Immigrant and civil rights leaders to rally in Montgomery against immigration law

Published: Dec. 17, 2011 at 3:42 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 14, 2012 at 9:28 AM CDT
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Immigrant and civil rights leaders will rally and march on Saturday to repeal Alabama's tough immigration law.

The 'One Family, One Alabama: HB56 Hurts All Alabamians' march and rally will begin at 11 a.m. from the Statehouse steps, followed by a march led by children to Governor Robert Bentley's mansion. The participants will call for an end to racial profiling, call on families to be kept together, and for all communities to build a better Alabama.

Benjamin Todd Jealous, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), President; Janet Murguia National Council of La Raza (NCLR), President and CEO; Mary Kay Henry, Service Employee International Union (SEIU), International President; Eliseo Medina, International Secretary-Treasurer, Service Employee International Union (SEIU); William Lucy, President of Coalition of Black Trade Unionists; Sen. Billy Beasley (D-Clayton), and community leaders who have been at the front line of the fight against HB56 will speak at the rally.

"Montgomery is a hallowed battlefield in the struggle for civil rights.  Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat here.  This is where Martin Luther King was a pastor – where his home was bombed.  The march from Selma, the bus boycott, all these moments in the history of the fight for justice are marked here and our presence now is needed to mark another struggle: to end Alabama's anti-immigrant racial profiling law. The here and now is linked forever to the history of this place and the great progress we must continue in moving together as a community and as a nation," said Deepak Bhargava, Executive Director of the Center for Community Change.

These activities are part of the Immigrant National Convention organized by the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), a project of the Center for Community Change, and hosted by the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice (ACIJ), a network of individuals and organizations which seek to provide a united voice dedicated to ensuring the social, legal and civic rights of all immigrants in Alabama. ACIJ's members work to promote justice for all of Alabama's immigrants.

More than 150 activists and leaders from over 25 states will be in Alabama to join local leaders on a two-day summit of intensive electoral, movement building and new media training and discussions, and join in dialogue with Freedom Riders and immigrant rights activists about today's struggles. They are working together fight to reverse HB56, organize to block similar state bills around the country, and advance the cause of justice for all.

"We are honored to have all these activists from across the nation who have come to Alabama in solidarity to fight HB56," said Zayne Smith, Director of ACIJ. "This crisis has re-energized and brought together people from diverse backgrounds. Once again we find ourselves at the epicenter of a moral and ethical challenge. It took the courage of the people in the 60's to make change and it is going to take that courage once again because this law affects all Alabamians," she added.

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