The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) held a combined seventeen meetings last week in Washington, D.C. to highlight the need to expand U.S.-Macedonia trade, recognize Macedonia’s efforts in global peace and security, as well as increasing the Congressional Caucus on Macedonia and Macedonian-Americans.
UMD National Advocacy Director Marija Georgievski spearheaded the meetings. UMD President Metodija A. Koloski, UMD Advisory Council Jim Pavle, and UMD Fellows Jesse Bauta, and Justin Griffin joined for the educational advocacy week.
“We hit the pavement, literally. Our message is always first and foremost to remind Congress of Macedonia’s right to freedom, self-determination, and security. Another of our top goals is to grow the Congressional Caucus on Macedonia and Macedonian Americans,” said Georgievski.
Among the offices, UMD met with were Arizona Representatives Raul Grijalva and David Schweikert, California Representative Linda Sanchez, Florida Representative Lois Frankel, Indiana Representative Jim Banks, Massachusetts Representative Jim McGovern, Michigan Representative Elissa Slotkin, New Jersey Representative Mikie Sherrill, New York Representatives John Katko and Joe Morelle, Northern Mariana Islands Delegate Gregorio Sablan, Puerto Rico Delegate Jenniffer Gonzalez, Oregon Representative Earl Blumenauer, Tennessee Representative Steve Cohen, as well as Wisconsin Representative Jim Sensenbrenner.
UMD was pleased that each representative’s office staff was interested in learning more about Macedonia and the local and historic Macedonian-American communities in their districts. For the past fifteen years, UMD has worked to achieve and provide a voice for Macedonian-Americans in our nation’s capital. It is important that members of Congress understand the issues facing Macedonian-Americans but also recognize the role the community has played in benefiting their local societies.
UMD’s team also attended the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing “Resisting Anti-Semitism and Xenophobia in Europe,” where they heard from speakers such as Holocaust survivor Alfred Munzer and American Jewish Committee’s Rabbi Andrew Baker.
Regarding immigration reform issues, UMD met with leadership from the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian-Americans and looks forward to building stronger relations with their community in the U.S.
The week was concluded with meeting U.S. Census Bureau staff to brainstorm ways for the Macedonian-American community to get involved in the 2020 Census to ensure more accurate numbers representative of our community.