Monday, May 21, 2007

Hundreds Gather at Capitol Front Steps

Today, 600 advocates, students, parents and community organizers gathered in Sacramento to make their voices heard to the California State Legislature. Buses began arriving in from Los Angeles as early as Sunday evening and by early Monday morning, buses from the central valley and the bay area were pulled up at the capitol front lawn.

The California Immigrant Policy Center organizes an advocacy day every year in May so that people from the community have the opportunity to come and engage their representatives on issues that directly impact their lives. The groups that gathered were comprised of a wide variety of participants, including Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), Filipino American Service Group, Inc. (FASGI), Korean Resource Center (KRC) , Mujeres Unidas and Spanish Speaking Citizens' Foundation (SSCF), just to name a few. The groups converged on the front steps of the Capitol for a rally with moving speeches about the benefits of the Dream Act, the effects of the ICE raids, the aftermath of the citrus freeze and the realities facing uninsured children, all culminating with a speech by Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez regarding both the health care reform debate here in Sacramento and the federal push for immigration reform. The rally was more than just an opportunity for empowering our communities with a voice, it was also a celebration of the rich cultural diversity of California with performances by an Afro-Cuban dance group, a Baile Folklorico dance team and a Korean Drumming Troupe.

For participants, the most important part of the day was when the gathering dispersed into smaller groups that went to attend meetings with elected officials inside the Capitol. Each person had the opportunity to speak with legislators and staff about their highest priorities, ranging from support for legislative proposals such as The Dream Act and The Office of Immigrant Affairs to opposition of the proposed budget cuts for CalWORKs and SSI. In addition, the groups all voiced their support for increased resources for the Naturalization Services Program and comprehensive health care reform for all Californians. All in all, the day was a tremendous success with a showing of support from a wide base of communities standing strong with a united voice.

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