Across the country Saturday there were marches in more than 80 cities for immigration reform and against Arizona’s new immigration law. The largest protest drew an estimated 60,000 in Los Angeles and more than 8,000 marched here in Chicago, according to official estimates.
Among those supporting the marchers were U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents, who are the ones who can vote and influence politicians to change or reform laws. You can see the diversity of faces in the photos I took below.
Jesse Paz, 18, wore his U.S. Army uniform to the immigration protest in Chicago.
“Maybe somebody who sees me will go home and say hey there was a soldier there in full uniform and it will make them want to go home and do something about it too,” Paz told me. He was born in Illinois and is of Mexican heritage.
He also was upset over Arizona’s immigration law, which has been slightly modified, but he still fears it will result in racial profiling of Latinos.
“Maybe I want to take a trip out to Arizona one and they see me driving and I get stopped because I’m Hispanic. That upsets me. I’m not just thinking about myself. I’m thinking about anybody else I know,” Paz added. Baldy Princeton, originally from Ghana, 40, is a naturalized U.S. citizen.
“I came to support my Latino and my immigrant brothers and sisters,” he told me. “I think the Arizona law is very unfair, very harsh. It’s a violation of human rights.”
Kat Choi, associate director of the Korean-American Resource and Cultural Center, has lived in Chicago 10 years. Her organization provides assistance to Koreans in the Chicago area.
“We have a dire need for immigration reform. Nothing has been done for the past 10 years. We’re sick and tired but not losing hope yet,” said told me.
At the protest in Washington, D.C., Illinois Congressman, Luis Gutierrez was among 35 people arrested after sitting down in front of the White House.
Also arrested there was Joshua Hoyt, executive director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.
In Los Angeles, Cuban American singer Gloria Estefan kicked off the rally.
In order for this movement to succeed, more U.S. citizens, legal immigrants, politicians and even celebrities need to get involved.
It doesn’t end with May Day.