the 3R Fund for Immigrants is raising money for immigration bonds here.
We would like to give a shout-out to the truly incredible Ohio pro bono and low bono lawyers who are on the front lines fighting deportation cases every day and litigating to protect Constitutional rights. Their services are so valuable and needed, and their capacity is too limited! Please remember Advocates for Basic Legal Equality (ABLE), Catholic Charities Diocese of Cleveland, Migration and Refugee Services, Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, and the International Institute of Akron in your end-of-year giving!
Akron Interfaith Immigration Advocates is another group that has been working hard to serve immigrants during this difficult time, alongside Cleveland Jobs With Justice and IRTF. All deserve our support.
And, should you be willing to help fund the work of the Ohio Immigrant Alliance, we are taking donations here. These donations are managed by Anacaona LLC and are not tax-deductible. But we have real expenses, for events, communications tools, travel, and materials, and greatly appreciate your partnership!
2019 was a challenging year for our country, but I am inspired by all of you who are bringing us closer to living the values we claim. Change starts with us and the people we know. A crop of rising stars from the immigrant and anti-racism movements ran for local office in Ohio this year, and many won. 2020 will see even more candidates like these. My friend Reem Subei, one of the lawyers working on the Mauritanian deportation cases, just announced her candidacy for the Ohio Senate!
I believe in us for the long-term.
Anacaona LLC and Director, Ohio Immigrant Alliance
Too Long; Didn’t Read
In our first year of operation, Anacaona LLC worked with nonprofits, coalitions, and responsible companies to rack up more than 3,679 media hits (208 original articles and 3,471 reprints).
We contributed to five book projects through editing, proposal writing, and/or media outreach. Anacaona wrote over two dozen articles for clients on topics ranging from vaping to social justice for children, and translated 63 articles from Spanish into English.
Through the Ohio Immigrant Alliance, we raised over $17,500 for immigrant’s bonds, legal fees, and commissary accounts. We built strong partnerships with local leaders, volunteers, immigrants and community groups working to make Ohio a more welcoming place for immigrants.
Lynn Tramonte was recognized in La Mega Nota and Cleveland Scene magazine for this work. She also joined the Board of the Justice Action Center, a national organization started by Karen Tumlin that pursues immigrant justice through litigation and storytelling.
We hope the work we have done this year has made Anacaona—the Taína leader who used diverse tactics to resist her Spanish colonizers, and is the namesake of my company—proud.