by Félix Pérez/John Stocks, in image above, being arrested at immigration rally
Today’s immigration rally on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., was made of dreams. It was about the dreams of millions of students and young aspiring Americans who want to contribute without fear to the country they love. It was about the parents who dream of the day when their families will not be forcibly separated. And it was about the dream of educators to see an end to a broken immigration system that criminalizes students, their families and entire communities.
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The March and Rally for Immigrant Dignity and Respect drew thousands of people from cities and towns nationwide to demand that the leadership of the House of Representatives bring a comprehensive immigration reform bill to the floor for a vote. The event was the culmination of rallies, marches and other events held October 5 in more than 175 cities.
John Stocks, executive director of the National Education Association, spoke on behalf of educators at today’s rally:
As educators, we have witnessed for far too long the impact that the current immigration system has had on our students, their families and our communities. This is why we advocate on behalf of the children that sit in our classrooms every day – these are our students, the children who educators know by name and by neighborhood and by family. Forcing them to live in the shadows of society because of their legal status is wrong, said Stocks.
At the conclusion of the march, 200 rally participants, including Stocks, engaged in a mass act of civil disobedience. Stocks, along with religious, civil rights, labor and community leaders and eight members of Congress, was arrested in the largest civil disobedience action for immigration reform.
Stocks represented the voice of educators such as Austin, Texas, pre-K teacher Montserrat Garibay, who in an earlier interview captured the sentiment of educators everywhere: “As an educator, it’s my civic duty and professional belief that students need all the tools available to become successful, no matter where they come from, the color of their skin or who their parents are.”
Said Stocks, “Every day in America, thousands of students do not know if they will see their loved ones when they come home from school. Every day in America our aspiring Americans, DREAMers, who know America as their only country, are unable to pursue their dreams to become lawyers, doctors, productive members of society.”
Immigration reform supporters and rally organizers hope to spur House members to vote on a bill that includes a pathway to citizenship for DREAMers, their families and others. Immigration reform has stalled in the House since the Senate passed its own comprehensive bill in June.
House Minority Leader and rally speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “Immigrant blood runs through our veins. The time is now to make comprehensive immigration reform the law of the land.” Last week Pelosi introduced a comprehensive immigration reform bill modeled after the Senate bill.
Don’t let the federal government shutdown stop you from calling your Representative to demand a vote on comprehensive immigration reform. If you’ve called before, call again. Your voice as a constituent matters. Call today at 1-866-632-6057.