At age 16, Mayra Rangel walked through the desert for six days to escape poverty and find a job to support her family back in Mexico. Her activism began in 2011 when the Alabama legislature passed HB56, the nation’s strictest immigration law. She helped the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice defeat many parts of the bill. Since then, she has continued to volunteer, organize, register voters, educate immigrants and encourage them to share their stories with elected officials and the public. Rangel also builds bridges between the immigrant community and law enforcement and advocates for comprehensive immigration reform. She has served on ACIJ’s steering committee since 2012, representing the Hispanic community in Northern Alabama. Rangel also co-founded a small community group called Northeast Alabama Alliance for Justice, which covers the cities of Oneonta, Albertville and Gadsden.
In this video, Rangel describes how a piece of legislation prompted ACIJ to shift its focus.