For Immediate Release: October 5, 2013
Charlottesville, Va.—On Saturday, October 5, Virginia Organizing celebrated the National Day of Dignity and Respect to support comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship. The five events across the state were part of 183 events across the nation to show solidarity among immigrants and allies for citizenship.
“There are not a lot of things that most Americans agree on these days, but immigration reform with a path to citizenship is widely supported in Virginia,” said Virginia Organizing Harrisonburg Chapter leader and high school student Dulce Elias. “I want to make sure that people like me and my family have the opportunities we came to this country for.”
In Harrisonburg, more than 150 people embarked on a pilgrimage from Simms School to Court Square in honor and memory of those deported and those who died trying to cross the border. Elias hopes that U.S. Representative Bob Goodlatte noticed.
“I am a DREAMer. I have been in the U.S. since I was three years old and I want a chance to earn citizenship. I hope that Congress will pass comprehensive immigration reform that creates a path to citizenship for people like me and our parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other family members. We all came to the U.S. for a better opportunity.”
Sharing personal stories of immigration was the main theme at events in Charlottesville and Virginia Beach. In Charlottesville, personal accounts of immigration were shared in a dramatic storytelling event. In Virginia Beach, individuals were filmed as they told their stories.
“This was an opportunity for immigrants in the community to share our stories and put a human face on the need for comprehensive immigration reform,” said Ana Ibarra, Virginia Organizing South Hampton Roads Chapter leader.
Richmond leaders of Virginia Organizing attended U.S. Representative Eric Cantor’s community event to pass out information on the economic effect of immigration reform with a path to citizenship. Immigrant-owned businesses comprise 17.5 percent of Virginia’s businesses and in 2010 generated $3 billion in revenue for the Commonwealth.
In Fredericksburg, volunteers and Chapter leaders spent the afternoon going door-to-door in the community to make sure people were given information about immigration reform and what it would mean to the Fredericksburg community. The leaders also registered voters and encouraged people to attend a rally in Washington, D.C. on October 8 to support immigration reform with a path to citizenship.
“Virginia Organizing is hopeful that a comprehensive immigration reform bill with a path to citizenship will be passed this year,” said Virginia Organizing Chairperson Sandra A. Cook.
The National Day of Action for Dignity and Respect marks the beginning of the immigrant rights movement’s fight for citizenship for aspiring citizens and the immediate end to deportations.
Immigration rights groups will continue to escalate their efforts with a rally and free concert on Tuesday, October 8 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., beginning at 12:30 p.m. Tens of thousands of people are expected to attend.
Photos are available from today’s events. To interview a spokesperson for Virginia Organizing or any of these events, please contact Amanda Pohl at 804-337-1912 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Virginia Organizing is a non-partisan statewide grassroots organization that brings people together to create a more just Virginia.