We are so proud to announce our newest hire — Rene Mejia Jr. as our Newburgh Organizer!
As a member-leader, Rene has played a crucial role in building our 200-person membership in Newburgh. In the past few months alone, he has already helped organize our biggest event to date, a 650-person forum on driver’s license accessibility; mobilize hundreds of people for the Newburgh Municipal ID and win; facilitate regular member meetings, and much more.
Rene grew up in Newburgh with an immigrant family and a constant fear of being separated from them. He said, “After 9/11, I had nightmares of my parents being deported. I always remember this one dream so vividly: I’m sitting in their car, parked right outside our house, and I’m all by myself. I walk out and there’s no one. I always remember that feeling that I could possibly end up alone, without my parents, family, or neighbors.”
As an interpreter for the Poughkeepsie School District, and then a case manager with Family Services, Rene saw that same fear in the children he worked with. “I was looking at these kids, seeing that they were afraid, I saw myself, and I still felt like I couldn’t do anything. I don’t want to be hopeless. I want to do everything in my power to make even a fraction of that fear go away with municipal IDs or access to driver’s licenses.”
As our Newburgh organizer, Rene will continue bringing people together (at an even greater scale!) to fight for meaningful protections and make our voices heard so that no child has to grow up in fear.