Assignment: Write a one-page introduction of yourself to a specific, prospective employer or graduate school.
February 1, 2005
1600 Grand Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55105
Director of Finance & Administration
Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights Los Angeles – CHIRLA
2533 W. 3rd Street #101
Los Angeles, CA 90057
Dear Ms. Yilma:
I am writing a sample letter, pretending as if I was applying to CHIRLA’s Immigrant Access Project State Policy Coordinator position. It’s for my Anthropology Senior Seminar class.
I heard very exciting things on CHIRLA’s multiracial coalition making efforts and parallel outcomes/successes via the Korean Immigrant Workers Advocate’s (KIWA) Market Workers Justice Campaign publicity in Labor Notes in 2003, so when I was assigned to write a practice cover letter to a specific employer, I first thought of National Council of La Raza (NCLR), and seeing as NCLR only hired mature organizers with a master’s and/or 3 to 5 years of experience, I looked up CHIRLA’s website. And, er, this job opening notice is there, but I’m quite sure it’s at least 6 months old, given the widespread technician scarcity in non profits in general, and possibly filled.
Through my experience with the Centro de Derechos Laborales (CDL), Minnesota Immigrant Worker’s Freedom Ride (MN IWFR), Twin Cities Religion and Labor Network and a few other organizations addressing immigrant/workers’ issues, I have gained a broad cultural competency in serving undocumented latino immigrant workers who demand dignity and legal rights in their status as workers in the United States. In particular, during my two years at the CDL, I have learned to watch for problems tacitly suggested or coded into speech as our clients tell their stories, and have been trained to deal with issues like work visas, marital relations, and racial labels among workers with due respect, and not reducing it to english language, white middle or working class categories. Using this approach, I have gained access to semi-closed latino advocacy workgroups and “traditional” Mexica performance groups to establish coalitional links with outside organizations.
I have very little exposure to lobbying and legislative action, most of which I observed or tangentially contributed through work with the MN IWFR and the Minnesota Fair Trade Coalition, in lobbyings aimed at raising state senate awareness on the DREAM Act, and the national movement to stop congress approval of the CAFTA negotiations. In the process, I have learned the basics of letter-writing and phone calling campaigns as well as tactical considerations to keep in mind when agitating the political arena for bipartisan support. I have written some reviews of legislative action from the beneficiary’s perspective, but have not engaged in writing press releases or analyse as part of a media campaign.
On a sidenote, I have used a variety of current computer technology – databases and database-driven websites and group communications solutions such as mailing lists, wikis and blogs – to provide socialy meaningful support to organizational needs of groups such as CDL and ¡Adelante! I also have experience setting up systems in which it is possible to monitor and re-distribute information from twenty or more sources, including news sites, mailing lists and discussion forums, that contribute to an effective mobilization of groups based on issues pertinent to individual interests. This is something that might qualify under responsibiliyt number 13, where you are saying that I need to “assist the Project Director with assignments as needed”
But, I don’t think I’ll get this job. In all certainty, I will join the Service Employees International Union (SEIU)’s front line of overexploited, sleep-deprived and underpaid organizers, as it is appropriate of my current skills and lack of legislative experience. But writing a letter for this position is more fun.
(four blank spaces for the signature goes in here)