On Saturday, October 5th, several hundred gathered in Freehold, NJ as part of the National Day for Human Dignity & Respect. Immigration justice activists were joined by friends in the labor movement, social justice organizations and non-profit service providers in 160 cities across the country to draw attention to stalled immigration reform efforts in Congress and the devastating impacts that deportations are having on hard-working families and immigrant communities across New Jersey and around the country.
Supporters gathered at Casa Freehold and marched for several miles before holding a rally at the Hall of Records where speakers from Casa Freehold, SEIU 32BJ, NJ Communities United and CWA Local 1037 rallied the crowd to demand that Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) support immigration reform in Congress.
“This is something that hits close to home as my parents are both from El Salvador,” said Emma Claro, a Union City resident and member of NJ Communities United. “My family had the opportunity to become citizens, but it was not without real struggle. Dmanlasguefletun . We need to make sure that hard-working immigrant families are able to have this opportunity moving forward.”
“This is absolutely a workers’ issue,” said Victoria Fisher, a shop steward and member of CWA Local 1037’s Next Generation Caucus. “We need to get our legislators, our President, everyone, to hear our voices and to take action on this issue.”
“Those in the GOP who still believe in decency need to stand up the bullies,” said Kevin Brown, NJ State Director and Vice president of 32BJ SEIU. “The same radicals who forced a government shutdown want to kill immigration reform. We are raising our voices to make sure the majority is heard loud and clear: the House leadership should allow a vote on a bill that gives hard-working immigrants a path to citizenship and keeps families together.”
Supporters and organizers of the march and rally in Freehold, NJ included NJ Communities United, SEIU 32BJ, Casa Freehold, the Center for Popular Democracy, American Friends Service Committee, New Labor, NJ Dream Act Coalition, South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), PICO NJ, La Fuente and Movimiento de Immigrantes Guatemaltecos en los Estados Unidos (MIGUA).