by Félix Pérez/image above courtesy of Reform Immigration for America
Years ago, when Rocío Inclán was a classroom teacher in Arizona striving to give her students the best educational opportunities she could, she did not imagine that her commitment would lead to her arrest. That all changed this morning when Inclán and dozens of women were arrested in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol after engaging in a mass act of civil disobedience.
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Inclán, director of NEA’s Human and Civil Rights department, joined more than 100 women to demand that the U.S. House of Representatives act on comprehensive immigration reform and recognize that women and children are at the heart of the immigration debate.
Today, I stood up because as an educator I have a moral responsibility to speak up for our students, their families and for educators. If not now, when? If not us, mothers, daughters, and educators, then who? We cannot build a prosperous country with a strong public education system when children and families do not know what tomorrow will bring.”
Inclán does not view what she did today as an act of bravery. “Courage to me is those educators and families who get up every day, roll up their sleeves and go to work and school in spite of this burden to seek the American dream and build a better country.”
According to organizers of today’s event, women and children account for three-quarters of all immigrants to the United States.
The immigration reform debate has stalled in the House. DREAMers, their families, educators, religious, business and labor leaders — Republicans, Democrats and Independents — are demanding that House Speaker John Boehner allow an up-or-down vote on a bill that includes a pathway to citizenship. The Senate has passed a comprehensive immigration bill.
This morning’s civil disobedience included moms, daughters, grandmothers and aspiring Americans.
“I was incredibly nervous and was attacked by some momentary doubts — what will my sister say?” said Inclán. “What will my former school colleagues think? But women take risks every day to contribute to the well-being and success of our families and loved ones.”