On Saturday October 5, people in more than one hundred cities and towns in an estimated thirty-six states will hold marches, vigils and rallies as part of a national day of action for immigration reform.
The events are being organized with broad support from immigrant rights groups, major labor unions, local and national lawmakers, and business and faith communities. While their missions are diverse, these groups are united in demanding that the House of Representatives stop stalling in passing comprehensive immigration reform.
Towns throughout Illinois will mark stops on a two-day pilgrimage. Chicago will celebrate a week of actions. Eleven cities and towns in North Carolina will hold vigils and other events. Rallies and marches are planned from Portland to New Orleans, Boise to Honolulu. This nationwide coalescing of actions will be followed by a mobilization on October 8 in Washington, where organizers expect tens of thousands to gather at the National Mall before marching to the Capitol.
In June, the Senate passed a highly negotiated, bipartisan bill that includes both increased border enforcement and a path to citizenship for the country’s 11 million undocumented immigrants. It represents the most significant political advancement in the effort to overhaul the nation’s broken immigration system. Yet, a divided House of Representatives has stalled the measure, and proponents of reform are growing impatient. The past six months have included an escalating series of events across the country, including a massive rally in Washington in April, hundreds of local vigils, legislative visits and rallies and an increasing number of civil disobedience actions at detention centers and even along the border. Last month, more than 100 women were arrested at an immigration protest at the U.S. Capitol, while earlier this week more than thirty undocumented dreamers staged a public border crossing from Mexico into Texas.
In New York City, marchers plan to gather in Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn at noon. Speakers slated for the rally include affected immigrants and leaders from diverse communities, politicians, and the heads of labor and religious organizations. Hip-hop artist and activist Rebel Diaz will also perform. The rally will be followed by a march over the Brooklyn Bridge, a New York City icon of unified action and dissent.
Throughout the week leading up to the march, the New York Immigration Coalition and other local groups coordinated extensive outreach across New York City. Posters in English, Spanish and Chinese were plastered on commercial blocks across Brooklyn’s Sunset Park and other neighborhoods with large immigrant populations, peeking out of the windows of laundry mats, diners and restaurants. At least four congregations will hold special services leading up to the event. Local media outlets and social media campaigns helped spread the word, while community groups rented busses to help transport people to the Saturday’s event.
On October 5, Congress will face a broken nation, demanding mere dignity and respect for all Americans, regardless of which side of the border they were born on.
For more information about events happening nationwide, visit octoberimmigration.org.
For more information about the march and rally in New York City and for other events in New York State, visit oct5nyc.com.
First published at WagingNonviolence.org.