what we do
Denver Refugee and Immigrant Vitalization and Empowerment (DRIVE) is a community-based nonprofit that was founded, in January of 2017 to activate civic engagement and increase public policy and advocacy work within the refugee and immigrant communities.
DRIVE’s mission is to empower refugees and immigrants to be their own advocates through civic engagement.
We focus on civic engagement education that goes beyond the knowledge required for passing a citizenship test, refugees/immigrants-friendly public policies, and voter registration.
Having been resettled through the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program allows us to have a clear path towards citizenship, which means that we have the opportunity to be as engaged as anyone else. We believe that this advantage gives us the power to be our own advocates and agents if we exercise the rights we have. It is our responsibility to take the initiative to protect ourselves and advocate for public policies that support our communities.
It is also our responsibility to break down immigrant and refugee-specific barriers and advocate for our friends, families, and neighbors that might not have the same privileges that we do have ourselves.
Civic Engagement Education
We work to develop activities that are focused on civic engagement to be introduced in ESL and Citizenship, where refugees and immigrants already go. Our goal is to add a high impact curriculum to these classes, with minimal burden on refugees and immigrants. We do this work in collaboration with Warm Cookies of the Revolution and Project Worthmore.
Increasing Non-partisan Voter Registrations
New Americans that have been resettled through the U.S. Refugee Resettlement program have a clear path towards citizenship, and many of us are citizens. DRIVE Project is a State Registered Voter Registration Drive (VRD). We aim to increase voter turnout in the community through non-partisan voter registration events and increasing awareness of local elections and politics that affect the community directly.
Public Policy Advocacy
We support and advocate for policies and laws that are refugee and immigrant friendly and oppose policies and work to address laws that disproportionately and negatively affect our community.
Our Recent Work
SPECIAL IMMIGRANTS AND REFUGEES IN-STATE TUITION BILL
Senate Bill 18-087 (In-state Tuition Foreign Nationals Settled In Colorado) is an example of our successful advocacy efforts at the State Legislature. This Bill gives Special immigrants, who have worked alongside our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and other refugees the right to qualify for in-state tuition upon resettlement in Colorado. This work has been done in collaboration with Veterans for American Ideals and IRC-Denver.
Here is some news coverage about Senate Bill 87