A guest post from Robert Gittelson about yesterday’s rally in Los Angeles, kicking of our week of action!
As reported earlier on the Standing FIRM blog, Los Angeles kicked off an important week of National Comprehensive Immigration Reform advocacy with a major march and rally through Downtown Los Angeles on Saturday. This march, sponsored by the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition, was comparable in size to their march on May 1st. Similarly, the atmosphere was festive and celebratory. However, as I marched with my fellow advocates along historic Broadway Street, I couldn’t help but sense that this time, the crowd seemed more purposeful and determined. The slogans that were chanted in both Spanish and English were just a little louder, and the tone of the slogans seemed just a little more passionate.
The rally on Saturday was extremely uplifting. There were several excellent speakers. Among the many memorable speakers were Juan Jose Gutierrez, one of the leaders of the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition, and Raul Murillo, President of Hermandad Mexicana Nacional of Los Angeles, and they both gave stirring and inspirational messages of hope to the crowd. Dr. Juan Hernandez, who many probably saw on the O’Reilly factor last week, (note: Dr. Hernandez was able to get O’Reilly to admit on the show that CIR, including a pathway to citizenship would happen, and that it was “fine”), inspired the crowd. He also repeated many times the telephone number for the White House, urging the several thousand march and rally participants to call and say that they were in favor of Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
When it was my turn to speak, I mentioned that a law professor that I knew referred to what is going on at present as “enforcement now, enforcement forever.” I noted that
“Every day, families are being torn apart, but that all we get is more enforcement. Every day, on average, at least one migrant dies at the border, trying to reach this country, but still, all we get is more enforcement.”
I went on to suggest that slowly, things are hopefully starting to change, and I explained that next Tuesday, Luis Gutierrez was going to present his outline for the CIR bill, that he planned to present in Congress later this month. I closed by telling the crowd that what they were doing today, standing up and demanding their rights, was extremely important, because we have to keep the pressure on Congress to enact Comprehensive Immigration Reform. I told them that what they are doing was the right thing to do. I told them that what they were doing, was, in fact, the American thing to do.